Broke At Christmas? That’s alright, you can still have a magical Christmas even on a tight budget!
When you are broke at Christmas time, it sure doesn’t seem like the most wonderful time of the year.
Seeing people decorating their homes and joining in the holiday hustle of shopping for gifts can be stressful when you have no money.
It’s easy to get caught up in the pressures of the season.
That’s OK because you and your family can still enjoy Christmas on a tight budget.
Just remember, Hallmark Christmas movies paint an unrealistic picture of the perfect holiday.
When You Are Broke At Christmas You Can Still Find Joy In The Season By:
- Remembering what Christmas is all about.
- Learning some frugal tips to save money on your bills.
- Getting crafty and making homemade gifts and decorations.
- Getting a holiday hustle to make some extra money.
So if you are worried about providing your family with a good Christmas but you have no money, there is hope.
How To Afford Christmas When You Are Totally Broke
Budgeting tips for Christmas and how to celebrate the holidays for FREE when you have no money!
1. Have A Christmas Budget
With what little money you do have, set up a Christmas budget.
It will help you plan out your holiday spending. By writing everything down, you can see what you can afford and what you can cut from the budget.
Keeping a budget for everything is so important. You must keep track of all your holiday expenses!
Expenses to include in your Christmas Budget:
- travel costs
Write out every single expense and you can see what you can afford.
2. Start Saving For The Holidays ASAP
We all know that Christmas is on December 25 every single year, so there is no reason to not start saving for it early on.
I have found the easiest way to save for Christmas is by doing a savings challenge.
A savings challenge can easily trick you into saving money.
My favorite one is the Reverse Penny Challenge because you only have to save pennies a day and that can add up to almost $700 by the end of the year.
Another easy savings challenge is to save every single $5 dollar bill you come across.
So have an envelope or mason jar ready and every time you come across a $5 bill stash it away.
3. Dashing Through The Snow With A Side Hustle
The holiday season is the busiest time of the year, that is why so many companies hire seasonal help.
How would you like to be a Dasher?
Nope, not the reindeer, but a Door Dasher.
Delivering food with Door Dash is a great way to make fast cash during the holidays. You get paid hourly and you can keep all of your tips.
If delivering food doesn’t interest you, check out this list of over 50 side hustle ideas guaranteed to make $100 a day!
4. You Can Say “No” And Not Be A Grinch
When you don’t have any extra money around the holidays then speak up and don’t be afraid to say no.
Say no to gift exchanges, explain that it just isn’t in your Christmas budget, your friends and family will understand.
With the plethora of toy commercials and Christmas catalogs coming to your mailbox, kids will get excited and start asking for a multitude of gifts.
It is OK to say no and explain that most of those “it” toys are junk and wouldn’t be that useful anyway.
Explain to them the reason for the season.
5. Follow The 4 Gift Rule
It’s hard to not be able to buy your kids all the presents they want at Christmas time.
Trust me, when I say you are doing them a favor by not spoiling them with too many gifts.
The 4 Gift Rule means that you give your child only 4 presents: something they want, something they need, something to read, and something to wear.
Not only does it help out when you have a tight budget at Christmas, but it keeps kids from being entitled.
6. Sell Things You Don’t Need
One year when we had a very tight budget, I went through our garage and sold pretty much everything we weren’t using.
From exercise equipment to furniture, if we didn’t use it, I sold it!
Not only did it help declutter my home but I was able to make $1000 to add to our holiday budget.
If it is a tech item, sell it on Decluttr to make fast cash.
If it is something large, list it on Facebook Marketplace.
7. Check Out Free Holiday Festivities
One of the best things to do during the holiday season is driving around looking at Christmas lights.
It’s fun, it’s festive, and it’s FREE!
Make some hot chocolate and load the family in the car and make a night of it.
Do a quick Google search for free holiday events in your town like tree lightings, parades, and craft days at the library.
During the holiday season, you can still attend fun festivities without spending a penny!
It’s one of the best budgeting tips for Christmas when you have a tight budget!
8. Send Virtual Greetings
Many people still send Christmas cards with family pictures.
Yes, they are great, but they can really put a dent in your budget.
The nice holiday cards cost a couple of dollars apiece, then add in the cost of stamps and it adds up quickly.
This year, take a cute picture of your family and text it or email it to your loved ones with a holiday greeting.
You know no one keeps the cards after Christmas anyway, so you are doing everyone a favor and not adding to their “after holiday” clean up.
9. Get Cash Back On Holiday Gifts
If you are able to spend money on some holiday shopping, be smart with your purchases.
I use Rakuten every single time I make an online purchase. It has saved me so much money!
It is completely free and safe.
You can get up to 40% cashback on your purchases! I saved over $500 with them last year.
So make all of your Christmas purchases through Rakuten and get a $10 sign-up bonus just for signing up.
10. Use Free Gift Cards
If you start early enough, you can earn plenty of free gift cards by using some really cool money-making apps.
Check out this list of 7 ways to earn gift cards for watching videos, doing surveys, or just walking!
Last year, I was able to buy almost all of my family’s Christmas gifts with the gift cards I earned from doing surveys a couple of minutes a day!
As a bonus, you will get $10 just for signing up for Swagbucks!
11. Scan All Holiday Receipts
Another great way to save money on holiday shopping is by downloading the free app CoinOut.
It is a completely legit app that you may have seen on SharkTank.
It lets you earn cashback on all your purchases by just scanning every receipt you have with the app’s built-in scanner.
As of today, I have earned over $100 from just scanning my receipts.
12. How To Decorate For Christmas With No Money
The holiday decor fills the stores even before they have even sold out of Halloween candy!
From flocked trees to gigantic Santa inflatables, expensive Christmas decorations are hard on the budget.
Do you want to know how to decorate for Christmas with no money?
The answer is to simply be creative!
You can still decorate your home and it can look amazing, you will just have to DIY it!
When I was a kid, my family decorated our tree with natural ornaments like pine cones that we covered in glitter.
Make DIY ornaments for your tree and use natural elements like oranges to make a garland.
Think outside the box and use what you have!
Skip putting up lights on your house because they just raise your power bill.
Instead, opt for some battery operated candles to put on your windowsill.
They have them at the Dollar Tree, in fact, I think they even come in two-packs!
13. It’s OK To Ask For Help
Christmas is a time of peace, joy, and goodwill.
That means there are plenty of charities that can help you provide gifts for your children when you can’t afford it.
Check out these local charities that provide gifts to families in need:
- Toys For Tots
- The Salvation Army
- Local Churches
- United Way
- Samaritan’s Purse
14. Remember Presence Over Presents
I know when you are broke it can be really stressful, but remember the true meaning of Christmas.
It’s OK if you can’t afford presents.
Remember that Christmas is a time for family and loved ones to come together.
Don’t let the stress of not having enough money rob your joy this holiday season.
Spend quality time with the people you love.
Play games, sing Christmas carols, tell stories of your favorite memories.
Your family will remember the love you gave them and that’s all that matters!
How Do People Afford Christmas With A Tight Budget
I remember the most magical Christmas of my childhood.
We made all of our decorations from natural materials like pinecones and holly.
We made a little Christmas village to put in the window and used stretched out cotton balls as snow, and cardboard cut-outs as houses.
My family took a walk in the woods and cut down a small pine tree and we tied it to the top of our car and took it home to decorate.
My gifts included a beautiful porcelain doll, some mystery books, and a soft throw blanket my mom knitted for me.
My family spent so much time together creating crafts out of what we had and telling fun stories.
It was such a memorable Christmas for me!
My mother remembers it differently, she remembers that was the year we had no money at Christmas.
She couldn’t afford decorations, a tree, or even gifts.
The gifts like the doll and the books she was able to find at a local yardsale. They were used but in great condition and only cost a couple of dollars.
We still had a magical Christmas even though we were totally broke.
Christmas With No Money
So I hope now you have found out that you can still have a good Christmas with a tight budget.
Whether you use the money-saving tips for the holidays or decide to focus on just spending quality time with the people you love, you can make this a Christmas to remember.
You may remember it as the Christmas you were broke, but your family may remember it differently, just as I did.
Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays!
If you want to keep up with more life hacks to make and save money, sign up for the monthly newsletter!
When you sign up, you also get access to the FREE Resource library where you can find a savings tracker and more freebies to help you budget your money better.