Friday, January 8, 2016

How I Managed Our Christmas On A Budget

In 2014 we had a house to furnish so our Christmas budget was a paltry $100.  And somehow we did just fine.  Every month I set aside $10 in an envelope and by October I had it all save up.  Fortunately, I also had some gift cards to use to purchase quite a few items which helped a ton.

Last year I doubled the budget to $200 for Christmas 2015.  I funded it with money from my 2014 Christmas bonus I got at work so I didn't have to worry about setting aside money every month.  I tucked it away and used it throughout the year as I needed to.

As in years past I made a lot of the gifts I gave.  I derive a lot of joy in making my gifts and I try to tailor the things I make to the recipient as there is no point going to all that work and expense on a gift someone wouldn't want.

I got started in January by making my youngest a scarf and head warmer set I crocheted from yarn I already had in my stash.  In February I made another set for my oldest, and again, I used yarn in my stash.  Two gifts finished, wrapped and hidden away on the top shelf of my closet.  I used file folder boxes I had pulled out of the recycle bit at work and brought home along with tissue paper, Christmas wrap, bows and tags I already had on hand.  Two beautiful handmade gifts at no cost so the budget was untouched.

A super great online sale at Bath & Body Works got me bottles of foaming hand soap on clearance for $2.50 each.  I paired them with handmade hanging dish towels in a Christmas theme for several gifts and a couple gift exchanges.  On the same sale I also got lotion and shower gel for $5.00 each.  I gave each of my girls a set and used tissue, bows, gift bags and tags I already had.  I spent just enough at the sale to qualify for free shipping.

I had two big projects in mind.  The first was to make four throw pillows for some friends of ours.  They love wolves and have a wolf theme in their living room.  They had just purchased a gorgeous gray leather sectional for the room and had no pillows for it.  I had this idea pictured in my head.

In May I was thrilled to find old vintage quilt panels of wolf scenes from the 80s on eBay and I bid on them.  Then over the course of three months I used coupons a friend kept giving me for JoAnn's to purchase coordinating fabrics, quilt batting and bags of Polyfil.  By September I had all of my supplies needed to complete this project and paid for.

My other big projects was to make "Go Bags" for the girls.  I've always thought it would be a good idea for each of us to have a "Go Bag" assembled and ready in case of an emergency, but also I like the idea of having it for the convenience of travelling.  I'll post more about these in another post.  But suffice it to say that the majority of my budget went into putting these together.

I shopped around town and Amazon for supplies for the bags as well as a big barreled curling iron for the oldest and a set of Sony headphones for the youngest.  I also bought two books on discount from Amazon.  I like to give each of my girls a book at Christmas.

I used coupons paired with great sales to acquire lip balm and gum super cheap for stocking stuffers.  I also picked up items at the dollar store and grabbed up four packages of socks on a 50% OFF sale at ShopKo.

Santa gifts in addition to what was in their stockings included two adult coloring books I bought at Amazon for under $4.00 each with free shipping and a second hand Wii Sports game I got on eBay for under $12.00 with free shipping.  My girls don't mind a second hand gift and frankly, I don't think they really even noticed.  They are just thrilled to have the game.

I bought a new set of lights for the tree and our neighbor gifts were simply jars of jelly I made last summer wrapped in bags and using bows and trim I already had on hand.  I did buy ingredients for a special jar of Thai chili paste I made for some friends but I used a big pickle jar I had saved to put it in and dressed it up with red cellophane, bows and trim I had on hand.  They really love that chili paste and were so excited to get it.

So that is pretty much it.  Do you set a budget for Christmas?  How do you save for it?


  1. You did a great job! Hooray, the only thing I did was make some candy for the neighbors and had purchased plates (small) from a thrift store earlier in the year at 1/2.

  2. We do have a Christmas budget, I also have money taken out of our check each month for the budget.
    I buy the grandkids and adult kids things on sale at end of year, this really helps when Christmas gets here. I had found the girls some pj's last year at the end of winter. I bought them and wrapped them.. They were well received for Christmas.


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