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How To Afford Christmas When You Are Completely Broke

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How do people afford Christmas on a tight budget? Simply by being creative and thinking of some smart frugal ideas for Christmas gifts!

How to afford Christmas when broke

This has been a hard year for many people around the world because of the challenging economy.

With many families already struggling to pay the bills and buy food, it’s hard to figure out how to provide a good Christmas for your kids when you have no money.

Don’t stress, you can still have a good Christmas even on a tight budget with some smart frugal ideas!

Being frugal at Christmas can be quite easy!

When you are frugal not only does it help out when you have a tight budget, but it also keeps you from overspending during the holidays to prevent going into debt!

Frugal Ideas When You Are Broke At Christmas

Cheap ways to celebrate Christmas with no money! Frugal Christmas ideas to not let being broke during the holiday season rob you and your family of joy!

Go To FREE Holiday Festivities

During the holidays there are so many FREE things to do!

You can find local parades, school performances, church plays, and more!

We start planning out our holiday fun early on by checking out all that our town has to offer.

Even the library has free Christmas craft days every Saturday morning in December. This is a great idea if you are looking for ways to decorate for Christmas with no money!

Check out your local hardware store, last year my kids made wooden ornaments at Home Depot for free!

And let’s not forget that most people decorate their homes with lights, so driving around looking at all the Christmas lights is completely free!

So make some yummy hot chocolate in the crockpot and pack your family in the car to check out all the lights in the neighborhood, without spending a penny!

Be A Frugal Christmas Shopper

If you can afford some holiday shopping, be a smart frugal shopper!

First, download the Honey Chrome extension, it is free and it looks for the best price for any item. 

It is the best thing to use when trying to get the best deal!

Not only that, but it searches the internet for active promo codes to save time and money at the same time!

Second, do all of your online shopping with Rakuten (formerly eBates). It is so easy to use, you make a FREE account, then you click through to the store you want to shop at, make your purchase, then get up to 40% cashback!

I do all of my online shopping with Rakuten and I have saved so much money on my holiday spending!

Third, after you make a purchase, scan all of your receipts with CoinOut (the free app from Shark Tank) to get even more cashback!

With those 3 completely free apps, you can absolutely afford Christmas on a tight budget!

Create A Christmas Budget

The importance of creating a Christmas budget is it holds you accountable.

You know beforehand what you can afford to spend, and what you can’t.

Make a list of everything you think you may be spending money on over the holiday season like gifts, food, decorations, etc.

Try your best to not use any credit cards while doing holiday shopping.

It’s easy to rack up credit card debt over the holidays, but if you are already having money trouble, then come January you will be even more in a financial jam. 

When you have a very small budget, then you must get creative when it comes to gifts. 

Think of homemade gifts, and secondhand. 

How To Afford Christmas Gifts On A Budget

Easy ways to afford Christmas gifts when you have no money. From homemade gifts, second-hand treasures or ways to find free gifts for kids at Christmas, this has you covered.

Make Homemade Christmas Gifts

Making a gift has so much more meaning than a store-bought. You put love, time, and thought into this gift you will give.

Homemade gifts for kids:

  • fun coupon book – full of fun activities and one-on-one time with Mom & Dad. 
  • cardboard box fort – I know this may sound unconventional, but kids love using their imagination with a large cardboard box. 
  • mini foosball table – made from a shoebox and clothespins.
  • noisemakers – made from a decorated toilet paper roll and rice.
  • homemade play-dough – made from ingredients in your pantry.

Simple DIY Christmas gifts for adults:

  • a knitted scarf
  • DIY Happy Jar with free printables
  • salt dough ornaments with your child’s handprint
  • bath bombs
  • bookmarker

Exchange Gifts You Already Have

I am giving credit to my Mom on this genius idea.

When my kids were a little younger they were talking to their Grandmother about how they would like to buy gifts for everyone, but they just couldn’t afford to buy Christmas presents because they had no money.

Being the wise woman my Mother is, she reminded the kids that they are always wanting each other’s things whether it be clothes, games, or toys. 

She suggested each child pick something out of theirs that they knew the other child liked and wrap it up as a gift. 

The kids love the idea and they now do it every year!

Try The 4-Gift Rule

The 4 gift rule makes Christmas gift-giving super easy and affordable!

Simply give 4 gifts to your child: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. 

For some great gift ideas to give, read the post all about how to embrace the 4 gift rule with your kids!

Plus, as an added bonus you can get a FREE letter to Santa in the FREE Resource Library explaining the four present rule!

Tis’ the Season For Goodwill

I’m sure by now you have heard of the toy drives of different charities during the holidays.

When you can’t afford Christmas presents for your kids, it’s OK to ask for help.

There are many charitable programs that help out families in need over the holidays.

Not only will they help out with gifts, but they can provide a Christmas meal as well as clothing. 

These Charities Include:

  • The Angel Tree
  • Toys For Tots
  • Operation Warm
  • Local Food Banks
  • Local Ministries

You can even reach out to your child’s school, many schools have programs to financially help low-income families during the holidays. 

Make Extra Money On The Side

When you are completely broke and stressed to the max, it’s hard to think about how to make extra money for the holidays. 

I have a whole list of 100 side hustles to make extra money!

Go through the list, and see what you can do to make some quick holiday cash to help afford Christmas gifts!

Gifts for $1

So you know the best and the worst thing about The Dollar Tree is that everything is $1!

That means it’s affordable, but it also means it’s cheap-meaning that it’s not the best quality.

However, you can still find some good finds when your budget is tight.

They do have some little trinkets and toys that most children would play with. Hey, it’s better than nothing!

If nothing else, they have a lot of options for stocking stuffers!

Limit Stocking Stuffers

If you are able to afford some stocking stuffers, then make them count. 

Make sure it’s filled with things your children need like a new toothbrush, a comb, fruit snacks, and even fresh fruit.

Don’t waste your money on the little things that get lost, broken, and unused. 

Give The Gift Of Time – It’s Completely Free

When you are completely broke at Christmas, the one thing you can give is TIME.

In this busy world, we are stretched to the max!

As moms we multi-task everything!

How much FULL attention do we give our kids?

This Christmas, show your kids that presence is more important than presents. 

Spend quality time with them.

Bake cookies, watch Christmas movies in your pajamas, make crafts out of what you have. 

Your kids will remember this Christmas because they will feel important, they will feel seen, and most importantly they will feel loved!

How To Afford Christmas With No Money

So hopefully, all of these frugal Christmas ideas should help you provide your family with a good Christmas even if you don’t have any money.

Remember, that family is the most important thing and should especially be cherished during this very special holiday!

This is one year that our faith and thankfulness will be even more practiced to remember what Christmas is really all about.

For more, be sure to grab some freebies from the FREE Resource Library before you go.

There you find so many helpful printables to make Mom-life easier, one hack at a time!

Let me know in the comments some frugal ways you use during the holiday season!

Bonus: More Ways To Afford Christmas With No Money

How To Make $100 A Day

100 Side Hustles For Moms To Make Extra Money

Moms Helping Moms! Share The Love!


Monday 21st of December 2020

This is actually a nice article and really helpful. Giving time is a nice gift! Because as we grow older it's really hard to find time for our family because we're trying to make our own lives better.


Saturday 19th of December 2020

These are great ideas for affording Christmas. I always enjoy making homemade gifts, I feel that they mean more than the expensive gifts.


Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Great ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of. Thank you so much for sharing.


Monday 7th of December 2020

Such great ideas for people who want to give gifts during these difficult times .


Friday 4th of December 2020

Such great ideas, thanks for sharing. Have a great Christmas!

Be sure to check out the SMART MOM RESOURCES page for more parenting hacks and tips!