7 Christmas Themed Swap-It Parties That Will Save You Money


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Most people love attending a Christmas party or two over the Christmas season. Most people also feel financial strain during the holidays more than any other time of year. So this year why not host a Christmas party that will save you and your friends money? This list of Christmas themed swap-it parties will help you do just that.

Host these Christmas themed swap-it parties and save money this Christmas.

7 Christmas Themed Swap-It Parties That Will Save You Money

1. Christmas Attire Swap

Your son needs a white dress shirt and a red tie for the school holiday performance. You know he won’t wear either again so shelling out cash for them is hard on your thrifty nature.

Your office is holding yet another ugly Christmas sweater party and you have already worn yours to the party three years in a row. You tried Goodwill already, but it seems like everyone in town must have had the same idea because there was not a single ugly Christmas sweater on their racks.

You are not the only one with one-time only Christmas attire needs–your friends have them too. Invite them all to your home and tell them to bring their last year’s barely worn Christmas attire as well as a snack or drink to share.

Spend the evening swapping Christmas stories and clothes.

2. Christmas Puzzle, Book & Movie

Christmas traditions can include completing a family Christmas puzzle, reading Christmas books aloud as a family or holding a special family Christmas movie night.

Instead of buying new ones each year form a puzzle, book and movie swap with friends who share these same traditions.

3. Christmas Cookie Swap

Confession, I am not a fan of Christmas cookie swaps. My family knows what Christmas cookies they like and they won’t stray from those few.

However, if you don’t have a cookie snob family then Christmas cookie swaps can be amazing time and money savers. We all know baking more than one batch of something saves time. It also saves money as special ingredients only have to be bought for one type of cookie.

4. Christmas Decor Swap

You just can’t stand looking at that Christmas town scene one more time. It is still in great shape but you are so bored with it.

Perhaps you moved and the Christmas decor from your last house just doesn’t look right in the new house?

Solution–invite your friends over for a Christmas decor swap party.

5. Craft Supply Swap

There is a rare person out there who doesn’t have a craft supply stash that hasn’t seen the light of day in a long while. The rest of us need to go into that dark place and bring those supplies out into the light.

Those supplies that are still in like new shape can be used in a craft supply swap party so that your friends can make Christmas gifts out of the craft supplies that no longer bring you inspiration and you can make Christmas gifts out of theirs.

A variation of this party is to simply have all your friends bring the craft supplies they are willing to share to your home and then that night you all make crafts out of your pooled supplies. Make sure to tell your friends to bring crafting basics like scissors, glue gun, etc if you decided to do this variation of the crafting supply swap party.

6. DIY Gift Swap

If those craft supplies still do inspire you to craft then go ahead and use them. Perhaps you have enough supplies to make half  a dozen or more of one type of craft. If so, you are in good shape to hold a DIY gift swap with your friends.

Have six friends bring half a dozen homemade craft items to swap. Each of you will go home with six unique Christmas gifts to give.

7. Christmas Mug Swap

Bored with your current selection of Christmas mugs? Turn your desire for new ones into a fun night with friends. Tell each friend to bring along a Christmas mug they are willing to part with plus a cocoa mix, a cocoa topping or stir-in like marshmallows or peppermint extract, and cookies or another snack to share. Swap mugs and then enjoy an evening of sweet fellowship over hot cocoa and cookies.

  • For a simple and inexpensive cocoa recipe check out my 3 ingredient Hot Chocolate. The recipe is for one cup, but it can be easily enlarged to make a batch large enough for a crowd.

How to Plan a Christmas to Remember on a Super Tight Budget

This post is part of the How To Plan A Christmas To Remember On A Super Tight Budget Series

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15 Websites & Apps That Will Save You Money On Your Christmas Shopping


(post contains affiliate links: see disclosure)

If you have been actively participating in my How To Plan A Christmas To Remember On A Super Tight Budget then you have probably created a nice stash of cash for Christmas shopping. This post is going to help you make that Christmas cash go further than you might have thought possible.

This list of websites and apps will save you a significant amount of money on your Christmas gift shopping.

15 Websites & Apps That Will Save You Money On Your Christmas Shopping

Discount Gift Card Sites

Discount gift cards are one of my thrifty family’s favorite ways of dropping the price of an item further, even if it is already on sale. We have been able to purchase gift cards at a discount of anywhere between 7% to as much as 20% off through discount gift card sites.

1. Cardpool

Cardpool is the discount gift card company our family uses the most often because it sells physical, hold-in-your-hand gift cards and one person in our thrifty couple isn’t very app savvy so he prefers physical gift cards (oops…gave away who it is).

Cardpool does have an app though, if you prefer buying and using your discounted gift cards that way.

2. Raise

Our family has yet to use Raise, but it does seem to have a good selection of cards. At Raise the gift cards are electronically based and saved in the Raise app for you to use when you need them.

This list of websites and apps will save you a significant amount of money on your Christmas gift shopping.

Cash Back Sites

Our thrifty family makes sure to use a cash back site before we buy anything online. Sure, we do have to wait to get our money back, but this step can really add up to significant savings. One Christmas we got $75 back from our Christmas shopping.

3. Ebates

Ebates offers a HUGE selection of stores to earn cashback through. One thing I don’t like about Ebates, though is that you not only have to wait until you meet the $5.01 cashback value, but when you do reach it you also have to wait until their next “Big Fat Check” payout date to get your payout, which only happens 4 times a year.

However, as I said the selection is amazing! Often if I can’t find a cash back at a store I am shopping at through the two other suggestions below, I go to Ebates and almost always I will find a cash back for that store offered there.

4. TopCashBack

What I love about TopCashBack is that there are no minimum payouts. You also earn a bonus when you cash out for Amazon gift card codes which makes your cashback rate even bigger. I do find it takes TopCashBack a considerable amount of time to credit your account for cash back, though.

5. Swagbucks

The greatest benefit of using Swagbucks to earn cashback is that through Swagbucks you can earn points called SB in so many other ways and when you combine those points together you can earn a gift card cash out pretty fast–especially since most gift cards start at 500 SB points. Most times Swagbucks is the first place I look for a cash back offer for online shopping.

psst…did you know you can use the Ibotta app to earn cashback on in store shopping?

Check out my Hot Deals page | Snail Pace Transformations

Websites & Blogs That List Great Deals

6. Money Saving Mom

Money Saving Mom lists great deals all day long, all week long. I like checking the website daily to see what new deals have been listed.

7. Brad’s Deals

Brad’s Deals is an app and a website. I haven’t used the app version, but most years I sign up to receive Brad’s Deals emails just as the Christmas shopping season begins and then unsubscribe after I am done my shopping so I am not tempted to continue shopping the great deals.

8. Snail Pace Transformations

Yes, I list deals too. On my Hot Deals page I list a small amount of great deals I find from companies I work with as well as high value coupons and free sample listings. I also have a Facebook group where I share these deals as I find them.

A Step by Step Guide to Using Ibotta | Snail Pace Transformations

Apps That offer Cashback & More

9. Ibotta

Ibotta is an app that you can use to earn cashback on all your in-store shopping from groceries, to movie tickets, to craft supplies, to clothing and more. When you earn enough for a cash out you can pick from a PayPal deposit or several different gift card providers including Starbucks, Amazon, iTunes and more. One thing I really like about Ibotta is how fast it takes them to deliver your payout once you have earned it–I can’t remember waiting more than a few hours.

10. Shopkick

Shopkick has several different ways to earn points, but my favorite is the walk-in points. Simply open the app as you are walking in the store and you can earn points. Sometimes it is just 35 points, but sometimes they run specials where I have seen Shopkick offer 150 points or more for simply walking in the store.

11. Receipt Hog

Receipt Hog is a very simple app to use (use my referral code yect1667 to earn a bonus when you sign up). You simply snap a picture of your receipt and earn coins or spins. When you earn enough coins you can cash out for an Amazon or PayPal gift card code. Receipt Hog works at clothing stores, sporting good stores, book stores, grocery stores and even restaurants.

Use my referral link for Hollar | Snail Pace Transformations

Websites with Great Prices On Name Brand Items

 12. Zulily

If the loved ones on your Christmas list are name brand picky, Zulily could help you save up to 50% on some of their favorite brands. They offer new deals each and every day so if you don’t see something on your Christmas list today it could be there tomorrow. My family has gotten some great deals through Zulily.

13. Hollar

Hollar is what I would describe as an online dollar variety store. Prices at Hollar start at $1 and go up from there. I have gotten O.P.I nail polish for $4 a bottle from Hollar. I noticed they recently had K’nex sets starting at just $3. Items at Hollar move fast! What is there today might not be there tomorrow. New customers get free shipping on their first order of $10 or more (normally free shipping starts at $25).

Where to Find Free and Low Cost Christmas Gifts That Rock! | Snail Pace Transformations

Websites That Reward You With Free Items That Would Make Great Gifts

14. Tyndale Rewards

I have been a member of Tyndale rewards for years and over those years I have gotten some really awesome books for as little as 75 points and it isn’t as hard to earn those points as you might think. Tyndale Rewards offers a fairly good selection of fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, bibles, devotions and more for you to cash your points in for.

15. Recycle Bank

Recycle Bank gives you points for doing things like watching video clips or slide shows on environmental topics and then answering questions afterwards. Recycle Bank has a great selection of magazine subscriptions that could be given as gifts to those in your household. For instance, if your spouse is a runner you could grab them a year subscription of Runner’s World.

psst…I share more sites where you can grab great free or low cost gifts in this article.

How To Stack The Savings

So now you have 15 different places that could save you money on your Christmas shopping, but where the fun part comes in–at least for us thrifty people–is stacking the 15 on top of each other as much as possible.

  1. Find a bargain
  2. Use a discounted gift card: Our thrifty family tends to keep a gift card to a small handful of stores we shop at  most often on hand. That way when we see a bargain at these stores we can make it bigger.
  3. If shopping online use a cashback site. If shopping in store use a cashback app.
  4. Search RetailMeNot for a discount code or free shipping code if shopping online (that’s a 16th website)

If you are lucky enough to use all four steps on your purchase you can easily save an additional 10% or more off an item on your Christmas list that was already a bargain to begin with!

How to Plan a Christmas to Remember on a Super Tight BudgetThis post is part of the How To Plan A Christmas To Remember On A Super Tight Budget Series

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How To Hold An “Eat What You Have” Week To Help Pad The Christmas Fund


If you are looking for spare change in the cracks of the couch to help you pad the Christmas fund there is a better way. The answer lies within you cupboards.

Sure, there will be a few of you who truly don’t keep extra food in the house, but the majority of us keep a stockpile of food in our cupboards and freezers–either intentionally or unintentionally.

Items that were either on sale or they just caught our eye and we thought, “Hmm I want to try that.” Well an “eat what you have” week is the perfect time to finally try that food and use the money you save by not going grocery shopping to pay for Christmas expenses.

Lacking Christmas money? Hold an "Eat What You Have" week.


There is a reason why I planned this particular post for the day after Thanksgiving as part of the How To Plan A Christmas To Remember On A Super Tight Budget series. It is because usually leftovers flowing out of our fridges this week make it even easier to simply stay home from the grocery store and eat what we already have on hand.

If you are reading this during another week though, don’t panic–chances are you still will be able to last a week without going to the grocery store.

How To Hold An “Eat What You Have” Week

Step 1: Grab a pad of paper and a pen and start searching through your cupboards, fridge, pantry, and freezer.

I like to first do a general look through of all areas that contain food in our home. I then take my paper and pen and start listing meals I could make with the ingredients I have on hand.

If I am missing an ingredient I try my very best to substitute another.

Meals are often simple, and sometimes odd during ‘eat what you have week’. We might have mac and cheese with tuna and peas mixed in or we might have hamburger mixed in gravy over toast with a side of cream corn.

As I said, meals can get very creative! Don’t worry–you will survive! (they really need to make a bumper sticker that says “I survived ‘eat what you have’ week”).


20 Quick and Simple Dinner Ideas: Helping You Save Money by Avoiding Takeout

Need a bit of help figuring out what to make from what you have? In this post I share 20 quick and simple dinner ideas using ingredients most families keep in the cupboards.


Step 2: If you can come up with more than a week’s worth of meals, extend the challenge.

If you are able to list 7 meals that you can make from your cupboards in under 7 minutes, then chances are your cupboards hold way more than a week’s worth of food. Continue listing food until you are down to wondering if a boxed cake mix covered with canned fruit counts as a dinner.

Step 3: Make a grocery list

But wait isn’t this “eat what you have week”? Why are we making a grocery list?

Yes, you are right. I want you to eat from your cupboards as much as possible this week or longer, but there are still basic healthy perishable food items I think we all need on hand.

If your family loves apples this is the week to make them eat the giant container of sugar free organic applesauce instead fresh ones, but you don’t have to go as far as substituting a glass of Kool Aid for milk.

Stick to making a list of basics only like milk and a few ingredients that will help you make a decent dinner out of the other ingredients already in your freezer and pantry.

Also make sure you have enough fruits and veggies on hand so that your meals are nutritionally rounded . I don’t want people surviving off of nothing but starch and protein all week.

Eating up your frozen, canned or dried fruits and veggies for one week instead of fresh is okay. Eating none at all–not so good.

I think a reasonable budget for the basics could be anywhere between $10 and $20 depending on your family size, what you already have in the cupboards, and what grocery prices are in your area.

Step 4: Go with the flow

However long you manage to make your “eat what you have” challenge last, it will be easier if you maintain an open mind and palate.

Be open to trying out new recipes and food combinations. If you maintain a good attitude chances are the children might be a bit more open minded about trying something new too.

Also be willing to admit to a flop being a flop. If the spam in mac and cheese casserole tastes horrid, don’t make the family endure it. Reach for the half empty boxes of cereal and make it “breakfast cereal buffet night.”

Step 5: When you reach the end of the challenge, reevaluate

If you are done with the meals you planned out at the beginning of your “eat what you have” week, go through your cupboards one more time before you call it quits and see if you could perhaps stretch things a day or two further.

Step 6: Restock the cupboards and then bank the savings

When you are satisfied that you just can’t come up with one more meal idea based on the small amount of stuff you have left, it is finally time to call the challenge quits.

Hopefully you lasted at least one week and now you are into a new week of your grocery budget, meaning you have 2 weeks’ worth of cash to buy one week’s worth of groceries minus the small amount you spent of an few staples at the beginning of the challenge. If you had a larger stockpile you might even have as much as 4 weeks’ worth of grocery budget to buy 1 week’s worth of groceries.

This is when you need to not get too excited by your extra cash and first stop and make a grocery list.

You will need more groceries than usual because you are have little to no stockpile left. You are going to be out of almost everything.

However, restocking your cupboards won’t eat all the surplus you created. Usually when our family holds and “eat what we have” week I spend around 25% of the surplus I created on extra food to refill staples like sugar, flour and such.

Now it is your turn

Have you ever held an “eat what you have” week? If so, share with us tips that can help us make ours more successful.

How to Plan a Christmas to Remember on a Super Tight Budget

This post is part of the How To Plan A Christmas To Remember On A Super Tight Budget Series.

Subscribe and Grab your Christmas On A Zero Budget Printable Plan.