How can you do Christmas gifts on a budget?
Spending thousands on gifts might not be in the budget, you might not be creative, crafty or even have the time to make gifts, so what can you do? Here is a list of gift ideas that you can either buy with a discount or are quick and simple to make. This post does contain some affiliate links for products and services I use. Read my full disclosure here.
Gifts to buy
Before you even start shopping, register for the cash back programs. My favourite is Cash Rewards where I get money back from shopping including Woolworths, eBay, travel, the Ecosa mattresses I bought for my daughters and so much more. You sign up, download the app and add the button to Chrome, then whenever you’re shopping it will pop up to tell you how much cash you can get back. Click to activate the offer then shop away.
Next, make sure you are signed up to all the reward programs for everywhere you’re shopping to take advantage of getting points, freebies etc. Check out our list here.
Also, plan your shopping. If you’re great with a credit card and have a budget, maximise your reward points with it this time of year. ONLY do this if you’ll be able to pay it off. You do not want to end up with a huge debt after Christmas you can’t afford to pay off. Set your budget for gifts and stick to it.
I’m a huge advocate for experience-based gifts because we all have so much stuff and time with my daughters is important to me. Last year for someone’s birthday I got a bunch of experiences through Groupon including a float tank voucher, escape room experience and similar things for $20 to $30 per experience! They were stoked and it was well within my budget.
Other options include Adrenaline who regularly have big discounts e.g. up to 67% off experiences including hot air balloons, diving and other adventure activities. Not typically ‘frugal’ as such but in my family we’ve joined together at times so everyone pays $20 to $50 and we get one big experience voucher for our parents. E.g Skydiving and a hot lap for Dad (two different times) and Celine Dion tickets for Mum. Also, Adrenaline has cash back with Cash Rewards and other discounts on their site.
Gift boxes and subscriptions
Subscription boxes usually work out cheaper for items than buying them individually and many of the gift box or subscription box services can have great value. For example, Bellabox is a beauty one and whenever I had one or family did it was worth more than the price we paid.
Alternatively, pay for some meals using HelloFresh (get $35 off here), Marley Spoon (get $35 off here) or Dinnerly (get $10 off your first 3 boxes here.) Just be sure to pause or cancel when you no longer want to pay.
4. Wine, Beer, Cocktails etc
Other Gift Bargains
I’m a tea drinker so this is one I love. T2 has a selection of teas which are divine and often have great discounts. Plus if you join their loyalty program you get 10% off your first purchase.
Book Depository is my favourite place to get books because it has been the cheapest for every book, sometimes half the price of Dymocks! Check out my favourite books here. I have gifted my favourite books at times and they have become favourites of others.
This is something I love getting and have received 3 beautiful fragrances in the last year. Fresh Fragrances offers great prices and a wide selection plus usually have big discounts.
8. Practical items
I love things I wanted to buy but haven’t or that will save me money in the long term. This year I created a Google Doc for my parents and I to use with lists for my daughters and I. Having what we wanted listed (and my wants are usually practical) makes it easy.
Some gifts I know others have loved which are practical include:
Anything for the home (especially if they are starting out) e.g. small appliances from The Good Guys, bedding from Adairs (especially their sales section), makeup or skincare from Sephora or gift cards to pretty much anywhere.
9. Craft pack
My kids love doing all sorts of crafts. Collect various items such as paints, glitter, stickers etc and put them all in a big shoe box (you can ask shoe stores if they have spares) and decorate it. Many craft items can be bought cheaply at cheap shops or even op shops.
10. Photo gifts
My parents asked for a usb with photos of my kids and I because I am hopeless at printing or sending pics. Canvas Champ are great for making a variety of photo-related gifts. Another option is to put photos on wood which my Mum did one year and my kids have them hanging in their room.
Gifts which are homemade can be extremely lovely and thoughtful. They don’t all need to take a long time to make either. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Food gifts are often the easiest for people to do. You can be as simple or as fancy as you like.
11. Baked goods
Brownies, cake, biscuits, breads, scones, slices or any other baked good goes down well. Make a basket of treats or do a few things on a plate. If you bake a few options you can easily get a few presents out of an afternoon of baking.
12. No cook food gifts
Recipes in a jar can be anything from a slice and cookie through to spiced rice, curry and other mixes. Create herb mixes from your own garden if you have them or dry chillies.
13. Jams and sauces
Jam is easy to make in the microwave if you want to. Alternatively, lemon curd, fruit sauces and similar are all popular and don’t take long to make. I have some recipes in 26 Ingredients for some such as lemon curd and lemon cordial.
Non-food DIY gifts
Whether you’re crafty or not, there are things you can make with a little effort which are affordable.
14. Body products
Bath bombs, body scrubs, bath salts and other body products are easy to make, often with things you have in your pantry. Used coffee grounds mixed with oil and sugar can make the best body scrub. Do a quick search for some recipes for gifts, package them in jars and you can have a lovely gift for less than a beauty hamper in the shops.
15. Make cushions
With loads of tutorials online you can make your own jewellery with a few tools. Beads, wires and crystals, gemstones or leather are all popular options.
17. Coupon book
As lame as it sounds to some, creating a gift card or coupon book to be redeemed for different things can be really appreciated. My kids did it one year for me and yes, they followed through with the coupons they made. Plus as an added bonus, they still do some of those things years later just because they enjoyed them. (We are creating a 2020 Big Book Of Discounts for $4.95 which you can order here. Not quite the same but a great option).