5 tips to avoid overspending this Christmas

Christmas is one of those times of year that we normally throw caution to the wind and just blow our budget regardless of the consequences.

At Christmas we end up spending money on things that we don’t need (or others don’t need) more than any other time of the year. And the sad reality is that many will go into debt to accomplish this.

5 practical tips to avoid overspending this Christmas

1. Set up your Christmas budget early.

Often we don’t even think about the Christmas spending that we’ll do until November or December rolls around. When it does we quickly realize that we haven’t saved enough to buy the gifts that we wanted to give. Add a “Christmas gifts” line item to your family budget, and save for it in small increments, all year long!

2. Do your research.

When you’re searching for that perfect gift, make sure that you do your research and find the best deal on that item. Find out the best time to buy and buy it before the price goes back up!

3. Be creative with your gift giving.

Instead of giving someone a $100 gift, be creative and find a way to give them a nice $25 gift instead. Make them something handmade (like a themed gift basket or cookies), cook them dinner, etc.

4. Make a plan and stick to it.

Make a Christmas spending plan, and stick to it. If you had planned on spending $50 on your spouse, stick to it. Don’t decide at the last-minute that you would really like to get them that iPod they wanted, or that new Diamond ring. Stick to the plan!

5. For extended families, draw names from a hat.

To cut down on expenses for your extended family choose names from a hat. That way you only have to buy a gift for one member of the extended family, instead of 10-20. If you want to, you can also set a dollar limit in order to make sure no one spends too much.

What other tips would you suggest for not overspending this Christmas?


  • Good tips. We have to be intentional about our giving and spending and this is great advice. Thanks Kevin!

  • Helpful list Kevin … I’d also like to suggest “research” into what would be a meaningful gift. Too often our gift giving becomes name on a list and we rush to get them checked off. Showing that we care about someone enought to know what matters to them is a gift in itself.

  • alicia says:

    Wonderful tips; it is so refreshing to know that there is a plan we can stick to and reduce Christmas expenses. One thing I have done for the last couple of years is find out exactly what the family member wants (of course that I can afford it), that way the gift does not end stored in a closet. To be discrete I ask another family member or a friend to find this information for me way in advance.

  • Lynda Cromar says:

    I love this one:
    2. Do your research.
    When you’re searching for that perfect gift, make sure that you do your research and find the best deal on that item. Find out the best time to buy and buy it before the price goes back up!

    I have not planned ahead so I am going to take all of your tips and apply them for future Christmas.

    Now I didn’t see you specifically talk about investigating the prices on the internet, but that is really a great resource for me. Often I can find a much better item and price there, than in my local stores even though I live in a big metro area of Denver.

  • Dan Black says:

    Great pointers. I want to have more money at the end of the year then I did at the beginning of Christmas. This is why my wife and I have made a Christmas gift budget.

  • Rochelle says:

    Great tips. Thank you. I think the last tip is the best, its a great idea. I usually end up spending sooo much money on people I see once a year 🙂 Will definitely keep this in mind for next year unfortunately. I do my christmas shopping VERY early.

  • Steve Vernon says:

    Great tips, Kevin. I think the most important thing we can do, however, is simply slow down and think about the fact that this season is not what all the commercials and TV and shows modern society want us to think it’s about. It’s the time of year when nature itself slows down and takes care of itself in unseen ways on the inside, and rejuvenating itself for new growth in the spring. It’s a perfect time for us to do the same ourselves. As always, we should give because we truly care, give to those to whom we really want to give, and give within our means, not because society wants us to believe we’re “supposed to”.

  • Steve-Personal Success Factors says:

    I love the idea of drawing names from the hat. In fact, I’m going to make sure we propose this for visiting extended family this Christmas. The challenge becomes deciding who Not to give gifts to: there are co-workers, customers, friends, family…the list goes on. Even inexpensive gifts can add up!

    • I think the challenge is getting people to understand that gifts do not equal love. Also, we have become a very entitled culture and that is a great challenge to overcome too.

      Thanks for sharing Steve!

  • Marsha S. Haneiph says:

    A very helpful article which I’ll share on my blog’s Facebook page. It’s so easy to go overboard for Christmas. I prefer to get my shopping done early and online. Also, check out clearance sales throughout the year and stock up on non-perishable presents like jewelry.

    Also, sending e-cards instead of greeting cards can save you some dollars. I make full use of my Hallmark subscription and get offers as well. Not bad for USD $9.99.

  • I’ve been back and forth in the past. Some years little, if anything, to purchase. Some years plenty of money and lots of ideas. Not usually too unreasonable in the options. However, b/c my husband’s income has been reduced by about half in the past 3 years, I’m extremely careful. So family will not receive anything cash-oriented; maybe a couple special dinners. Dave and I won’t purchase anything for each other. But if we can find time to hang out together for a day, watch a few of our favorite movies over a week, MAYBE go out to dinner… those are the special ones. Being very practical in ways my several g-kids might not understand or appreciate, but, they also need to learn that “life is life” and God is bigger than the department stores and credit cards.

  • olivia34newton says:

    just perfect! i just started listing names whom i’m planning to give Christmas presents to, next thing to do is follow your tips! thanks!

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