Christmas On a Budget: 9 Tips to Stop Overspending

Person holding a present

Does this sound familiar?

You have the list of people you need to buy for. Then you either can’t figure out what to buy, or you go crazy and overbuy. You end up with “STUFF” just to have something to give. It’s enjoyed for an hour or two and ends up joining the dust collection of unused toys, trinkets, and do-dahs.

Or maybe you’re the one who LOVES to snag a great deal. And before you know it, you’ve got waaaay too many things and you’ve gone WAY over budget.

OR you’re looking at the screen right now thinking, “Budget? What Christmas budget?”.

Here’s the thing: Doing Christmas on a budget is SO much less stressful than just trying to wing it. Trust me! And it’s not as hard as you think either. Continue reading for our best Christmas budgeting tips…

Christmas on a budget

9 Crucial Christmas Budgeting Tips

Here at Fabulessly Frugal, we are the masters of finding gift ideas that are an awesome deal. We post all sorts of great deals on fun stuff to buy. (Find our current Deals here)

However, our intent is not to get you to spend more money. You don’t need to buy something just because there is an awesome deal. You, as an individual and with your family, will need to evaluate your budget and your priorities, then make your own decision about if it is a good purchase for YOU.

So the very first step to the very best gift-giving is to come up with a plan!

1. Make a List

List out each person on your gift list and the items you plan on purchasing. And don’t forget to budget for stocking stuffers, if that’s a tradition you have!

PS – Take a look at our list of cheap stocking stuffer ideas!

If you’re not sure WHAT to get (we can help you with that… more on that below), at least determine the total amount you want to spend on each person. This will help you map out a plan, build you a foundation for your spending, and give you something to be accountable to!

2. Download our FREE Christmas Budget Template (or Make Your Own)

Free Christmas budget template

Creating a Christmas budget is actually really quite easy, especially with our FREE Christmas Budget Template Download! Here’s how to get set up:

  1. Get the template here
  2. Make a copy to your personal Google Sheets
  3. OR download the Excel version HERE

And give yourself a little grace… it can be easy to overlook holiday expenses if it is your first time having a budget. So, you may need to adjust the budget plan here and there, if needed.

The next time around you will have a great idea of what to expect and you can stick closely to the goal!

You need a budget software

3. Start Preparing for Next Year 

I know you’re just trying to get this year’s holiday craziness sorted, but hear me out! If you can start preparing for next year right now, you’ll thank yourself later.

All you have to do is commit to setting aside money every month to prepare your budget for next Christmas! I highly recommend “You Need a Budget“. It’s my favorite budgeting software (and I have a coupon code that will get you YNAB 60 Days free)!

Read my YNAB Review to learn more about the software and how it works.

happy birthday cupcakes

Also, if your budget allows, snag a few extra gifts (especially during AFTER Christmas clearance sales) and add them to your gift stockpile. Then you’ll have gifts on hands for other gift-giving events, especially birthdays!

4. Have a “Dust Collectors” Party

In short, a dust collectors party is a gathering where everyone brings things that are around your house that you are no longer using and then everyone takes turns exchanging items! It’s a FUN party and works so great!

You can do this with a large group of friends, co-workers, or fellow church-goers.

5. Go homemade!

There are a lot of fun and frugal homemade DIY gift ideas all over the internet. Homemade Bath Bombs, DIY Coasters, or making a custom candle with a picture on it!!

Find more ideas:

6. Get Big Deals on Great Gifts

Did you know we have a deal database FULL of gift ideas, and you can easily filter this database to narrow down your search!

The image below shows you where to find the filter (at the top of our deal database).  Select the stores you want to see, pick who you’re shopping for, determine your price point and filter out all the rest! You can narrow it down even more by choosing a category!

Deal database

The deal filter is even BETTER in our free Fabulessly Frugal app! (Go HERE to learn how to get it!) With the app, you can do all of this on the go.

On top of that, there are a ton of other features within the app, and we’re updating it all the time. Check it out!

Deal filter

7. Try This Fun Budget Gift Idea for Teenagers

Grandma started this tradition a few years ago and I think it is the PERFECT gift idea for teenagers!

The week before Black Friday, give your recipient some cash or gift cards (here is how to get discounted gift cards by the way). Their job is to go purchase whatever they want, within the budget.

Then they wrap their gift and on Christmas Day, they open it in front of you and surprise YOU with what they purchased for themselves! They share why they got it and/or what they’ll be doing with it.

Grandma loves this. The teenagers LOVE this, and it takes a load off of Grandma’s shoulders! This fun idea isn’t just for Grandmas and their teenage grandkids… you can do it with any teenager you know!

Christmas gift wrapped in brown paper with candy canes on it

8. Never Miss a Deal on The Gift You’re Searching For!

It’s always the worst thing to find out you missed an awesome deal on the exact item you were shopping for! PROBLEM SOLVED my friend! We have a fantastic feature on our site that will actually help you ALL YEAR LONG!

Simply go HERE to get started. You can get alerted about deals you want when you opt-in to receive brand and product-specific price drop alerts. Simply choose the brands and products you want to follow from our comprehensive list, then forget about it!

We’ll send you an alert when we find a smokin’ hot deal on the stuff YOU want!

Even better – if you sign up for alerts through our free money-saving app, you can easily use our snooze feature any time you need a break from alerts! 

Brand alerts in the Fabulessly Frugal app

9. Price Compare the Black Friday Sales

We have all the Black Friday Price comparisons available for you to view! You can view ALL the deals on our Black Friday Price Comparisons page, OR select deals on the most popular brands and products on our regular price comparisons tool. BOTH are available in our app as well!


Price comparison for apple airpods in the fabulessly frugal app

Christmas Shopping on a Budget CAN Be Done!

With a little planning, Christmas shopping on a budget IS possible, no matter what your budget is! Come January, you will be so grateful that you set a Christmas budget and stuck with it! You’ll have less stress, less debt, and you’ll be ready to tackle the new year.

Do you have any other great ideas for staying on budget and keeping it frugal when it comes to Gift Giving? Tell me below!

Christmas budgeting tips

Other posts you will find valuable:

Christmas shopping on a budget


  • A nice post. I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet for a few years and it really helps me keep track of my holiday spending.

  • Ill be moving to a town that doesnt have any chain stores. Safeway wont be too far but walmart is an hour and a half away. Is it really as easy as you ladies make it look to shop online and save.

    • Oh, I definitely believe so. I have been shopping online A LOT for several years now. You just have to make sure you are shopping from a reputable site (which we try very hard to do), know the shipping and return policies, and read the item descriptions so you have a good idea of what you are purchasing.

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