How to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Learning how to save money on Christmas gifts is simple if you arm yourself with some expert gift-buying strategies. Here is some fantastic advice from money-saving blogger Penina Petersen. 

Christmas is a wonderful time of year full of tinsel, trifle and too-many-good-reasons to drink Champagne and eat rum truffles. With all this fun and frivolity it is easy to waste hard-earned money on too-expensive hi-tech gadgets and designer perfume for the loved-ones in our lives.

The best gifts are free, so why pay more?

But despite how much we love those who wrap us in cuddles-cuter-than-cupid’s, or see us through a hard day at the office; we needn’t get carried away. Remember this: Cuddles are so good because they’re free! So why would an expensive present make us any happier than what a cuddle can give?

Be giving but avoid being broke on Boxing Day

No. The goal at Christmas is to still be a giving person, but one who avoids waking up on Boxing Day with a gut full of Pavlova and a purse minus pennies. Being broke on Boxing Day is simply no fun. There are too many bargain shoes and cheap gifts to purchase for next year! So stay as focused as a Xmas fiddler!

Love the music but love your wallet more

Gifts are one of the biggest expenses at Christmas. I blame the savvy marketers who hire carol singers and Santa to sing and sit at the mall. Those carol singers will woo us with songs like Jingle Bell Rock and Feliz Navidad. Meanwhile, Santa will scratch his long beard and give our kids lollypops and candy canes. And that’s great! Now mum or dad can catch a breath and order a latte while waiting in line. But there’s a catch!  

Don’t get caught up in the expense

What happens next is we get caught up in songs about reindeer and snowmen. We get dazzled by the bright Xmas lights and glittery bows hanging off walls, ceilings and Xmas trees as we venture down those jingly-jangly aisles.

So we start opening our wallets in random moments of generosity. The song Do They Know It’s Christmas (by Band Aid) has helped open my wallet a little wider at malls on several occasions. I’m a sucker for a great festive song. Then, if Santa gives me lollies too, I’m gone for all money!

I want to stay in the mall all day and never return to my life of laundry, dishes or domestic duties again! I want to shop, shop and shop some more! I want to shop for my family, friends and for myself!

It’s way more fun at the mall where Santa is. He had me at ‘Hello.’

So I’ll get to the point

It is one thing to open your heart and be generous at Christmas, but it is quite the opposite to look in what was in your big sack of pre-Christmas cash (your bank account), only to find that a few dollars remain in the bottom (your bank balance!).   

Shop as if your boss is watching

The key with saving money on Christmas gifts is to be organised, to plan well ahead of time and to execute that plan with a highly strategic mind. 

Saving money on Christmas gifts should be taken as seriously as a job. This means writing your gift list and following money-saving strategies as if your boss was watching!

If we all executed shopping as if our bosses were watching, we’d be rich!

So I ask you this: Would you do any of the following?

·         Roll down your car window while driving and toss money out?

·         Grab a pair of scissors and cut up the cash until it is Xmas confetti?
·         Boil up some money in a large pot until it turns into paper Mache?
·         Open your wallet and give all your money to a stranger at the mall?

Well. If you are not strategic about saving money on Christmas gifts, you will be doing all of the above.

Here then, are my top ways to save money before Christmas arrives:

Think Ahead

1. Set up a Christmas fund for buying presents at Boxing Day sales or during the year when sales occur.
2. If you don’t have money at the time put items on Layby throughout the year to take advantage of sale items.

Set Up a Generic Gift Cupboard

The point of the generic gift cupboard is so that you avoid running to stores and randomly buying gifts at the last minute. Keep gifts in stock in case someone gives you or your child a gift and you didn’t buy anything in return.

Here’s how:

1. Organise a small cupboard in your home for generic gifts.

2. Start collecting cheap knick-knacks for kids and adults from $2 shops.

3. Wrap up gifts you wish to re-gift.

4. Wrap and organise each gift into child/adult and gender for quick reference.

Organise a Kris-Kringle earlier than later

1. Organise Christmas so people don’t start organising you!
2. Call up everyone who is coming on Xmas day and organise a Kris-Kringle.
3. Organise buying one present for each adult and then everyone can buy for the kids.
4. Set a limit for the Kris-Kringle. E.g. $20 for kids. $30 for adults.
5. Set a lower limit for adults to encourage creativity and to save even more money!

10 Top-Notch Gift-Buying Strategies

1. Set a master Christmas budget.

2. Write a list of gift recipients and stick to the list.

3. Take a second look at the list and now cull it.

4. Set a budget for each person against your master Christmas budget.

5. Set a challenge this year. E.g. $10 per person. What can you get for that? Be creative!

6. Go to one store and stay in that store until all your shopping is done. Stores like K-Mart and Target are good because you can buy for everyone there.

7. Set a time limit for doing your Xmas shopping E.g. Three hours.

8. Discover ways to save money on wrapping and cards by using scraps from last year or items from around the home.

9. As an alternative consider doing all your Christmas shopping online on the same website. This will save on postage and result in all the gifts arriving at once. Simply wrap them up and you are done!

10. Remember to shop in affordable stores! If you are shopping for many people those costs per head sure add up if the store itself is expensive!

4 Cheap and Creative Gift Ideas

Homemade presents are one of the best ways to save money on Christmas gifts. Here are four cheap gift ideas to get those creative juices flowing!   

1. Funky cushion: Sew old clothing into a hand-made cushion. Customise the cushion by adding your recipient’s name. This makes a great winter project and your time and effort will be well appreciated!

2. Dinner under the stars: Give an invitation to dinner under the stars in your backyard. Set up a restaurant in the backyard with music and menus. Treat your loved-one to a special evening they won’t forget.

3. Wisdom CD: Create an audio file of your wisdom and put it to music. Burn the CD to disk and create a memorable cover for it.

4. Recipe book: Create a personalised recipe book in a notebook using magazine clippings. Create personalised names for the recipes using family names. E.g. Simon’s Super Sandwich.

Be sure to follow these important tips to save money on Christmas gifts and to take the stress out of Christmas shopping.  Get in out and of the stores quickly or shop online to avoid temptation.

Most of all have fun! You can still eat truffles and sing Christmas carols. Just do it in the comfort of your own home and with a nice glass of Champers in hand! Enjoy the moment!


Penina Petersen is a published Australian Author and blogger for the Savings Room. Be sure to stop into the Savings Room for a cuppa. Penina’s got the kettle on. 


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