Friday, December 30

Low-Cost Christmas 2011

I know I've said several times through the summer that I picked up great Christmas gifts on the cheap by garage sale hunting, and now that Christmas is past and I won't ruin any surprises, I can share the gifts with you!

I know the idea of yard-sale gifts for Christmas doesn't sit well with some, but I think Michelle Duggar says it best with the motto "Buy used, save the difference!" We embraced this philosophy this Christmas as much as possible by buying gifts used, or making them ourselves. And you know what? Our families got WAY better gifts that way. We had a very small budget this year ($5 per person, we have a lot of people to buy for!) and instead of getting them one little cheapy gift from the store, we were able to get them much more! Here are a few of the gifts we picked up for the people on our list....

Gramps - two books (1), two belts (free with rebate!) Total $1

Grammy - Mexican Train game (3), kitchen shears set (1) Total $4

Papa - Camping dishes set Total $5

Auntie B - teapot & cups (1!!!!), two shirts (1.15) - Total $2.15!

Auntie B's Birthday - purse (2), two shirts (1.15) - Total $3.15

Auntie S - notebook (2) & a purse I made here (free) Total $2

Auntie S's Birthday - infinity scarf I made (3), 2 shirts (1.15) Total 4.15

 Auntie C - snowboard (1.50), notebook (2), shirts (1.50) Total $5

Auntie M - Origami set (5), shirts (1.50) Total $6.50 (oops)

Aunties J & I - Furry Frenzies set (5), Hotel for Dogs DS game (5 not pictured) Total $10

Baby B - Dino shirt & jacket (1), sock monkey (5 new), monsters I made here (free), a new spaceship shirt (5) Total $11

Here are the clothes I distributed to my sisters. The 8 in the top pic were $5 total, the six in the bottom pic were $0.75 total.

And now I'll spill the beans on the things we got new. You always wanted to know all my secrets. We found a new store called Five Below where everything is under $5, so we did the rest of our shopping there to keep within our budget. That's our secret. :) So we were able to get gifts like these for under $5 each....

I also made some of our gifts to save some $$$. I only made a few things this year for two reasons. 1- I found most of my gifts so cheap by shopping yard sales that I ended up with better deals than if I made things. 2- it's just hard to get things done with a baby in the house! :) But here are the few things I did manage to make:

An infinity scarf. I based it on a few tutorials but changed things a little to find a way that I thought was easier. I'm working on some more and I'll be putting together a tutorial when I do. I spent $3 on this project. P.S. I'm really wishing I'd bought more of this fabric!

 Little crochet monsters. I made some for Baby B & his friends, you can read all about them here. I used yarns I had purchased in a big box at a yard sale this summer for $4. It didn't take much yarn to make each monster.

I made some more earrings to tuck in with gifts . You can read about them here or buy some in our etsy shop. These are great because they can be made with the tiniest left over scraps of fabric.

These are travel size shopping bags. They roll up small to fit in your purse and then you can pull them out when you need a shopping bag (tutorial here). Now I want to make one for myself! It takes less than 1 yard of fabric to make a bag, and I was able to use mostly scraps and leftovers to make mine.

A few final ways I saved were by shopping sales and using coupons and rebates. I used a Menards rebate sale to get my dad belts for free, and a set of shears for myself for $0.99. I also used a coupon plus sale at Michael's to get some super cheap vases to add to a few gifts. 

So those are the secrets of how we stayed within our budget while Christmas shopping. Did you save money buy making gifts or buying used this year? 


  1. I failed miserably at saving money and giving nice gifts this Christmas. Some of our adult kids and teen/young adult grandkids got gift cards. I KNOW--no fun, no imagination, no $ saved. A dear friend of mine, however, made beautiful no-sew blankets with fleece remnants and some absolutely amazing scarves out of two fleece blankets from Big Lots.

  2. We made soap!
    It was super fun and easy. Everyone's on such a tight budget this year. It's great to see a breakdown of what you got.


  3. No shame, Rhetta! Gift cards are great gifts! :)
    Kacie, that is a wonderful idea. I saw something like that on pinterest and thought it looked interesting. Now I pinned yours so I can give it a try!