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The How-To Lounge: Celebrating Christmas on a Budget

In this special How-To Lounge, I am going to give Saving Up Sandie some tips on how to have a wonderful Christmas on a budget. I am sure many of you have questions similar to hers so check out my advice below.

Hi Dear Sugar! My live-in boyfriend and I are pretty broke this year and can't afford to buy lots of presents for each other, but we want to make the holidays, well, feel like the holidays. Do you have any suggestions on how to make Christmas special on a budget? — Saving Up Sandie

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  • Instead of getting a big tree that costs a lot of money, opt for a miniature version and buy pine-scented candles to make your home still smell festive and alive.
  • Instead of buying extravagant gifts for each other, write one another a card. Sometimes it's the card attached to the gift that's the most meaningful anyway.
  • Since it's always fun to open something on Christmas, set a small dollar amount that neither one of you can go over and get creative! You don't need to spend a lot of money to give a good gift.
  • Instead of going out for Christmas dinner, buy a bottle of wine and cook dinner at home.
  • Invite family and friends over to celebrate with you — this holiday is really just about being together.
  • The holidays are all about spreading cheer so perhaps you and your boyfriend could volunteer on Christmas day, and give back to your community. Not only will you feel good about yourself, but bringing a smile to someone else is the greatest gift of all.

I hope these tips help and if you have any additional ones you'd like to share, please do so in the comments below.


Join The Conversation
Jinx Jinx 9 years
Who goes out for Christmas dinner? Although it could be cheaper, Cooking at home for company can add up.
ReverendZelda ReverendZelda 9 years
My husband took me out Saturday night and showed me a bunch of houses that were all light up for Christmas. That was one of the sweetest presents he ever could've given me.
yes-jess yes-jess 9 years
oh, definitely dewzi, I decorated our bedroom/living room (we like to sleep in the living room even though we do have an actual bedroom) as a surprise for my boyfriend last December by just stringing lights around the room. He liked it so much, he did it again last night. We have 3 cats and a tree just wouldn't be a good idea, especially with one that likes to jump on high cabinets from a running start.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
Ash, that is SUCH a great idea. i think i'll do that this year since i am soooo broke.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Yea, i just bought cards and worte something nice in them for about 25 people and sent them all out and everyone actally really liked them! And altogetehr with the cards and stamps it was around $40. Then for people who are having people over for Christmas/New Years I made a WHOLE LOT of cookies so I can make up a cute plate and bring them over :) So smart!
kurniakasih kurniakasih 9 years
Lovely ideas!
dewzi dewzi 9 years
Christmas lights! I've found some as cheap as $3-6 a string. I put them up in a bunch of places, and along with some handmade decorations and homemade xmas cookies, voila Christmas!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
This is the first year my hubby and i have been even able to afford christmas gifts for eachother, but we still arent going to do it. instead we are carrying on the tradition of "broke" years past, because its so much more meaning ful. we make ornaments, out of dough, or buy the glass ones and paint them (under 20 bucks and you get alot). We also made our own "coupon" books for *get out of making/serving/cleaning dinner free cards* or *one foot massage* or in his case *naked night* where i had to be naked all night long! christmas is in the spirit of giving, not the amount spent.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great tips!
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 9 years
You could write letters to the people who mean the most to you on special paper, or on paper you've made yourself, and go to a craft store or a dollar store and pick out frames to put them in and decorate the frames with things that are relevant to that person...wouldn't cost much depending on how many people you're intending to do it for and would be something they could treasure for a lifetime
7kimba7 7kimba7 9 years
If you usually buy for a lot of friends, you could either do a secret santa or all just go out to dinner. You only pay for yourself, so $20 or so bucks is cheaper than a gift for 5 friends!
SummerBaby SummerBaby 9 years
awe thank you!! this is totally me this year!!.. going on a snowboarding trip, so christmas is going to be tight
spiceG spiceG 9 years
thx. this christmas is the most broke I have ever been (and the first away from my family). it was been a bit of a downer, but I bounced back by spending time doing little drawings and paintings for everyone. i had most of the supplies already and spent only the money to wrap them. it really is just about time with friends and family, so find something you have around the house and work with it.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Awww Dear, those are great tips!
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