Need Money for Christmas? Start Saving Early

I know what you are thinking.  Why are we talking about Christmas in the Summer?  I promise, I’m not trying to rush things along.  I like Summer as much as the next person (even if I am counting down the days until I can drink all those delicious Fall pumpkin lattes) .  However, when you need money for Christmas, the last thing you want to do is wait till it’s almost here to figure out how to pay for it.

need money for christmas

Our family has a frugal Christmas budget, but I start saving for it and preparing for the upcoming holidays long before they arrive.  I know that if I don’t plan for how we will pay for the holiday season well in advance, it will cause financial hardship for us.  I don’t want to be in a panic in December because I need money for Christmas but just don’t know how to get it.

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, right?  It won’t feel so wonderful if you are paying for it well into the new year.  Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t allow Christmas to throw you into debt. There are so many ways to save for Christmas that will ease the financial burden when December comes around.  Don’t fall into the 42% of people who expect to go into debt because of Christmas gifts every year.


This is why we need to be thinking about it in the Summer.  It’s August here, but I’ve been around long enough to know that the months will fly by and we will be in full swing of the holidays before we know it.

The festive season is a great time of year filled with joy, togetherness, and the spirit of giving. However, it can also bring its fair share of financial stress, especially if you’re unprepared. That’s why starting to save early for Christmas is not just a good idea – it’s one of the best ways to ensure you have the extra cash you need for Christmas gifts, decorations, and holiday expenses.

The Importance of an Early Start

The best time to start saving for Christmas is long before the holiday season arrives. Waiting until the last minute can lead to reliance on credit cards, high-interest loans, or dipping into your regular savings account. Instead, consider these excellent ways to build up your Christmas budget early:

christmas gifts


Start setting aside money from each paycheck into a separate account just for the holidays.  I started this months ago, but you can start it as soon as it works for you.  If you start in the Summer it will relieve some of the financial burden.  It doesn’t have to be a large amount.  

There are many times I put away only $5-10 dollars from a paycheck.  If you do that all year it will add up.   If you started putting only $5 in an account from every paycheck from January 1st throughout the whole year, you could have $250 dollars by Christmas.  

If you put $10 starting this week until Christmas(we are in the middle of August right now) from every paycheck, you could have $190 extra dollars to use at Christmas.

And, of course, if you were able to and wanted to put more away each check, that would give you more of a cushion.

Opening a separate savings account specifically for Christmas money is a great option. Many banks offer accounts with higher interest rates, which can help your money grow over time. By allocating a portion of your income to this account throughout the year, you’ll be well-prepared when the holidays approach.

Start shopping earlier in the year

Don’t buy Christmas gifts all at once in December.   If you start shopping for Christmas earlier in the year,  not only do you spread out the cost over many months, but you are more likely to be able to buy something while it is on sale if you watch and wait to see if there is a price drop.

Pick up a side gig to save extra money for Christmas

You could find some kind of job that didn’t require a lot of hours but earned you extra money to put into a separate account for Christmas. Earning extra income is a fantastic way to boost your Christmas savings. Consider taking on a side hustle, like virtual assistant work, dog walking, or graphic design, during your free time. These odd jobs can provide you with a little extra money to set aside for the festive season. 

Check out my post on 10 Legitimate ways to Make Money Online or 17 Side Hustles to find something that fits your lifestyle.  Even something as small as mystery shopping or getting paid to take surveys online could get you the few hundred dollars you may need to get you through the holidays without a financial strain.

You can also  consider seasonal work.  As the holidays approach, there’s a high demand for temporary workers in retail stores, grocery stores, and restaurants. Picking up a part-time job during the holiday shopping season can be an excellent opportunity to earn extra income for Christmas gifts.

Sell your used items for Christmas money 

We all need to de-clutter our homes at times throughout the year.  Why not make some cash from it to put away for Christmas?  It’s true what they say, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”  Here is a list of 10 things to sell to make money for ideas to get you started.

If making gifts, buy supplies gradually through the year

Homemade gifts CAN be cheaper, but sometimes they can still cost a lot to make.  Buying the supplies all at once can put a dent in your bank account.  Years ago I made my boys rag quilts for their beds for Christmas.  However, I couldn’t afford the fabric all at once, so starting in the Summertime every few weeks I’d buy 2 yards of fabric.  I needed 12 yards in total so I had to do this six different times, but it made it possible for me to be able to make the boys some warm quilts without charging the credit card.

Participate in Christmas Assistance programs

If you’re facing financial hardship, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from local community organizations or programs like the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. These initiatives are designed to provide help to low-income families during the Christmas season, ensuring everyone can enjoy the holidays.

Get Creative with Christmas Shopping

Exploring thrift stores, using free gift cards, and finding specific items at lower interest rates can also help you save money on Christmas gifts and decorations. Get creative and consider alternative ways to make your budget go further.


pretty gift wrapping for Christmas

How much to Spend on Christmas Gifts Per Person

The holiday season is a time of giving and sharing, and one question that often arises is, “How much should I spend on Christmas gifts per person?” It’s a valid concern because overspending can lead to financial stress, while underspending might make you feel like you’re not giving enough. Striking the right balance is key to a joyful and financially responsible holiday season.  You don’t want to get in over your head and be in debt after Christmas because you overspent on gifts for everyone.

Consider Your Budget

Before diving into specific spending amounts, it’s essential to assess your overall holiday budget. Take an honest look at your finances and determine how much you can comfortably allocate to gifts without compromising your financial well-being. Your budget should include not only gifts but also other holiday expenses like decorations, travel, and special meals.

Personalize Your Approach

The ideal amount to spend on Christmas gifts per person can vary widely depending on your individual circumstances and the people you’re buying for. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Relationship: The closeness of your relationship with the recipient plays a significant role. You may want to spend more on immediate family members and close friends, while a thoughtful, smaller gift may suffice for acquaintances or colleagues.

2. Recipient’s Preferences: Think about the recipient’s interests and preferences. A well-thought-out, meaningful gift can often mean more than an expensive one.

3. Your Financial Situation: Your financial situation is unique to you. What’s considered an appropriate amount to spend on gifts should align with your financial goals and circumstances. Never feel pressured to overspend.

4. Homemade or DIY Gifts: Handmade or DIY gifts can be a fantastic way to save money while showing thought and effort. They often hold sentimental value, making them a great choice for close family and friends.

Guidelines for Gift Spending

While there are no hard and fast rules for how much to spend on Christmas gifts, here are some general guidelines that can help you find the right balance:

1. Set a Spending Limit: Determine an overall spending limit for your holiday gifts based on your budget. Divide this total among the people on your gift list to get an idea of what you can spend per person.

2. Be Mindful of Your List: Make a list of everyone you plan to buy gifts for and assign a spending limit to each person. This can help you stay on track and avoid overspending.

3. Shop Smart: Look for sales, discounts, and special offers to maximize your budget. Consider shopping throughout the year to take advantage of deals and avoid the last-minute rush.

4. Focus on Meaning, Not Price: Remember that the thought and effort you put into selecting a meaningful gift often matter more than its price tag. A heartfelt handwritten note or a thoughtful gesture can make a gift memorable.

In the end, the amount you spend on Christmas gifts should align with your values and financial goals. It’s about celebrating the spirit of giving without sacrificing your financial well-being. By setting a budget, personalizing your approach, and prioritizing thoughtful gestures, you can find the right balance and make the holiday season enjoyable for both you and your loved ones.

christmas bulb


There are so many ways to save for Christmas, but the other question to think about is how MUCH to save for Christmas?  While I can’t tell you what the right budget is for your family, I can say that we’ve discovered in our home that less is more when it comes to gifts.

The first few years of our children’s lives we never really had a clear plan of how we wanted Christmas to look like.  We quickly discovered that other family members really enjoyed blessing our kids with gifts.  The pile of gifts we gave them on top of that started to overwhelm our young kids. Christmas became a stressful time at our house.  I started to wonder if we needed to cut back what we put under our tree for the kids to open on Christmas morning.

Then, one year I had heard of how some people did Christmas in a way that really made sense to me.  They gave their children “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.” Maybe you’ve heard of that.  Maybe you do that for your own children.

I loved the idea and decided to apply it to our children.  It was the best idea ever.  Not only did it keep our frugal Christmas budget in check, but we noticed our kids responded better to less gifts under the tree.  We made sure to keep the cost of each of the gifts down as well.

Now, before Christmas I often hear them excitedly discuss what they think they might get for each category. Before we implemented this strategy I would shop for them, tell myself I was done, but then see something I thought they would love and would end up buying it.  This would happen multiple times.  

Now once all the categories are filled, it doesn’t matter how much I think my child would love the thing I see on the shelf, I am done shopping for the season.  I remind myself how grateful and happy they will be to receive what we already bought for them, along with the gifts they will be blessed with from other family members.  Those reminders help keep my spending in check.

When we need money for Christmas, keeping the budget within reason in the first place goes a long way in helping us manage our money over the holidays.  Don’t let January hit with a huge credit card bill because you overspent on Christmas.  You can avoid this if you plan today and find various ways to save for Christmas long before the season is here, as well as keeping the Christmas within a reasonable budget.

By starting early and exploring various ways to save and earn extra income, you can ensure that you have the financial resources you need to enjoy the Christmas season without the stress of overspending. Remember, the best part of the holidays is the joy of giving and spending time with loved ones, and thoughtful, budget-friendly gifts can be just as meaningful as expensive ones.


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