Christmas Shopping Without Going Broke

Today I did something incredibly brave. I took my 1.5-year-old to Toys “R” Us and let her walk around. I am pretty sure she pulled half the toys off the shelf. She especially went nuts in the Minnie and Disney Princess aisle.

Pre-child me would have scoffed at mom me and say, “My kids will not be obsessed with a corporation. And Disney princesses are terrible role models.”

HA! Pre-child me was pretentious and silly. But for real, all this stuff COST SO MUCH. I know she is super excited about it, which makes me excited, but does my toddler really NEED a $50 talking Minnie Mouse cash register?Probably not.

A.C. intensely studying the Toys R Us Christmas catalog

There are two extremes when it comes to Christmas presents. One is to Black Friday it up, put stuff on layaway and go into a little bit (or a lot) of debt doing Christmas.

The other is to spend $12 on yarn to knit crooked beanies for everyone, and wrap up used books you get for $0.10 at a yard sale.

I think there is a happy medium. So here are some real life tips that I am currently doing to have a fun, abundant Christmas without spending too much money, or spending hours Hobby Lobby only to burn my fingers with the glue gun and create a Pinterest-fail monster.

Stalk Local Yard Sale Facebook Groups

I love being a part of local Buy/Sell/Trade groups. Not only is way more visually appealing and less sketchy than Craigslist, but you can ask questions directly, join conversations and easily directly message someone if you want to buy their crap. Plus, everyone is on Facebook.

I was recently scrolling through a local group on my phone while I was waiting for my husband to finish a meeting. I found a FurReal Puppy, still in the box for only $6 (They retail for $25) that was just 10 minutes up the road from where I was. Score.

I’ve bought and sold plenty of stuff on Craigslist, but again, for some reason there tends to be more used stuff there. And sketchy people. Obviously, be wise and stuff. Meet in a public place. Don’t give them cash without looking at the item first.

Give An Experience

A great Christmas gift for your significant other could be a night away somewhere together, or a day at a local spa/masseuse. (Hint, hint!) But that can get expensive. Look on sites like Groupon, Living Social or Travelzoo for deep discounts.

I am not gonna lie, I am completely addicted to Groupon. I am pretty sure at least 75% of the new restaurants we try or the new things we do are because of this lovely company. I am not ashamed to use them for date nights with my husband.

I check the app at least every other day to see if they have flash sales. Often they will have up to 25% off any local deal and you can save even more money. 

Make sure to do some homework and read reviews before buying the Groupon. If you’re too slow and miss the deal, sometimes businesses will honor the Groupon price if you call them and ask.

Earn Gift Cards

I’ve tried a bunch of different rebate and survey apps, but the only one that I’ve really stuck with is Shopkick. I love Shopkick because I am lazy and I really don’t have to do anything. Whenever I go near a store where I can get points, (think Target, Walmart, JC Penny, Best Buy and more.) I will get a push notification on my phone saying if I walk in I can get points.

Depending on the day, you can also get points for scanning the bar codes of certain products in those store. You don’t even have to buy anything! Sometimes I walk around a mall or shopping center with my daughter just collecting points. It takes a bit for them to add up, but if you’re out anyways it goes by quick.


Once you have a certain amount you can turn them in instantly for gift cards. It’s fast and legit. So far I’ve earned $62 in Target gift cards, which is basically gold currency. (By the way, if you sign up through this link I will get points!)

Make Some Side Money 

It may be super hectic the next few weeks, but it’s possible to make some extra money without getting a seasonal job. One of my favorite side jobs is Mystery Shopping which I talk about here. I have a couple coming up this week that will take about 30 minutes of my time, give me free gas and Chinese food and make me about $13 richer. Hey, every little bit counts!

What are you doing to save on your Christmas shopping this year?



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