Christmas on a budget: $250 for six kids

Wowzers!  I wrote this post last year to share what I purchased for my children for Christmas, and to show that it is completely possible to shop for six kids on a $250 budget.  The information I shared is very specific to what I actually did and how I saved.  As of late, this post has become very popular and I want to be sure to share information that is helpful for you as a visitor to my site.  Please check out the 2 posts below some awesome tips that will help your holidays rock even with the smallest budget!

10 tips for planning Christmas on a budget

10 Stocking Stuffers for Whole Family for Under $2

Our family typically doesn’t spend a ton on Christmas gifts, but this year our budget is really tight.  I decided in October that I was going to try to get gifts for all six children for under $300, and I did it!  See what I bought and how I did it below:

Christmas on a budget - $250 for 6 kids

© Devy | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

How I saved

1.  Earned referral fees from retail sites.  Some of the items below were free with referral credits I had earned from various websites.  You *do not* have to be a blogger to earn referral fees, and it’s a great way to save on things for your own family, some offer up to $15 per friend that you refer! Some of my favorites are One King’s Lane and Zulily.  And yep, those are my referral links. 🙂

2.  Enter giveaways hosted by local bloggers.  Some of the other items say FREE because I won them through giveaways hosted by local bloggers.  I do sometimes enter larger, national giveaways, but the odds are better if you stick with smaller, local blogs.  I also won several Amazon gift cards as well, as you’ll see below.

3.  Start early and be patient! Subscribe to your favorite sites (like Amazon, for example) and wait for the good deals to be announced.  I am also subscribed to several deal bloggers’ updates on Facebook, so I find out about a lot of great sales that way. A few things were purchased from the clearance section of Walmart over the course of two months, although I picked up most of my gifts online during Black Friday and the weekend after that, without even going into a store!

4.  Don’t buy in to the fads.  I don’t buy my kids something just because they saw it somewhere or heard about it from a friend.  If they ask for something several times, I add it to my list and check it out.  I try to purchase things that they will use for more than a few days, and that they can often share with siblings.  The hottest toys of the season are also typically the most expensive, so I don’t even go there.

5.  Search online for discount codes.  Retail Me Not is one of my favorite sites to use.  The search function is simple, and you can see feedback from other users about the coupon codes listed.  I found a code for Totsy (now Modnique) for an additional $15 off a $40 order that way!

6.  Take advantage of free shipping offers.  When a site offers free shipping, jump on it!  I have saved so much money that way.  I also have an Amazon Prime account which offers free two-day shipping on almost everything.  It is $79 a year, but you get access to free movies and tv shows with it as well.  Definitely worth it. If you are a student or mom, you can get an extended free trial, if not, they always offer one month free just to try it out.

7.  Don’t go nuts buying gifts.  Children don’t *need* 20 gifts apiece.  That’s just unnecessary.  I don’t want my children to think that Christmas is their payday.  They get a reasonable amount of gifts that are a combination of things they want and need, and that’s it.  I don’t spend thousands of dollars, and I wouldn’t even if I could afford to.  Christmas is more than just presents.

8.  Shop at thrift stores.  Now, this doesn’t mean you have to get raggedy, used stuff for your kids as gifts. My children love books and old games, and the thrift store is a great place to pick those up.  Just be sure to check and see if all the pieces/parts are intact!

9.  Ask your children what they want, and make your list based on those items.  My children had specific items that they asked for, so I made sure to really try to get those things for them, even if there was something else available that was a better deal.

Amazon discounts/gift cards that I used to help purchase gifts:

-$5.00 Amazon discount ($5 off $25)
-$5.00 Amazon discount ($5 off $25)
-$15 Amazon GC won from DealDash
-$10 Amazon GC (from Gift Birdy for a website review)
-$20 Amazon GC (won from Motorola for a tweet about baby monitors)
-$20 Amazon GC (won from A Mitten Full of Coupons)

Total Amazon credit: $75.00

What I Bought

Ryan (12 year old boy)

Leather bracelet (Amazon) 0.99
MP3 player (Amazon) 21.27
Salted chocolate chip cookies (GF from Dr. Sweet’s Cake Emporium) 10.00
Amazon gift card 20.00
Total $52.26

Nate (7 year old boy)

LEGO Ninjago character encyclopedia (Amazon) 10.40
Disney Cars bed tent (Walmart) 9.54
Animal books (Totsy) FREE
Braves Kids Club Membership (won from Macaroni Kid Smyrna Vinings) FREE
Card trick book (thrift store) 1.59
Total $21.53

Angel (11 year old girl)

2 jeans (Old Navy) 17.79
2 shirts (Old Navy) 7.61
Boots (Children’s Place) 13.34
Large makeup set/case (Walmart) 21.20
Hair brush w/ mirror (Dollar store) 1.06
Mini portable makeup set (Dollar store) 1.59
2 lip tint sticks (Walmart) 5.87
(Mani/Pedi basket filled with items below)
Nail gems set (Amazon) 2.05
Nail glue (Dollar store) 0.53
Battery powered nail dryer (Dollar store) 4.24
3 nail polish (Dollar Tree) 3.18
Pedicure set (Walmart) 1.03
Cotton balls (Walmart) 1.04
Nail polish (Walmart) 3.15
Nail polish remover (Walmart) 1.03
Foot scrub (Walmart) 2.58
Total: $87.29

 (She received a little more than others simply because she had outgrown her clothes!)

Nautica (9 year old girl)

Fila heavy winter coat (Totsy) 15.00
Fab Kids outfit (FabKids) 7.95
Owl necklace (Amazon) 1.01
Dolphin Pillow Pet (1SaleADay) 12.50
2 packs barrettes (Dollar Tree) 2.12
4 packs lip gloss (Dollar Tree) 4.24
Pedicure set (Walmart) 1.03
3 nail polish (Walmart) 3.12
Nail polish remover (Walmart) 1.03
Sidewalk games book (thrift store) 1.59
Total $49.59

Eva (5 year old girl)

Fila heavy winter coat (Totsy) 15.00
Rory’s Story Cubes (Amazon) 5.99
Barbie Glamtastic Texters 8.99
Dream Lite Penguin (1SaleADay) 12.50
Lip gloss (Dollar Tree) 1.06
Total $43.54

Nikoletta (4 year old girl)

90 Piece Mega Blocks Bag (Amazon) 10.51
Winter boots (Totsy) FREE
Hello Kitty clock (Amazon) 6.99
Tangrams (One King’s Lane) 3.25
Winter coat (Totsy) FREE
Shirt/Pants set (Totsy) 0.45
Total $21.20

Gifts for Everyone

The Lorax DVD (Amazon) 3.99
Magic School Bus (Amazon) 26.99
Bakerella Set (Won from Stress Free Baby) FREE
Need for Speed for Xbox (DealDash) 10.00
Tangled for Wii (DealDash) 10.00
Total $50.98

Grand total spent after all discounts: $251.39

There you have it folks, Christmas for a large family on a budget, it’s possible!

Looking for gifts for the whole family?  Here are 10 ideas to get you started!

Working with a teeny tiny budget?  Need cheap gift ideas?  Don’t forget about these stocking stuffers for the whole family.  Also, get my list of more than 100 gifts you can buy for $2.00 or less!

*This post includes affiliate links, and I earn a small commission from any items purchasedMaybe even enough to take my kids out for ice cream.  Or buy myself a cheap bottle of wine!*
    • I know, lol! Once I added it all up, she ended up with the highest dollar amount. She desperately needed some new clothes, as she is growing like crazy! I got great deals on her jeans and shirts, but it put her over the top for sure!

    • I usually have a loose budget in my head, but never really add it all up when we’re done shopping. This year it wasn’t an option to go over the budget, so I’m really glad I was able to get the things they asked for!

    • I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to get the things I knew they have wanted for a while, but it all worked out perfectly! Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Awesome! See…everyone who says they can’t “afford” a big family should just read this blog. Way to be creative!

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    • We do very non traditional stockings, lol. Little bit of candy and things like cans of boiled peanuts, jars of olives and pickles, beef jerky, etc. All the kids’ favorite snack foods that they can munch on during their winter break. I know some families do additional toys and presents in stockings and that’s something we just haven’t really done because of the cost. We did do $5 marshmallow shooters one year in stockings, that was a huge hit! And a huge mess, lol. 😉

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