Budgeting | Personal Finance | Article

Don’t Let Christmas Keep You Poor: Here’s How You Can Give Gifts This Christmas Without Going Broke

by The Simple Sum Team | December 19, 2023 | 4 mins read

‘Tis the season to be jolly… and broke? Christmas season is synonymous with gift-giving, so it’s no surprise that many of us allot a huge chunk of our salaries and bonuses to shopping for presents—both for ourselves and for our loved ones—and there’s nothing wrong with that.  

But if you’re looking to be more conscious of your spending and your wallet, it pays to know that there are ways we can still get into the spirit of Christmas without breaking the bank.  

Call it cliché but it still rings true—when it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts. Here are some strategies for the smart, thrifty gift-givers just in time for Christmas. 

Set a budget 

Before you start shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend on Christmas gifts without dipping too far into your savings as it’s easy to get carried away and overspend when you’re shopping for gifts.  

And if your budget cannot accommodate to gift everyone on the list with personalized gifts, consider giving thoughtful presents for a few people instead of generic gifts for everyone that they might not end up using. 

Take advantage of the sales in the lead up to Christmas

Start early with your budget and the accompanying gifting list, so that you can utilize the many sales that start appearing from November to find good offers and get the most savings on your presents.  

This includes having your eyes peeled for promo codes and vouchers that are frequently dropped on shopping apps. Flash sales and special deals are also frequently announced on social media, so follow the brands and shops you intend to buy from. As 26-year-old account manager Sandra puts it, “It takes some patience to look for good deals, but it feels so rewarding to spend less money on things I’ve been wanting to buy anyway!” 

Additionally, when you don’t procrastinate, there is no pressure to buy the first thing you see, and you can take your time to compare prices in different stores or malls to ensure you’re getting the best deal.


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Go the DIY route 

If your budget is quite tight or you’re not quite sure of what to give certain people, consider giving handmade or personalized presents. Nothing says “You’re special to me” more than pouring time and effort on a gift made just for them. 

If you know how to bake, you could give them cookies, brownies, ube cheese pandesal or other treats as a reminder of how sweet life is when they’re around. And if you’re like Sally who works as a writer, it doubles up as some good me-time. “Baking is therapeutic for me, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy making these gifts from scratch. It’s also cheaper and less stressful because I don’t need to be at the mall during the Christmas rush,” she shares. 

Skilled with pen and paint? Drawing a portrait of the person or their favorite pet would surely be a special gift. You could paint the landscape of a shared memory, like the mountain summit you both conquered on a hiking trip or their favorite sunset view.


how you can give gifts this christmas


Other affordable and creative gifts can revolve around hobbies or activities that your friends and family partake in. You can put together a basket of their favorite snacks and drinks to be enjoyed at their next movie night. For those looking to spruce up their space, a houseplant or succulent can be a refreshing addition to their home. 

Find others to share the cost of a gift when appropriate  

Who says you can’t tap the whole gang for gifts? Instead of worrying about getting your boss an expensive gift that you need to shoulder by yourself, you can ask your officemates to chip in so you won’t have to empty your pocket for just one present. A $120 bottle of perfume is more affordable if three to five people can pay for it instead of just one person. It doesn’t work for all gifts, but every little bit counts when you’re on a budget.   

Celebrating our families and friends on Christmas is important, but remember that you don’t have to break the bank to show how much they mean to you. There are many ways to express love and affection without emptying your bank account.