A Beautiful Christmas on a Frugal Budget

christmas on a frugal budget

"It's the most wonderful time of the year,” touts a classic Christmas song. With all the hustle and bustle of shopping, office parties, and get-togethers with close friends and family, for many it really is the most joyous season. For others, who may not have an unlimited budget for gift giving and entertaining, it can be stressful or depressing. Here are a few simple ideas for having a merry Christmas on a frugal budget so you can still enjoy the beauty of the holidays without feeling overwhelmed.

Focus on the Experience

For so many around the world these days, money is tight. People are out of work, or are underpaid. Children often unknowingly put pressure on their parents to buy them the latest electronic gadgets and fashion trends so they can keep up with their peers. Instead of feeling stressed at Christmas about not being able to afford these high-priced items for everyone in your family, consider giving them an experience.

For example, you can take your children to see a Christmas lights display. Check your local supermarket or online deal site for coupons. Many times you can find a family package rate, or discount tickets. Think of how much fun you will have piling into the family car, driving along a lake or other venue where there is a spectacular display of lights.

Crank up the Christmas tunes on the radio as you drive along, and you will be giving your children a wonderful, priceless holiday experience that they will always remember. And, this means so much more than an expensive gift they will soon forget once the novelty wears off.

Give Practical Gifts

At this time of year, there are many items people need, rather than just want for Christmas. Perhaps your sister just had a baby, and you want to give her something extra special this season. Consider a practical, useful gift that both mom and baby will really appreciate. For example, a reasonably priced gift idea might be an Ingenuity baby rocker, bouncer, or playard. These all make wonderful gifts for both baby and mom that they will be able to use all year long.

Add a Personal Touch

You can make this affordable gift option even more special by wrapping it along with a note offering an afternoon of babysitting. If you have teenage children, this is a great way to get them involved in the habit of practical gift giving, too. Along with providing a welcomed service to the new mom by giving her a few hours to herself, you will be teaching your children a valuable lesson in helping others in ways that only cost time rather than money.

Plan Frugal Decorating

Having a festive environment can help lift your spirits if you are feeling stressed about not having enough funds this holiday season. Decorating your home can be a family event. Hang lights, put up a tree, and make a wreath for your front door out of inexpensive materials. Make a list of the decorations you would like to have for next year, and then buy them after Christmas this year. Many stores put all Christmas decorations on sale for more than 50 percent off on December 26th each year.

Christmas really can be the most wonderful time of the year on any budget. There are many ways to accomplish this task. With a little planning and effort, you can give your loved ones a beautiful Christmas full of irreplaceable memories that won’t break the bank.


    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 12/16/2013 10:33 a.m. #

      Great tips, Lisa. I think experiences are so important and definitely outlast the memories of most toys. They can also be very frugal and many experiences or traditions don't have to cost much or sometimes even anything.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 12/17/2013 10:39 a.m. #

        So true Shannon! Most experiences do not have to cost a lot. Like going ice skating outside if you live in a cold climate, or tobaganing, or just driving around looking at all the Christmas lights. The same with doing a day of Christmas baking. It will cost some money, but it doesn't have to cost a lot, esp if you participate in a cookie exchange.

      • Lisa Coleman

        Lisa Coleman 12/22/2013 3:06 p.m. #

        Thank you Shannon! I appreciate your kind compliment. Memories last a lifetime :)

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 12/16/2013 12:31 p.m. #

      Awesome tips Lisa.

      My kids asked for laptops and guitars but we decided to keep it simple. I enjoy picking out stuff for my kids, well teens. :)

      Thanks for sharing these ideas with us. Happy Monday ladies!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 12/17/2013 10:42 a.m. #

        The older kids get the more expensive Christmas can become and it does add up quickly. Best of luck with keeping under control my friend. ;-)

      • Lisa Coleman

        Lisa Coleman 12/22/2013 3:08 p.m. #

        Thank you Corina! I have 3 teens and they all asked for the expensive gifts are yours! lol! They too will have a simple Christmas :) Thank you for your kind compliment!

    • Ryan @ Impersonal Finance

      Ryan @ Impersonal Finance 12/17/2013 10:27 a.m. #

      Excellent advice here, Lisa. It's practical, and spending quality time together creates more lasting memories and enjoyment than the momentary excitement of a giant and expensive gift!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 12/17/2013 11:02 a.m. #

        Thanks Ryan! People can have so much fun together at Christmas without spending a lot on gifts. It just takes some creative ideas to get them started.

      • Lisa Coleman

        Lisa Coleman 12/22/2013 3:10 p.m. #

        Thank you Ryan! I have 4 kids, and 3 are teens. Seems they get more expensive every year! lol! They too will get a meaningful Christmas minus the expensive gadgets. Have a wonderful holiday!

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