Christmas Presents for the Frugal Person in Your Life

Well, the busiest shopping week of the year is upon us. On Friday, millions of people will brave the crowds in the wee hours of the morning, just to score a deal on Christmas gifts.

Me? I’ll probably be shopping in front of the computer in my PJs, having stuff delivered directly to my home, so I can avoid the traffic and the crowds of the Christmas season.

Regardless of how you shop, it is the season to start thinking Christmas gifts. And I thought it might be fun to look at a few gifts that could enhance a frugal lifestyle.

Kitchen Gifts for the Frugal

A Crockpot. We all know that the truly frugal don’t like to spend money on eating out. But for those of us with school aged kids, sometimes afternoon activities make it difficult to find time to cook. For those people, a crockpot is a great gift! I use mine all the time. In fact, I use it so much that the handle fell off the lid. I’m too cheap to buy a new one though.

A Bread Machine. Last week I baked all my own bread. My bread machine has been a lifesaver. I used to do all the kneading in my kitchenaid mixer, but now that I’m homeschooling, I don’t have time to mix, let rise, punch down, and let rise again. I just let the bread machine do it all for me. And we have eaten fabulous, whole wheat bread with no preservatives or corn syrup every day.

Frugal Entertainment Gifts

Netflix/Roku. My favorite frugal discovery in the entertainment realm has been a Netflix membership and a Roku box. For $13.99 a month, I get 2 DVDs in the mail at a time, and the number of DVDs per month is unlimited. I can also watch an unlimited number of direct stream movies a month.

This is a perfect gift for the homeschooling family, as I have used Netflix a ton in conjunction with homeschooling. I also use Netflix for favorite movies, television series, and workout DVDs. The Roku box comes in handy for direct streaming to your television. If you have a laptop that connects to your television, though, you don’t even need the Roku box.

Frugal Gifts for the Home

A Programmable Thermostat. We don’t have one yet, but I would love a programmable thermostat! I’m pretty good about remembering to turn down the heat at night, but I would love to set the thermostat to warm up the house a bit before I get out of bed. Call me crazy, but I’d love a programmable thermostat for Christmas.

A Down Comforter. Down comforters go a long way toward keeping you toasty warm on cold winter nights, so you can keep your thermostat lower at night. Properly cared for, they last a long time, too.

Frugal Gifts for the Kids

The Money Savvy Pig. I love this piggy bank. Each of my kids have one. It’s a fairly good sized piggy bank with four chambers: give, save, spend, and invest. From an early age, you can teach your kids to budget their allowances, so they meet their financial goals!

The Game of Life. We rediscovered this game a couple of months ago. It’s not always completely true to life, but playing the game with your kids can spark some good, and important, discussions on topics like debt, choosing to go to college, the cost of having children, and more.

A Frugal Gift for Yourself

YNAB Pro/YNAB 3. If you’ve never kept a budget before, why not make 2010 the year to start? YNAB is a great budget tracking system for beginners, and it works well for budgeting veterans, too. I bought it as an after-Christmas gift for myself a couple of years ago, and I’m glad I did. It really made tracking my budget easier than tracking with Quicken, which is what I was using before YNAB.

Those are my gift suggestions for the frugal person in your life. Do you have anything to add?


By , on Nov 23, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. carolyn:

    To those who mentioned wanting a bread machine you should check out your local thrift shops. I frequently shop thrift stores and it is a rare day I don’t see bread machines. Most appear as though they haven’t been used more than a time or two. The prices are ususally between $5 and $10 and the operators manuals can usually be found on line.

  2. Angelsong:

    I knew there was something I wanted to add to this post. After spending time in the kitchen preparing for our Thanksgiving celebration, I realized we save a lot of time, effort and money by using our food processor. That machine has paid for itself several times over. One example: Instead of buying packaged and commercially processed scalloped potatoes mix, we used the food processor to slice fresh potatoes in no time, and to shred the cheese and chop onion and celery. Result: wonderful, fresh homemade scalloped potatoes without the chemicals…and it tasted much better. Plus, it is so frugal, we can do it anytime for an easy and flavorful side dish, or make it a main course by adding some cooked chicken (or turkey, as we did this weekend) plus some steamed broccoli. Yum!

  3. LOVE the Bread Machine idea! I just ordered the one you linked to… thanks so much! I’m excited for this to be MY Christmas gift and hope I can wait until Christmas!!

  4. I love it!!! Those are great ideas. I would absolutely LOVE a bread machine. I need to get better at using my crockpot on a regular basis though. And the comforter is a great idea when you’re trying to save every penny when it comes to your heater. I love my comforter with the duvet cover on it. When you say, “taking care” of the comforter. Do you mean getting a nice duvet cover that can keep it clean and then you wash the cover?! Thanks again.

  5. Caroline:

    Thank you SO MUCH for your info on Netflix and the Roku box. We are cutting cable at the beginning of the year and I was considering Netflix as an alternative. I had looked into connecting our desktop, but got confused and we wanted to be able to use the computer at the same time. This sounds like it might work for us. Thank you again!

  6. If your laptop connects to your tv, you will just need a cord that will do it. It’s much cheaper than buying the Roku box! We do this and we watch Hulu shows on the television that way.

    Our house has 2 a/c units/heating units and both have programmable thermostats. They are really nice, and easy to read. In the winter I set mine to get warmer an hour before I need to get out of bed.

    A down comforter is too warm here unless you never turn on the heat at all. It’s only getting down to 41º here at night (outside) and it’s still at least 67º in the house at night–2 degrees warmer than I would set the heater. Where the thermostat really helps us is in the summer, when we won’t let it get hotter than 79º in the house.

    I’ve asked for new aprons for myself (from my mom; my husband and I don’t usually get each other gifts). I wear an apron every day, and mine have worn through this year. They protect my clothes while cooking, doing dishes, baking, and canning. I wear one almost all day long.

    I’ll probably be spending Black Friday sewing my gifts!

  7. marci:

    For the gardener, garden supplies, seeds, etc are always good.

    I’d like a 2nd canner myself, or more canning jars. Canning lids are always a good stuffing stocker also.

    A dehydrator is always good also.
    Or a vaccum sealer or bags/rolls for it.

    All stuff I seem to use a lot of! :)

  8. AngelSong:

    Great suggestions! The crockpot is indispensable in our home because even though we don’t have children, we work crazy hours, and being able to put a meal in the crockpot and go to work then come home to a hot meal is wonderful. It’s a time and money saver.

    We have a programmable thermostat, and it does help cut down on the heating/cooling bills. And, the down comforter is a true gem when it comes to keeping the cold away.

    I wonder if some of the ADULTS I know would benefit from having the Money Savvy Pig!

    Board games of many kinds are also a major form of entertainment in our home. I am going to get the Game of Life so I can check it out.

    I do a lot of bread baking, and I do have a bread machine that will also make cakes. I do enjoy preparing the bread by hand when I have time (mostly on weekends), but when I am pressed for time, the bread machine is great. Again, set it and come home to fresh bread, to go along with the crockpot meal….yum!

  9. jill in chicago:

    A word of caution about the Game of Life: the special “character” editions (“SpongeBob Life”, etc.) do not have the same life choices as the original version of the game. They are much inferior to the original (and to most other board games) in my family’s opinion.

  10. I believe wool comforters are superior to down comforters, and usually cheaper. You don’t have to worry about the feathers shifting around, and they are equally easy to care for. Wool also offers natural anti-bacterial and anti-dust mite properties, and create no feathery-dust in the house – making them good for allergy sufferers. I will never go back to down.

    Other good gifts for kids are the card games “Set” and “Milles Bornes”; and board games “Blokus” and “Rummikub” (for the older kids), and “Peanut Butter and Jelly” (for the younger kids). They all offer some educational benefits.

    A great stocking stuffer can be a child’s own library card for the local library – on a lanyard they can wear or attach to a keychain. Keychains are also nice gifts for kids, as they can attach them to the zipper-pulls on their backpack making them easier to pull, especially when wearing mittens/gloves.

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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.

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