Decorating for Christmas on a Budget

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When you're in the midst of your Budgeting Journey decorating, or anything else that's not really necessary, might get pushed to the back burning because hello, we have goals to hit...right!?! 
But, I feel like spending some fun money...within reason...helps boost moral + keeps the whole family motivated. The more motivated you stay, the more long-term success your journey will have. 

Decorating for Christmas is one of those things that's really more of a "want" than it is a "need"...but it just makes us so dang happy that it's hard to completely skip it! Today, I want to share my 9 favorite frugal Christmas decorating tips with you that helped me during my tightest budgeting Holiday Seasons! 

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After you've downloaded my FREE Printable Family Holiday Budget Planner, you'll want to set up your overall Holiday Budget, of course you'll want to spend most of your time planning your gifts budget, but don't forget to budget in any decorating you plan on doing!  

For this Part 4 of my Christmas on a Budget Series (Find the rest of the series here!), I want to share with you a few of my favorite decorating tips that have helped me stay on budget the past 4 Christmases. 

My favorite decorating tips: 

1. Start a Pinterest Board for inspiration
This is always step #1 for me! I love pinning any + everything that I think is beautiful, on theme, or looks like a potential DIY project. By creating this inspiration board you'll be able to get a better idea of what you'll need to buy, what you already have, or what you could make yourself. Getting inspired + having a plan will help you stay focused while you're shopping. Remember to establish a budget and keep your shopping list handy so you don't go overboard though. 

2. Spend most of your money on items that will pack a punch
Operating on a super tight budget will probably limit you a good bit, but that's why you'll want to at least make sure you're spending your money on a few key items that will pack the most punch. I feel like if you could only do these three things you'd really be set for your Christmas decor, anything else is really just cherries on top!  

1. Tree
Whether your family does a real tree each year (like ours) or invests in a a great faux tree to last several years, you'll want to make sure this is your top decorating priority. So budget for your tree first! 

2. Lights
A few strands for the tree and maybe one or two strands on the front of the house can make a huge impact and really get you a big return on your money. If you can't quite swing the money to stock up this year, then wait until the day after Christmas and go grab some clearanced lights for next year (that's what I did a few years back!).

3. Stockings
I say either pull out stockings from past Christmases, grab some cheap new ones from Dollar Tree or Walmart, or even bust out the sewing machine and make your own with some trendy fabric from Hobby Lobby. Although stockings aren't necessary, I feel like they add a little bit of happy to any living room...and kids love imagining what they'll be filled with on Christmas I feel like they're definitely worth being the third priority on this list! 

3. Then fill in with...

1. A few mid-priced items from Hobby Lobby, Walmart, or Target
Make sure these fill-in items make a statement...meaning don't waste your sacred budgeted money on things that no one will notice. If you're going to splurge on a few mid-priced items I'd make them noticeable pieces like throw pillows, a wreath, garland, tree toppers, or a few fancy statement ornaments.  

2. Several low-priced items from Dollar Tree
This is where "filling-in" really happens for me! I grab lots of ornaments, ribbons, candles, wrapping items, and even some craft supplies for DIY projects from Dollar Tree. My money goes so far here and I love it!  

3. DIY Projects
My favorite DIY projects are Wreathes, Ornaments, Centerpieces, Fabric Garlands, + Candle Holders. Do the math to make sure that your supplies + time required aren't actually making these projects more expensive than just buying these items. Also, don't assume that Hobby Lobby or other big name craft stores are the only places to buy craft supplies, Walmart + most dollar stores sell lots of great items for even cheaper! 

4. Kids' arts + crafts projects
Our kids are going to be doing tons of little projects this time of year why not incorporate them into the rest of the decorations! Or get the kids involved in making some your DIY projects to work in a fun family activity into your decorating budget. 


Check out my Christmas on a Budget 
Pinterest Board!

  • Savings Plans

  • Family Activities

  • Free Printables

  • Budget-friendly Hacks

  • Gift Ideas

  • Craft Projects

  • Decorating Ideas

  • DIY Inspiration

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4. Shop your Christmas Stash + the rest of your house first
Even though we might "want" new decorations, it might just be in the budget...and that's okay! There's several ways to spruce up your decor without breaking the budget! Shopping your stash from previous Christmases or the rest of your house is a great place to start. 

1. Look for anything matching your Christmas theme colors. For example, a random red throw blanket can be thrown across a chair for added color or a rustic decor piece from your bedroom can be added to the dinning table's centerpiece.  

2. Look for Mason Jars (or empty spaghetti sauce/salsa jars), these work great as candle holders or vases for flowers.

3. Look for spare Craft Supplies that could be transformed into an adorable DIY project you found on Pinterest. Most of us crafty mommas have a stash of unused supplies that we could totally tap into. 

5. Shop in your backyard (or a park) 
Rustic decor is in style anyways...thanks Joanna! Go outside and shop for some free natural goodies!

Look for...

1. Sticks + branches

2. Pine-cones + acorns

3. Fresh Pine-needles  

6. Shop Resale
Don't forget to look at garage sales, Goodwill, + locally owned thrift stores before you splurge on a new items.

7. Shop the non-holiday sections
Sometimes I shop in the regular sections for my faux flowers/greenery, candles, ribbons, and even for some of my gift wrapping. A lot of items are going to be marked up in the Holiday Sections, so do your research and take the time to compare + contrast before making your purchases.

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If you didn’t already know...
budgeting is kinda my thing!

I help overwhelmed families with my simple approach to budgeting through my full budgeting course, Your Sunny Money Method.

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8. Shop at my favorite stores
I have my few stores that I really stick to for my decor shopping...

1. Hobby Lobby
Great for focal pieces, specialty decor items, faux flowers/greenery, ribbons, fabric, + DIY supplies. Shop the 50% Christmas Decor sales, don't forget to compare with the regularly priced items, + take advantage of the 40% coupon that's available every day on the website/app.

2. Walmart, Target, + Big Lots
Great for mid-priced fill-in items, stockings, wrapping supplies, lights, faux trees, + outdoor pieces. Take advantage of the after Christmas clearance for items that you wish you could have bought this year, but weren't in the'll thank yourself next year.

3. TJ Maxx + Ross
Great for focal pieces, specialty decor items, as well as mid-priced fill-in items. Look for stockings, wrapping supplies, key decor pieces, throw pillows, centerpiece items, + candles.

4. Dollar Tree
Great for low-priced fill-in items, small plain-colored ornaments, individual accent ornaments, spray foam flocking, greenery garland, small strings of lights, centerpiece items, candles, disposable table cloths + dishes, holiday themed plates, trays, + glasses, wrapping supplies, stocking, + Santa hats.

5. Various resale stores
Great for just about anything! Resale stores (and garage sales) will bring out their best Holiday items, so make sure to check out these places for items that might otherwise be out of your budget.

9. Look for ways to save as much as possible
I mentioned in the other parts of this Christmas Blog Series how much I love for buying discounted gift cards + then using them to pay for my purchases with. This tip can again be used to your decor shopping! Also, don’t forget to take advantage of + their awesome rebate offers in this part of your Holiday Budget either!


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Check out the whole Christmas series:

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I'm the wife to my high school sweetheart, Daniel, + homeschooling momma to our 3 girls. I'm the Budgeting Coach + Motivational Speaker behind 
A Sunny Side Up Life

My family used to be in $490k of debt + living paycheck-to-paycheck, but after we hit rock bottom everything changed for us!

Now that my family has become debt free + gained financial freedom, I want to help your family do the same! My passion is inspiring women to live abundant lives through budgeting, intentional living, and positive thinking.

I offer a jump start into budgeting with my free 5-day email course + a full budgeting experience with my course, Your Sunny Money Method.

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