Doing Christmas on Basically a Zero Budget
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I know what you’re thinking…”Is it really possible to have Christmas on a zero budget?? It sounds too good to be true!” Well, it’s certainly possible, though it’s going to take a little work and planning…
Check out these 10 tips:
1. Take inventory
Start by looking around your house. Gather up ALL your spare items- books, clothes, toys, electronics, spare appliances, etc., then separate them into items that are giftable, and items that can be sold to buy gifts. I guarantee you have more than you think!
2. Raid your gift closet
A gift closet is a designated area (not necessarily a closet), where you store gifts throughout the year, as you find the best deals on giftable items. Gift closets are essential to saving the maximum amount on gifts! If you don’t already have one, start one now for next year! (Don’t forget to stock it with post-holiday clearance essentials, like wrapping paper!)
3. Write down everyone you need to buy for
This is a great starting point for putting together a game plan for gifting. Get this FREE Printable Christmas Gift List HERE.
4. Gather up your current gift cards
Those gift cards can be re-gifted, used to buy gifts, or sold to buy gifts. You can also sell gift cards on sites like eBay and Raise. If you’re planning to give gift cards as gifts this year, check out this fun DIY Gift Card Snow Globe idea.
5. Take advantage of rewards programs, email offers, survey opportunities and MORE
Also, be sure to sign up for for email offers, free catalogs and more from your favorite stores to get exclusive offers! By doing so, you’ll be able to score freebies from popular stores like L.L.Bean, Eddie Bauer, Staples, Bath & Body Works and more.
Also, did you know that you can use your frequent flyer miles on magazine subscriptions? Yep! Mags for Miles allows you to spend those spare miles on magazine subscriptions, which are totally giftable! This is a great option for those of us who don’t typically accrue enough miles to actually earn a free flight, or whose miles are about to expire.
Plus, if you do opt to gift a subscription, grab these FREE Printable Magazine Gift Subscription Cards/Tags!
6. Watch local yard sale sites
Keep an eye on your local Craigslist-type sites and Facebook groups. People are constantly listing things for “FREE – just get it out of my house!” – I know, because I’ve done it! Many of these items are new, or like-new, and totally giftable. You just have to be on top of it because they always go quick! You can find great low-cost gifts on these sites too.
7. Keep up on sales ads and use coupons
So this isn’t a zero-budget tip, but with the money you are able to round-up from various areas, you should be able to spend very carefully on your top priority items. Watching Black Friday Sales is a great way to check items off your Christmas list for less cash. Keep in mind that MANY of the Black Friday sales will also be available online.
And of course, couponing is a great way to grab free/cheap candy and other items that make great gifts and stocking stuffers.
8. Sign up for free samples
9. Host a gift swap
That weird quesadilla maker your in-laws gave you last year that’s still sitting in the garage unopened might not be something you can gift to anyone YOU know, but maybe your neighbor has a recipient who would love it. Have everyone bring unwanted items and swap them out. This is a great way to switch out kids’ toys, too!
Speaking of hosting a gift swap, be sure to check out this post all about hosting a White Elephant Gift Exchange! There are some great tips AND FREE Printables.
Tip: Plan this early so you have time to prepare/cleanup any gifts that need it (like a fresh coat of paint on that new-to-you dollhouse).
10. Sensible handmade gifts
Let’s be real here… 😉
We ALL know that this is typically how handmade/crafty gifts go, right?? Don’t fall into this trap! If you don’t have the supplies on-hand, then skip it!
HOWEVER, there are a million ways to re-purpose or use items you already have for something very giftable. Be sure to check out Lina’s Christmas Craft/ DIY Gift ideas! Some of my favs – Santa & Reindeer Hot Cocoa Cones, Homemade Gingerbread Play Dough, and Homemade Peppermint Lip Balm!
You can also utilize your talents… are you great at refinishing antique items? Pick some up at the thrift store or an online yard sale group! Do you make the world’s best jam? Gift it! Consider making handmade coupons for things too – you can offer a free night of babysitting, help with yard work, gardening, house work, etc. Be creative!