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The Frugal Christmas Gift Giving Guide

Adam Personal Finance Leave a Comment

If you’re anything like me, Christmas can be painful on the pocket book. I have my parents, grandparents, siblings and Caitlin has the same. Beyond that my parents have 10 SIBLINGS COMBINED and most have spouses and many have children. I would need to look, but I believe over the last few years our gift list has been in excess of 30 people. It’s INSANE!

Every year I’ve continued to push for some changes to the gift giving policy among adults and we’ve definitely made some big progress. What are the steps we’ve taken?

Skip the Gifts – Give to Charity

On my moms side, all the cousins and spouses this year moved from ALL giving gifts to just making a small collection for charity. We plan to rotate the charity annually. It let’s us do a bit of good on Christmas, rather than just consuming more, and saves quite a bit of money. Huge win for everybody.

Draw 1 Name – Not Buy for the Group

On my father’s side, with 18 aunts and uncles, grandparents, a dozen cousins and more, there’s just no way to do all those gifts. Instead we switched to drawing names. The adults draw 1 for 1 and the kids do the same.

Set Gift Dollar Limits

On both sides of my family we have rough limits on the price of a gift. We’ve basically all decided that something between $20 and $30 is the sweet spot for a decent gift without breaking the bank. Whatever works for your family, making sure expectations are clear can both save you money and prevent any hurt feelings or misunderstanding if someone disappoints or overdoes it with their purchase.

Go Homemade

People love homemade gifts if you actually make the effort and do it right. As you all know, we Garden, and frequently supplement our gifts with jars of pickles, loquat jams, chutneys and bbq sauce, and dried herbs. Oranges also ripen during December and it’s a great way to supplement a gift box.

Caitlin is also quite crafty and did handmade bath salts of various types, body scrubs, and other great girl gifts for pennies on the dollar compared to what Bed, Bath and Beyond charge. They’re a huge hit every year.

Utilize Deal Sites

If you’ve been following our Amazon deal site posts, you know I’ve become a huge fan of grabbing new quality products in exchange for a review. We’ve managed to fill our quota for iphone cords, usb outlets, external battery chargers and great small items like bbq shredders, oven mits, sunglasses, wine aerators, lemon juicer and more.

These sites can get repetitive so it’s gotten a lot harder to find things that we aren’t wasting money on, BUT they’re magic for gift giving. If you consider $20-30 a prime gift price, then things like Snagshout will work amazing because their prime items are in that price range but knocked down to something between $1.00-5.00.

We’ve picked up numerous great gifts, including bamboo cutting boards, 5 piece bbq set, drink making and mixing kit, and tons of other awesome housewarming or Christmas gifts. We’ve probably saved an average of 75% on these items.

Skip the Gifts Altogether

Caitlin and I take a lot of great vacations and when we really want something for our home (like our new Craigslist couches), we just go ahead and buy it. Rather than force ourselves to spend money on things we don’t need, we keep it to a couple of small, inexpensive items and save it for later.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope you have a great and frugal one, full of friends, family, laughter and love!


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