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10 Great Tips For Budget Christmas Shopping

Christmas is definitely a season where the bank balance can take a heft hit or two. We all want to spoil the loved ones around us, but it can leave us all with a few raised eyebrows when we actually check back up on ourselves. 

We decided to talk to several leading budget experts for their opinions on what makes a good budget Christmas shop and how we can all make those pennies stretch out a little bit further this year. 

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from and other Amazon websites.

#1 Mystery Shopping

An EXCELLENT way to get through the holidays on a shoe-string budget is to mystery shop! Mystery shopping is a completely legitimate side-hustle and there's no better time to learn than at Christmas! Not only can you make money mystery shopping, but you can get gifts too - and the best part is that purchases are reimbursed in exchange for writing the mystery shop report.

I've mystery shopped my way through the past dozen Christmases and wouldn't have it any other way. My Christmas budget is small but my giving is big!

Contributor: Jen from

#2 Create A Budget


You can easily find yourself over-spending during the holiday season. Even those great sales you see all around can pose a threat to your pocket. Setting a budget in advance not only gives you control of your finances to reach your financial goals, but it helps reduce a lot of stress and anxiety most people endure during the season of giving.

Setting a budget will give you an idea of how much you plan to spend on each family member or friend and how much you want to leave yourself with.

Contributor: Jennifer Magana with

#3 Create A Spending Plan

Create a spending plan, examine your net income and study your expenses. This way, you’ll have a better idea of which expenses are fixed and which are variable. The variable expenses can be adjusted month-to-month, which means you can always make changes to find that spare money.

Contributor: Jennifer Magana with

#4 Thrift Shopping

Think outside of the box for your gift giving. Try thrift-stores for unique one-of-kind items. Even my 38-year-old son likes to display toys from his childhood so I'm always on the lookout for vintage toys. One of my other son's all-time favorite gifts was a huge tote of Lego purchased at a thrift store. Another son got a tote full of Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles. My kids didn't care if a gift was used, especially when they got a big tote bin full. I've bought nice mugs, added a couple packets of flavored cocoa mix, and candy canes.

I've picked up new-in box items too, including sealed boxes of vintage stationery for a daughter who loves to write letters, nice throws, pajama sets, most likely someone else's gifts they didn't care for.

Contributor: Mary Potter Kenyon from

#5 Utilise The Web

Look for brand new items sold on Craigslist, Offerup, Letgo or 5 miles. Many times, people are reselling brand new, unused product on these websites. You can haggle anywhere from 10-30% off retail price. If you're willing to gift gently used items, you can get up to 50% off retail price.

Contributor: Samuel Zhou, CEO from

#7 Shop Around

Check the price before buying an item. If you find a gift that’s over your budget, do a little research and you may find a better price elsewhere. (Remember: many stores have price-match policies.)

Contributor: Mark Brinkerhoff from

#8 Be Tech Savvy

You might be the type of person who uses their debit card rather than cash. If you are, reviewing your debit card statements each month and categorizing your expenses could be a great way to track your expenses and know where your money is going.

Contributor: Jennifer Magana with

#9 DIY Holiday Party

If you’re hosting a party, decorations are a necessity if you’re looking to create a festive feel, and this means you can find yourself spending a pretty penny unnecessarily very quickly. Instead, try going through boxes of decorations ahead of time to see what you will need to repurpose or replace. If you find you need to replace items, look through magazines or Pinterest to do a little DIY decorating.

Contributor: Jennifer Magana with

#10 Create A List

Making a list not only helps you keep your thoughts remain in an organized document, it helps you foresee the expenditures you’ll soon be making. Not only do you have the opportunity to see what you will be spending upfront, but you’ll have a the opportunity to cut costs long before you make that impulsive purchase. It’ll also help you remain strict on what you purchase for others.

Contributor: Jennifer Magana with

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Written by James Metcalfe

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