Saving money at Christmas: an impossible task?

Let’s admit that Christmas is AWESOME, but DANGEROUS. Saving money at Christmas just goes out the window, doesn’t it? I don’t think there’s another time of year where it’s just so easy to completely blow your budget without even thinking about it. Everywhere you look at Christmas there is money to be spent.

I realized, recently, that a whole lot of the spending I do at Christmas is… totally unnecessary.  I know that’s not really… a REVELATION, but still.

I sat down to come up with just a few things that I blindly pull out the card for every year – and I was surprised at how many things I was able to cross OFF my shopping list. I’ve made myself a promise. I will be saving money this Christmas. This year, I will. not. buy. these things.

Related: How to Have a FUN, FRUGAL Christmas


Ten things I won’t buy this Christmas, to save money:

1 ) New Christmas decorations.

Every adorable little snowman or penguin on ice skates wants a place in my home. And I want to GIVE them a place in my home.

But, I already have half a dozen fat little penguins on ice skates and I know from experience that I only have room to put out 3.

This year, I will not re-home any penguins, wreaths, strands of lights, or any other glittery pretties. If I become absolutely desperate for something new, it will come from the thrift store. (But that won’t happen. I do not need any new decorations.)

Related: DIY Christmas Ornaments to Make with Kids

2 ) New clothes for parties.

I don’t think I’ve ever even realized I do this. I tell myself I “need” a new shirt or pair of jeans, or shoes… But almost without fail, I purchase something just a litttttttle to fancy for everyday life and tell myself it’ll be perfect for new years eve or dinner with friends.

(Let’s not over look the fact that last years worn-4-times dinner-with-friends shirt is still hanging in the closet. Annnnnd one from the year before that.)

christmas budgeting

3 ) Cute Christmas-y baby stuff. 

It is super tempting to dress the squishy baby up like an adorable elf. For 40$. For one day.

I think if I ask around I can probably borrow last year’s elf from friends who’s baby wore those pointy ears one time + has way outgrown the outfit this year.

4 ) $150 worth of gifts for my one-year-old.

THE BABY DOESN’T NEED 10 NEW TOYS. This is my mantra whenever I walk into a store this year.

On that note, his daddy also doesn’t need 10 new things, and neither do I. Christmas doesn’t have to be all about the piles of gift.

A few fun things to open is more than enough.

Related: Cheap but Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas
Related: The Best FREE Gifts to Give Your Kids This Christmas

5 ) Expensive + decadent desserts. 

This is a big falling down for me. I say things like, “Oh it’s Christmas, we can splurge!”.

And then I pay 26$ for a desert that we will eat in a few sittings + forget about. Three times.

This year I will make desserts. (Yes, I can. I have Pinterest.) OR maybe I will just eat LESS desserts altogether and not gain 10 pounds.

Related: Free Printable Christmas Menu Planner

6 ) Christmas Cards.

I have all the stuff to make cards, already paid for and sitting in my office. But every year I ignore that stuff and buy a stack of cards…

Why? Why do I do that?

Because I am just a little lazy + rushed. If I spend less time shopping this year, maybe I can make time to make cards

People throw them away at the end of the season anyway. Must keep that in mind!

7 ) Wrapping paper, ribbons, Christmas crackers.

We will use this stuff, yes… but we will not BUY this stuff. I firmly believe that this is stuff that should be bought at 75% off after the holidays, and stored for a year.


8 ) On that note – Anything that will be on sale AFTER Christmas. 

Cute Pj sets. Soap + lotion sets. Amazing chocolates or gift basket-y things.

Sure, you might want to have these things for Christmas. But it can be just as much fun to climb into your matching “family jammies” on New Years Eve as it is to wear them on Christmas eve.

It is just unimaginable to me that I would pay 40$ for anything I know I can have for 25$ THREE DAYS LATER.

9 ) Fun holiday themed… junk. 

If it’s only appropriate for use at Christmas (red + green sparkle nail polish, slightly tacky Mrs. Clause Lingerie, reindeer antler headbands), then I don’t need to spend money on it (OR store this stuff for another year).

(IF you just NEED a fun holiday head band – MAKE ONE.)

Related: Fun Family Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

10 ) A “real” Christmas tree.

Something that you have to buy year after year (instead of investing a bit just once) doesn’t make any sense to me.

We got our tree second hand last year – FOR FREE – from a friend who just happened to forget she had one already, and then went out and bought another…. and put her first one up on FB for free. I’ve also noticed that every year on December first our local thrift store FILLS with GORGEOUS second hand trees. (I’d say something about saving the planet, which is great and all, but my REAL thing here is saving some money. This one just happens to be a win-win!)

Saving money at Christmas is TOTALLY possible!

Are there a few things you could make instead of buy, re-use or do without this year?

Related: 10 Things I Quit Buying (to Save Money)

saving money at christmas

saving money at christmas