You probably know that over-spending on Christmas gifts can lead to a can lead to a very Scroogy New Year. What might surprise you is how easily you can give big and spend little. Use these 25 budget holiday shopping tips and you'll countdown to Yuletide saving money and singing a merry tune!

KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie!)

Kids and even some adults develop an attitude of ingratitude very quickly. If you overdo it, they will expect even taller mountains of Christmas gifts next year. Teach appreciation giving simple, thoughtful, homemade gifts.

Merry Frugal Christmas

Save money and hassle scaling down holiday decorations, Christmas cards, etc. Tell family you're doing Christmas lite. Many people stress over gift giving and will appreciate your frugality. Decide how much you'll spend on holidays overall and divide it among gift recipients. When money is tighter, cut the amount spent per person.

Plan, plan, plan

Begin early and make Christmas shopping lists of items that people need or want. Watch prices and sales on these items.

No excuses

Don't apologize for your Christmas presents. You owe an explanation for why you couldn't or didn't get what they expected. Don't play the matching gift game. Give in love and spend what you can afford.

If others spend more, that is their choice. Don't match spending.

Ignore the marketing guilt trip

Merchandisers count on you feeling guilty and overspending. Don't.

Skip Christmas gift exchanges

If you don't know the person, you have no idea what to get them and usually end up trading gift cards. Host a white elephant type gift exchange.

Shop thrift stores and keep cost to $5.

Pay forward

Adopt a family, support a food bank, or do an Angel Tree in lieu of the office party gift exchange.

Coupon always

Check mail, newspapers, email, sales flyers, and magazines for coupons. Search Retail Me Not for online coupon codes. Bed Bath and Beyond always prints coupons in ads.

Ask in-store for coupons. Organize by store and keep in the car or purse.

Text alerts

Check for store coupons with text alerts or email submit. This author saved 25% at JC Penney and 20% at Charlotte Russe and 20% at Tanger Outlets with a smartphone.

Don't overlook unusual stores.

Hollister has awesome clearance prices. Menard's has a great toy section. Harbor Freight sells cheap tools which make great Giving Tree gifts for guys and gals. Dollar Tree has bargain stocking stuffers.

Save receipts

Request an adjustment or refund if you were not charged the sale price. Get all coupon savings. If you forget to use one, ask if you can have it applied. Keep the receipt for exchanges. Check receipts for coupons on the back as CVS and Walgreens offer.

Save money with store credit card

Earn rebates and coupon savings. If you can still get the perks, choose the store card over VISA or Mastercard option.

Choose credit card by reward value

Use the card that gives the highest reward points. TJ Maxx gives five points per dollar spent at HomeGoods and in-store.

Loyalty cards

Free store loyalty cards like Sears card's Shop Your Way and Meijer stores' mPerks save big.

Never pay to pay

Don't buy a membership like Barnes & Noble or Harbor Freight Inside Track Club as it costs more and doesn't always get you the best price. Avoid Costco and shopping clubs. Walmart has better deals and sells Sam's Club products for no extra fee.

Schedule shopping trips

Skip Black Friday and shop discount days and special savings events.

Best Buy and Staples have rewards shopping days. Note on your phone planner or calendar when sales begin and end. Set reminders.

Gas and dining

Clip restaurant coupons and use gas station loyalty cards to save on lunch and shopping.


Menards offers hefty rebate savings on items.

Comparison shopping apps

Use shopping apps like Swagbucks and Ibotta and Walmart Savings Catcher which pays you back on cheaper prices elsewhere.

Free shipping

Walmart rewards on ship-to-store items. Amazon offers comparison shopping and free super saver shipping even without Amazon Prime.


Go to the back of the store for clearance deals. Check daily specials online at Amazon, Overstock, and eBay.

Stack savings

Buy on sale, use a coupon, get cents off with a loyalty card and rewards for a future purchase.


Shop exchange stores like Game Stop and thrift stores like Goodwill.

Discount stores

TJ Maxx sells brand items like Steve Madden, Columbia and Kuhn Rikon much cheaper.

Make money multitask

Use credit card rebate points to buy gift cards on sale and give them as gifts. Pay off the full balance monthly to avoid late fees and interest and get rewards.