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No Money For Christmas? Here’s What to do

No Money For Christmas? Here’s What to do

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This is how to have a good Christmas with no money

If the very thought of trying to afford Christmas brings you out in a cold sweat then don’t worry. This post will help you to spend as little money as possible.

We all know that saving for Christmas throughout the year is the best way to tackle it but that can be hard if you aren’t used to it.

Reducing your financial stress should be your number one goal every year. Being skint in January or even still paying off last Christmas isn’t ideal for anyone.

Please don’t think you need to spend money to have the perfect Christmas. you don’t! Having you around and engaged is the best gift your family could ask for. Spend time with your family. That’s the best gift of all.

When to start saving for Christmas?

Ideally, you want to be saving all year round for Christmas so that you come out with zero debt.

Start by planning how much you can actually afford. We do this by using our Christmas budget planner, which you can get free from our Resource Vault. You could also use a spreadsheet or even a pen and paper.

Markdown your incoming and outgoings. That way you will know quite quickly how much you can save.

If you are looking to cut your expenses as a large family then read Big Family Organised Chaos’s blog here for some great money saving tips.

If you know, deep down, that you are going to struggle to save money all year round then think about using a money-saving challenge. We use the 1p reverse challenge that means by the end of the year you’ll have over £600 saved up.

The first month of the money 1p challenge can feel brutal, but it gets easier every day to start saving.

If you are looking for more ways to save money or more information about the money saving challenge have a look at:

Penny Saving Challenge: Save Over £600 in a Year

1p Saving Challenge: How to Save Over £100 in 30 Days

If you prefer to save with an app then have a look at Plum. Plum is a free app that helps boosts your bank balance*. It’s the smartest app for managing your money. It analyses your spending patterns and automatically puts your money away for you, so you don’t have to think about it.

Read more about how Plum can help you save here

Join Plum for free here and see how much your Savings 4 Savvy Mums could grow*

If you are struggling right now, please do not despair. Christmas is not about gifts! Please do get help if you feel like you are in a hole that you can not see the way out of.

If you do need help with money then please have a look at:

No Money for Food? This is What You Do When You Really Have No Money To Feed your Family

How to Stop Spending Money Right Now

Join Our Free Resource Vault

If you are looking for money saving ideas for your whole family then come join our free Resource Vault. It’s packed full of free printables that you can download as many times as you like for free.

Join our free Resource Vault here

(By joining giving us your email address you are consenting to us emailing you about our other travel, home and lifestyle ideas. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of every email.)

How to save for Christmas 2021

Here are 21 top tips to help you save money for Christmas. All of these are simple ideas and tips to make sure that you get the most for your money.

Perfection Isn’t Needed

We all want a perfect Christmas, but It never happens, however hard we try. Instead of asking “ What would make Christmas perfect?” ask yourself “What can I afford this year?” and go from there.

Like we said above, make sure you know exactly how much you can afford. Your family would much prefer to have YOU then a fancy gift.

For more help on having Christmas on a budget please look at:

31 Ways You Can Have Christmas on a Budget

Secret Santa

Instead of buying friends or extended family gifts, why not ask to do a secret Santa. They’ll be pleased because they don’t have to fork out of another junk present, and you only have to buy one of the seven cousins a gift.

Last year I was part of three. One with my close friends, our kids, and the extended family. It works.

Give IOUs

If the family are looking for those big ticket items, like TVs and PlayStations, then giving an IOU for January, when items are cheaper will help.

Give the kids a wrapped up IOU, telling them that when January comes, they can cash in that IOU for what they want.

It gives you an extra month to save and with the potential saving, you could get them a smaller gift.

You can print out our IOU templete here. They come in four different colours.

Get Crafty

Grab the kids and rustle up some decorations, cards and wrapping paper yourself. Hand prints, stickers, drawing and stamps, anything goes.

We buy brown paper to decorate and wrap everyone’s gifts in. We also save all our past Christmas cards and cut them to make the following years labels.

All can be spruced up with ribbon if needed.

Sell Your Unwanted Items

If you haven’t touched an item in 6 months then it’s time to get rid of it. Selling on Facebook marketplace is free and the buyer collects. It’s a quick way to get a bit of extra cash leading up to Christmas. You could even think about selling larger items, like that second car that has been sitting unused in your garage for years! There are lots of companies that buy used cars and it can be a quick and easy process. An online search using keywords like “sell my car essex“, for example, should bring up the best companies in your area. 


The battle cry can be heard everywhere on the 23rd December. “We must buy the best” and don’t the supermarkets know it!

No one is going to care or know if you buy smart price potatoes or discounted wine, I mean, it all goes down the same way!

Could you buy gammon or chicken instead of turkey? Do you need a big bird, could you have a crown? Find out how many you’re cooking for and start to buy now. Items like mint sauce and ice cream won’t go off, but you’ll be hard pressed to get them at a good price come November.

Have a look at our Christmas meal suggestions here:

21 Christmas Dinner Starters That Won’t Break the Bank

13 Leftover Turkey Recipes That Can Be Made From Your Christmas Dinner

How to Make the Best Christmas Day Dinner

Avoid Gift Cards

The issue with gift cards is that they aren’t protected like cash is in your bank account. If the store in question goes bankrupt you have no way of getting your money back.

Instead of a gift card, use the IOU system above and go shopping with a loved one after the big day.

Start Shopping As Early As You Can

We start every year in January. We have a list that we use every year and when we see something we buy it. It may sit in our cupboard for six months but it helps to spread the cost when December comes.

Buy Dupes

Does a loved one have a favourite perfume of their list? Or even a favourite piece of clothing? Have a look at the discounters as many of them offer dupes.

This means that they make the perfect as close to a high-end brand as possible. We’ve managed to pick up dupes for most things including handbags and high-end candles.

Find The Lowest Prices

Google shopping is a great tool when you are looking for a certain product.

Type it in and watch it bring back the prices for all the stores that stock that product online. It’s the quickest way to find the lowest price.

From there, see if certain stores will price match. It’s worth an ask. What’s the worst that can happen? Use the chat features online and see what kind of deal you could get. You can always walk away.

Use Cashback Sites If You Are Buying Online

Cashback sites are a great way to save money. Every time you buy online make sure you are using a cashback website and see if you could get any money back.

Most are free to use and all you need to do is shop through them to get some money back. None of your rights are affected by shopping through a cashback website.

Read more about how cashback sites work here.

Our favorite cashback websites are:


OhMyDosh is an easy to use cashback site that’s free to use. It’s not like a normal cashback site though. OhMyDosh gives you loads of ways you can make money including:

The refer a friend scheme. Refer your friends to OhMyDosh and earn yourself £5 for every sign up and your friend £1.

Competitions: Enter them for free and receive money.

Shop through them to earn the bigger rewards.

The best thing about OhMyDosh is that you only need to make £10 to “dosh out” and they pay out through your bank or through PayPal.

If you are new to OhMyDosh* then use our link here to get your first free £1*

You can read more about how OhMyDosh works here. 


Quidco is a great way to save money. We’ve saved over £200 in the last few months and their site is really easy to use.

It’s free to join Quidco and they have access to over 4,000 retailers, and a lot of these are big household names.

You can also use Quidco* to even save money on your weekly food shop with their Click Snap app.

If you want to save even more then they do offer a premium membership which costs £5 a year. This gets you around £50 a year worth of promotions. It’s not paid upfront. It’s taken from the cashback you earn. It’s all about getting better bonuses. We upgraded three months ago and have earned over 30% more than on the basic membership.

It’s really easy to get your money out. It can go straight into your bank account or via PayPal.


Swagbucks is free to join and like Quidco you can save money while shopping online. The good thing about Swagbucks is that you can also earn money by watching videos, playing games and taking part in surveys.

There’s an option to download their SwagButton for free which pops-up and reminds you about the cashback you could earn.

You can collect points which then can be used as cash and transferred via PayPal or gift cards.

Read more about what we think about Swagbucks here. 

Don’t Borrow For Christmas

Getting stuck in that debt loop really isn’t worth it. If you do feel like you need a credit card then have a look for a 0% purchase card. This means that you pay zero interest for a set time period.

This is not the answer in our book, but the option is there if you know that you can pay it off before the zero-interest offer runs out.

Look at Online Outlets

If you are looking for cheaper present ideas then make sure you look at the online outlets. There are loads!

eBay has a full list of them on their site but many of the big retailers have an outlet store that offers a range of discounts.

For ideas on budget Christmas shopping, have a look at:

147 Cheap Christmas Gifts For the Whole Family

Your Essential Christmas Shopping List

Make Some Extra Money

This may sound easier said than done but making some extra money from your own home is possible. Set yourself a monthly target and see how much you can earn.

Some of these are slow burners but can make you good money if you start them now ready for Christmas.

Remember to cash out whenever you have earned anything you are not covered in till the money is in your own bank account.

You could make over £50 a month by:

Matched Betting

Matched betting is a completely legal, tried and tested way to make money online while you’re at home. It basically turns the tables on the bookmakers, to give you their free bet offers, so you can’t loose.

If you’re doing it correctly, you will never loose any money, but you do need to take your time and be really careful to avoid any mistakes. Using a company like Profit Accumulator means that you don’t have to work out the odds or be worried that you’re doing it all wrong.

Make sure you understand fully before you deposit any money. Follow our guide below to make your first £45 matched bet.

Start your free trial with Profit Accumulator here and they will help you make up to £45*

Read more about how matched betting works here


Blogging can be a great hobby, but also a very good way to earn money and go places with your family that you’ve never even dreamed of before.

You need to find a topic that you are passionate about. Don’t worry if you don’t enjoy writing, you can vlog on YouTube or even just start with a Facebook page.

The good thing about blogging is that you can start for free and earn money in a load of different ways like advertising, through sponsored posts (this is where a brand asks a blogger to write about their branded products), affiliates (where someone buys something after a blogger has written about them), products and courses.

You can start a blog really quickly and easily but will need a domain name, host and website which you can sort yourself quickly. We use WordPress to build Savings 4 Savvy Mums and TSO Host for our domain name. They also offer hosting too and with our code S4SM10%OFF you can get 10% off*.

Don’t forget to sign up to a email marketing provider. Many offer you a free service till you hit a certain amount of subscribers. This is a great way to keep all your readers involved in what you’re working on. We use Mailerlite as they offer a great customer service and are very easy to use!

Read about how we set up our blog here, which also gives you a step by step account.

You could make over £25 a month by:


Dropshipping is when a store doesn’t keep any stock they are selling. When the store sells a product it gets it from another supplier and gets them to deliver it straight to the customer. This means the store doesn’t touch the product at all.

Start by deciding which platform you want to start selling on. We found the easiest to be eBay and Shopify but do your research on both to see which one you find personally easier. There’s nothing stopping you from trying both at the same time.

Read more about how Dropshipping works here


Selling on eBay* as a business is easy. It’s not just about selling your unwanted stuff. This website may feel outdated, but it’s still widely used. Take photos of your stuff on your phone and sell them on the eBay app!

You could sell any craft items or printables on eBay. You can even drop ship from other businesses.

You could make over £15 a month by:


OhMyDosh! is an easy to use website that asks you take surveys for payment. Sign up for free and start earning straight away. As soon as you reach £10 you can cash out.

Online survey sites or apps can make you £100s of pounds a year. Just give your view and watch the cash come in. Some only pay pennies but one or two I’ve done do pay £1 a survey. At just 3-5 minutes long sat on your bum, that’s a no-brainer.

Join OhMyDosh here to have £1 added to your account straight away*

If you like the idea of survey sites then make sure you have a look at:


YouGov is a great place to answer questions on today’s problems. The surveys normally involve your view on large companies, the government or your local council. You only need 50 points to cash out which is £50.

They are really interesting surveys to complete and they do email you every time they have one to complete.

Use our link here to sign up free to YouGov*

Prolific Academic

Prolific Academic is an easy to use survey site that we’ve never had screen us out, which happens more than you’d think. You can reach the payment limit quite quickly while finding loads of different surveys that interest you.

The payment threshold is just £5 so you get paid really quickly too.

Join Prolific Academic here for free.*

For more ideas on how to make money from home have a look at:

19 Ways to Earn Extra Money For Christmas

Make Money With These Best Paid Survey Sites

27 Ways You Can Make Money Fast Today From Your Phone

Enter Free Competitions

This is a great way to get Christmas presents for free! Enter as many free draws as you can and see what you can win.

We’ve won anything from a free hotel stay to days out and electronics.

Haggle, Even Online

You may feel a bit awkward but haggling is a great way to get money off. There’s no reason why you can’t ask for a discount in retail shops or even online.

What’s the worst that’s going to happen?

Ask for a Gift Receipt

This means that the person getting the gift can still return it or exchange it without having to worry about returning the gift within 28-days of when it was brought.

Keep To Your List

Always have a list of presents so you don’t go off course. This means that you can look for the gifts all year round and know if you’ve brought them.

This way means that you remember what you’ve brought when December comes and stops you from buying a gift off the cuff.

Use Your Reward Points

We use all our store reward points at Christmas. Many supermarkets do have a limit of how many you can redeem but we use them throughout the festive period to help us pay for our Christmas food and even the old present.

Do make sure you read the terms and conditions though as some have items that you can’t buy with the points.

Buy Direct from China

Stores like Poundland may be driving down the costs, but it’s still cheaper to order direct and get it shipped over.

Last year, we brought a dolls house and seven-bedroom accessories for the kids. Here, it would have cost us over £70, including the cheap people we found in discounters. In China, we brought it all for £16.

It does take a while, took ours about six weeks to arrive, but if you have the time, and the will to search eBay, you can find anything!

Related Posts: 

Kids Aren’t Snobs

95% of my kid’s presents are from charity shops, Facebay or cost £1 reduced. They don’t care!

It’s normally the cheapest things that get played with anyway, like the wrapping, and the expensive stuff chucked to the side.

Track Santa as he delivers presents around the world. A great Christmas Eve surprise for your little ones.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more money saving ideas, then head over to the saving my family money section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 50 money saving tips to help you save your family more. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my family saving Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to stop spending and save more; Money Saving Tips for Families and Managing Money for Families

Love this post? Then why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later. 

If you have no money for Christmas then read our post. It is packed full of ideas that you can use to help you save money by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums

What the * means

If a link has an * by it, then this means it is an affiliate link and helps S4SM stay free for all. If you use the link, it may mean that we receive a very small payment. It will not cost you anymore that it would normally.

You shouldn’t notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. The items we write about are NEVER dictated by these links. We aim to look at all products on the market. If it isn’t possible to get an affiliate link, then the link, or product is still included in the same way, just with a non-paying link.

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