How to Stretch Your Christmas Budget and Fully Enjoy the Holidays

With the holidays swiftly approaching, it’s time to think about how we are going to afford them and still enjoy them. I know that if everything were left to our children’s devices, they would blow every last cent on Christmas gifts. Luckily for us, it’s not up to them! Throughout the years we have learned a few tips and tricks to make the holidays a little less painful for us, monetarily at least. So, here are some of the best ways we have found to stretch your Christmas budget to the max.

Family Gift

One of the biggest ways we have found to really stretch our Christmas budget is by purchasing a larger family gift. As a family of 7, Christmas presents can potentially get really expensive. But, by reducing the number of gifts we choose to give, we can save some money.

Instead of budgeting $50 – $60 per child, we can reduce the maximum we are willing to spend to $30 for each child. We tell them that they each get one gift up to the $30 cap, so they know where the limit is when they are making their lists.

All of the remaining money we would have budgeted will go towards a family gift for all of us to enjoy instead. And my goal is usually to find something that will come in under what we would have spent. If we budget the same amount for my spouse and I, and throw that into the pot, then we are looking for something under $270. This is assuming we are using the $60 number for each person, of course.

I can easily find some great family gift ideas that come in well under that budget!

Here are some of my favorite family gift options:

    • Museum membership with passport plan (ASTC if you like Science and Technology centers or AZA if you prefer Aquariums and Zoos) – $85 – $140 depending upon the museum
    • Game tables (such as ping pong, pool or Foosball) – I’ve found some as low as $75, in good shape
    • Board games – vary widely in price
    • Mini-vacation using Trusted Housesitters – Could easily be only $100 – $200, depending upon where we go and for how long
    • US National Parks Pass – $80
    • Groupon adventures – Prices vary, but this is a great way to check out new things in your area as a family for a reduced cost. Plus, they are almost always running discounts during the holidays, for an extra added bonus!
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Trading your old stuff for different stuff, at no cost, is just like purchasing new things. We like to do this with our kids stuff, as well as our own. While there are many ways you can trade your stuff, the ultimate goal is to not spend anything with this method. Which will ultimately really save your Christmas budget!


One of my new favorite ways to trade clothes and shoes is through the Poshmark app. While they charge a fee, the shipping is included, so you don’t have to worry about paying for that. They only take name brand clothing, shoes and accessories though. So this option will only work if you’ve got some of that lying around.

Since our kids outgrow things so fast or decide they don’t like something anymore, this option has been great. We can sell their stuff on the app and then retain the money in our Poshmark account to use on other items that are new to our kids. And we didn’t have to spend a dime!

Amazon Trade-in

Another option is the Amazon Trade-in program. We use this program every year around this time to get rid of old electronics, primarily, that the kids aren’t using anymore. While they don’t pay top dollar for the items, we don’t have to pay shipping and the money can be directly deposited into our Amazon account. This way we have it available to use for other items we may be purchasing for the holidays and don’t have to spend any of our own money.

Consignment Stores

There are a ton of consignment stores popping up all over the place these days. And a lot of them have more of the boutique clothing at severely reduced costs. While this is another option that doesn’t give a ton of money towards the items that you are selling them, a lot of them will give you a higher amount if you take a store credit as opposed to cash. I like this option the best, whenever it is offered. That way we can keep an eye out for things the kids, or we, want and purchase them with our credit. Once again, we haven’t spent any money from our Christmas budget, so we are just saving money here!


Another one of my favorite ways to stretch my Christmas budget is with gift cards. Sometimes we just ask for them from friends or family, which helps. But, ultimately, one of the best ways to get them is by taking surveys. There are a lot of surveys that will give you money towards a gift card for each survey you fill out. Some of these surveys don’t take too long to answer either.

So if you are a person who loves to be on the computer and likes to answer surveys, this might be another great way for you to stretch your Christmas budget.

While there are quite a few survey sites out there, not all of them are created equally. Some of the best ones we have found, with the highest rate of return, are:

Stretch Your Christmas Budget

Overall, there are a lot of ways to stretch your Christmas budget to the max. But, you just have to find what works best for you, your family, and your financial situation.

Some of our favorite ways are to:

  • Buy family gifts
  • Trade-in old stuff for new stuff
  • Use gift cards by taking surveys

Hopefully, at least one of these tips will work for you to help stretch your budget and increase your holiday enjoyment.

What are some of the best ways you have found to stretch your Christmas budget?