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How to Go Christmas Shopping with No Money

Budgeting for Christmas presents

These days, many stores have their Christmas decorations and toys out before Halloween wraps up. For many people, this signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. For low-income families, these holiday displays are depressing. They are constant reminders that they don’t have the money to afford Christmas presents for their kids.

Christmas shopping with no money can be a challenge, to say the least. When you have just a few bucks to make the holidays magical for your kids, how will you get your kids what they want? Start by thinking outside the box and using a lot of creativity. Here are some tips that can help you make this the best Christmas ever, regardless of your financial situation.

Communicate with Your Family

Let your family know what to expect this Christmas. Younger children likely won’t care that you have little money—they just like opening presents. On the other hand, teens are more likely to be disappointed that there won’t be a fancy new iPhone under the tree. Give them a job to do instead—but make it fun. Have them help you find ways to celebrate a low-cost Christmas.

Get Rid of Extras

Christmas shopping with no money means focusing on what’s important. Christmas incorporates so many aspects, from decorations to gift-giving to sending out Christmas cards. Get rid of anything non-essential. If it doesn’t elicit holiday magic for your family specifically, you don’t need it. Focus on things that will bring joy to your immediate family. Why waste money on Christmas cards that are just going to be thrown away? Instead, take a quick family picture with your phone and send out a digital card without spending a dime.

Focus on the PresentationChristmas presents wrapped nicely

For young kids, gift wrap is probably one of the most important elements. They like things that look pretty. So, stock up on the gift wrap, bows, and ribbons when it is on sale, and then wrap everything. Have a four-pack of toy cars? Open up the package and wrap each one individually. Your kids will be thrilled to have four presents instead of one.

The Little Things Matter

The electronics that cost hundreds of dollars aren’t going to matter in a few months. Instead, focus on small, inexpensive items. If you come across free or low-cost items over the year, save them for Christmas. Look for clearance items or shop garage sales and thrift stores. Even toothbrushes and bath items can make good stocking stuffers.

Make Your Presents

If you’re Christmas shopping with no money, you need to be creative. Are you the crafty type?
Then you may be able to make gifts for your kids. Make an outfit for your kid’s beloved stuffed animal. Make cookies and package them in a tin or basket. Make cards that allow your child to get out of doing a certain chore or coupons they can redeem throughout the year.

Regift and Reuse

For younger children, you can easily regift items from around the house. Is there anything your child hasn’t played with much that you can rewrap and regift? Maybe there are some toys they never even opened from their last birthday or the previous Christmas. Perhaps an older sibling has an old toy that is gently used.


When it comes to younger kids, you can’t go wrong with decorating everything. Search inside and outside the house to find items you can use, such as candles, pine cones, and leaves. If you don’t have many items to use, enlist the help of friends and family and see if you can borrow any of their decorations. If you have a printer, there are many free printables online that you can use. Your kids can have fun coloring them, and you can display them around the house. Making paper snowflakes is always fun, and they can be displayed all winter—and only require white paper and scissors to make!

Ramp Up the EntertainmentFamily watching Christmas movies

Bring the Christmas spirit to your home with different types of entertainment. Use YouTube or a free app to play Christmas songs. Watch Christmas movies every night. You may already have some in your collection, or you can view some on Netflix or YouTube. You can even check out Christmas movies or books from your local library.

Have Christmas Later

You can save a lot of money by taking advantage of last-minute deals and after-Christmas sales. While that may mean that you won’t have presents for your kids on December 25, does it really matter if you have Christmas on December 30 instead? Christmas is just a date on the calendar. Think outside the box and celebrate it whenever it’s convenient.

Learn More with Power Finance Texas

These tips can help you survive the holidays if you’re Christmas shopping with no money. However, despite all these tips, your child may still desire a coveted toy for Christmas. These budgeting tips can guide you as you learn to save money, but you may still need some financial assistance. Power Finance Texas offers cash advance loans and other financial services to help you if you’re in a financial bind.