Doing Christmas on Basically a Zero Budget

Hip2Save may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you via trusted partners and affiliate links in this post. Prices and availability are accurate as of time posted. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Christmas on a Zero Budget

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

ToysA 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
Christmas List

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

Gift Card Snow Globes

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

Bath & Body Works Mailer

Some credit card companies offer huge rewards, in addition to programs like Disney Movie Rewards, Pampers Rewards, Huggies Rewards, Kellogg’s Family Rewards, My Coke Rewards etc.

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.

Speaking of free magazines, you can also easily earn FREE magazine subscriptions by taking simple surveys. All the info here.

Plus, if you do opt to gift a subscription, grab these FREE Printable Magazine Gift Subscription Cards/Tags!

6. Watch local yard sale sites

Yard Sale 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

FREE SamplesMany free samples can be used as stocking stuffers (think beauty samples), and November is usually a great month for scoring freebies! Be sure to bookmark Hip2Save’s freebie section.

9. Host a gift swap

White Elephant Gift Exchange 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!

Santa and Reindeer Hot Cocoa Cones by Hip2Save

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!

Join The Discussion

Comments 104

  1. ds

    i wish i could skip all the gift giving and give through out the year that way it doesn’t feel like an obligation and a hit on the budget

  2. nancygaye

    I got a brand new Fossil men’s watch at a yard sale for $20. It was worth $100. Gave it to a relative for Christmas.

  3. Ang

    I bought halloween kids costumes at target on clearence ranging from 1$-3.50$ im gonna give them to toddlers in the family as dress up sets. (like for a girl i have a dress 3.50, a crown .20, and a spare necklace i had)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?