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Christmas Shopping on a Budget

It’s easy to overspend when you shop for Christmas gifts for friends and family. You want to show them how much you care, but you also want to avoid consumer debt! In fact, even if your budget is tight for gifts, you can still find thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list. Here are our credit counseling tips for Christmas shopping on a budget, with $200 in this example:

To avoid debt, try ACCC's tips for Christmas shopping on a budget!

To avoid debt, try ACCC’s tips for Christmas shopping on a budget!

Christmas Shopping on a Budget – $200 or less

Let’s assume you have a holiday budget of $200 or less for Christmas gifts this year, and you have 10 people on your list. Your list might include your parents, siblings, grandparents, and a few friends. You know you have to stretch the $200 budget to get 10 gifts, so ideally you should spend no more than $20 per person. Here are a few gift ideas that are typically $20 or less:

  • Gift cards to Starbucks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
  • Books
  • Jewelry
  • Soaps/lotions/bath bomb sets
  • Games
  • Pajamas
  • Coffee mugs
  • Picture frames/photo albums
  • Hot chocolate/tea/coffee sampler
  • Candles
  • Agendas/calendars
  • Winter hat & scarf
  • Pop sockets/phone accessories
  • Fuzzy socks

Starting with immediate family, maybe your dad is a history book aficionado, so you find a $20 book that you think he’ll like. Jewelry is always a good gift for moms, so as long as you know your mom’s style, you can’t go wrong with a cute pair of earrings or a nice necklace! If your siblings are hard to shop for – and we all have a family member that’s impossible to shop for – gift cards might be the best way to go, so a $20 gift card for each of them to their favorite store or restaurant is a good option.

For grandparents, a good gift idea would be a picture frame or a photo album of the family. Older people aren’t always as active on social media, so they may not see all the photos of their family posts. A photo album is a personal gift, and a nice way to catch them up on what you’ve been doing the past year.

Lastly, you want to find a few affordable gifts for your friends. Maybe one of your friends is going back to school, so you get her a cute agenda so she can stay organized. Maybe another friend is always complaining that she’s cold, so fuzzy socks or a winter hat might be a nice gift.

Final Holiday Shopping Tips

Be on the lookout for sales and coupons, and try to check the price of items both at physical store locations and online. You can also try looking on Pinterest for DIY gift ideas too if you’re crafty! Just remember, gifts aren’t the most important part of the holiday season. Your friends and family won’t care how much you spent on their gifts. There’s no need to accumulate credit card debt over one holiday!

If you struggle to pay off debts, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today! 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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