Christmas on A Zero Budget

by - 11/17/2016 06:04:00 PM

This post contains affliate links 

Before we start, I am very aware that the holidays are NOT all about receiving gifts. (Get it? Got it? Were Good!) From being a single mom to a one income household. I know this scenario far too well. For me, it was primarily educating myself on financial literacy. I didn’t see how I could afford to save when I was living beyond paycheck to paycheck. When I did have an extra $1 or $5 the last thing I was thinking about was saving it. I felt that I worked hard and deserved X. Does any of that sound familiar? I try my best to use this platform to help all people any way I can with financial literacy. I have shared several times on the blog ways I save money on everyday expenses. I thought it would appropriate to share what I’ve done in the past that has worked for my family. I remember Christmas eve being at Target swiping my credit card and it declined. I remember waiting for my billing cycle to close to give me a little more time to come up with the money to pay for the items. Sharing tips below that I’ve used and applied and some I still apply daily.

The List

One of the first things that you should do is create a list with three columns in one column list the people that you will buy for. In the second column the gift idea for that person. In the third column the price of the gift or how much it will cost to create the gift if it’s homemade.

Sell what you don’t need

I am at a point in my life where less is more. I am getting rid of a lot of STUFF and I’m not just buying to buy. Look around your home. Items you no longer want/need and list it on Postmark. Postmark now accepts men and children’s clothing as well. This is one of the first steps that you should take. Christmas is currently a little over a month away. You could also the Facebook Marketplace or groups (not sure what it’s called) I’ve never used it before. However, it might be a great option for you.


If Poshmark is not your jam try bringing your gently used items to your local consignment shop. Most consignment shops either pay you out or you will have to wait for your items to sell.

Sites I Love/Used to sell items

  • Postmark
  • eBay
  • Craigslist

Rewards Programs

I am a huge advocate for the programs below. I use them and love them. You can now use eBates in-store at select stores. Ibotta is great as well for in-store purchases.


Percentage off of online and in-store purchases (payout quarterly) Last year I purchased a pair of Ugg for my daughter. I visited two of my favorites sites and they pretty much were the same price. However, the percentage of the cash back was different. Which one fo you think I went with?


In-store purchases (available for most stores) I mostly use it for Groceries, Target, Walmart (even Sally’s) You have to reach I believe $20 to cash out.


I sign up for all of my favorite store newsletters and mailings. For example, During this time you will start to receive free offers at stores such as Victoria Secret and Bath & Body Shop. I also receive better offers in the mail than offered in store and by email.

Free Samples

I turn free samples to mini gifts that are perfect for teachers and neighbors. For example, If I receive a free sample of coffee. I'll purchase a mug from the Dollar Tree and turn it to a super cute gift.

Dollar Tree

Don’t sleep on the Dollar Tree. During the summer time, they had really cute gifts for kids. I also stop at varies Dollar Tree’s because they do not all carry the same items. Watch a few Dollar Tree haul videos to see what's possibly out there.

Make It

I have a silhouette machine and I love creating personalized gifts. I made a few here. You can purchase a t-shirt from the Dollar Tree and decorate it to your liking. Walmart is also a great option for sweatshirts as well. Don’t forget to go on Pinterest for DIY holiday gift inspiration.

Homemade gifts

If you enjoy baking or crafting this be the perfect option for you. You can easily create edible gifts for your friends that have sweet tooth.


Don’t have a coupon? Google it while online shopping or in-store. Most stores will accept valid coupons on your phone.

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  1. I love articles like yours that show me how to save money, and how to make money. I do not believe you need to spend massive amounts on these holidays! Thanks for this information!

  2. These are some great ideas, I think many of us can go a little overboard at Christmas, so it is nice to find ways to help bring that down and not spend much at all.

  3. I always make a list when it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts. I try to stick to it, yet it seems I always go over just a little, especially with the grandkids. I'm always looking for ways to save and these are all excellent ideas.

  4. It's true that with some creativity, one doesn't have to spend a lot to have a fabulous Christmas. I also love the Dollar Tree and always find adorable things there.

  5. I have seen some great gift ideas made out of things from the dollar tree!! Love these ideas, Christmas adds up fast.

  6. The one way we have survived Christmas over the years when there was no budget was by reevaluating the list of those we bought for. Many times we end up with items we don't really need. Now our list is simple and it makes it so much easier. I love using gift cards, I have earned through the year to purchase gifts. The important thing is to stick with your list and a set amount so you don't end up in debt after the holidays.

  7. Christmas is a really costly holiday, these are great tips for people who are struggling. I usually make some of my gifts for people because I love making candy.

  8. These are great suggestions! eBay is my go to when I need a few extra bucks. Saving money on gifts, or getting rewards back is definitely a bonus! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Love your suggestions on being frugal during the holiday season. It's so helpful!

  10. All these are great ideas, sometimes we forget that it's not all about the gifts and even if we want to give but can't afford we can always make something I guess

  11. Really great ways to save some pennies at Christmas. It's such an expensive time of year and even though it's not all about the gifts I know people do want to have a good time and show their loved ones how much they care about them so every little does help.

  12. These are great ways to help save around Christmas time. Budgets are tough but remembering that it isn't about the gifts helps and allows you to be creative! Great message :)

  13. I think make it is a great option to cut cost. It would be more meaningful too. It also helps to go on yard sale and sell items you don't need.

  14. Now I am not afraid to say this is a prefect post for myself. I have no extra money when I am living pay check to pay check. The Dollar Tree has always been my friend along with entering contest and sweepstakes. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  15. I make a list as well, it really helps. We got to the Dollar Tree a lot.

  16. Really helpful tips to get gifts without breaking the bank. Coupons and the Dollar tree will definitely help!

  17. These are very good tips and ideas. I know Christmas can be super tough on the budget so I am always looking for ways to save.


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