Christmas Under $100: 2016

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Coloring  Book

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you probably already know that I aim to do Christmas for under $100. It’s just one of those things that I do to save money and amuse myself. It’s been a few years since I’ve shown you just how much I’m able to get for $100, so I thought I’d show you what I’m giving this year. My family has promised to stay off the website until after the holidays, so I can give you this sneak peek.

Come see what I have tucked under the tree:

Flag Football Set

Okay, let’s start with my oldest daughter (14) … This flag football set is her big gift. It should be a fun addition to our collection of outdoor games that we keep at the cabin. It was originally $69.99 at Michael’s, but I got it during one of their grab bag events, and paid just $2 for it. Score!

Red Fair Trade Bracelet

I snagged this red beaded bracelet at a church sale for $3. They were raising money for a mission trip to Kenya, and this bracelet was made there. My daughter is going to love it.

Blue Lacy Top

I hit JCPenney last night armed with a $10 off $10 coupon, and came home with this pretty vintage-y top. It was originally $34, but had been marked down to $10.19, so I paid just $.19 for it. It’s very her.

Super Hero T-Shirts

These super hero t-shirts were a Michael’s clearance find. I paid $1.99 each for them. She’s at that age where she loves to wear stuff like this.

School T-Shirt

I have the design covered up on this shirt, but it has her school team on it. I found it at a yard sale for $1. It’ll be fun to wear on game days.

Navy Polka Dot Infinity Scarf

Both of my daughters love to wear infinity scarves (but my oldest daughter especially). This navy polka dot scarf will be a nice addition to her collection. I paid $.25 for it at a yard sale.

Art Pens

Art supplies always go over well in my house, so I know my daughter is going to love these colorful pens. I paid $1.99 for them at a thrift store.

Coloring Canvas

And she’s going to love this coloring canvas and set of Mr. Sketch scented crayons, too. I paid $.10 for the canvas (it was in a $2 Michael’s grab bag); the crayons were free (I used Amazon credits that I earned from a cashback site, and bought them during a flash sale).

Black Journals

These journals were also in a Michael’s grab bag. They have white paper inside, so I’m guessing she’ll use them as sketch pads. I paid $.20 for the two of them.

Klean Kanteen

This Klean Kanteen was a lucky yard sale find. It’s brand new, and I only paid $1 for it. It even came with a spare lid that we can use on one of our other Klean Kanteens.

Science Encyclopedia

I paid $1 for this DK Science Encyclopedia. It’ll make her inner nerd happy.

Honey Lotion

Lotions and potions are big in her world these days, so she’ll be thrilled to get this lotion ($1) …

Body Scrub

and this body scrub ($1).

Black Leggings

Like all teen girls, my daughter is obsessed with leggings. I snagged this pair at CVS for free after Extra Care Bucks.

Hedgehog Pajamas

It’s a tradition to let the girls open one present on Christmas Eve. That present is always pajamas. This year my oldest daughter will be receiving a pair of hedgehog pajamas.

Alright, now let’s take a look at her stocking stuffers …

Orange LED Flashlight

Sears has been offering all sorts of great freebies lately, and I’ve been taking advantage of them. These Craftsman LED worklights were free after Shop Your Way Rewards, so I grabbed some for stocking stuffers. They’ll be great to have up at the cabin and when they’re at summer camp.


I will also be tucking a couple pairs of socks into her stocking: a pair of liner socks (free after Shop Your Way points) and a pair of wool socks ($.10 at a church sale).

Owl Magnets

And she’ll be getting these owl magnets and sticky notes, too. I got them on clearance at CVS for $.29 each. They were 90% off.

Stocking Candy

I always buy my stocking candy during the after Christmas sales when it goes 90% off. That’s where the candy canes ($.50) and peppermint lollipop (.10) came from. The Batman PEZ and Pop Up were in a Michael’s grab bag ($.10 each).

I may tuck in another stocking stuffer or two if I come across some freebies, but otherwise, I’m done shopping for her.

Let me show you what I have for my youngest daughter (12) so far.

Disc Game

This Disc ‘N Slam game is her big gift. It was originally $39.99 at Michael’s, but I got it during a grab bag event, and paid $2 for it. It’ll be another fun addition to our collection of outdoor games.

Coloring  Book

This coloring book was a yard sale find. I paid $1 for it. Part of the first page is colored, but I know she won’t mind a bit. The Girl Scout journal was another yard sale find. I paid $.25 for it.

Canvas and Scented Crayons

Like her sister, she’ll also be receiving a coloring canvas ($.10) and a set of Mr. Sketch scented crayons (free).

Owl Water Bottle

This owl water bottle was a yard sale find. She’s always liked my glass water bottle; now she’ll have one of her own. It’s brand new, and I only paid $.50 for it! Pretty cool that I ended up finding a brand new water bottle for each of them.

Vintage Rose Necklace

She loves multi-tiered necklaces, and I think she’s going to flip over this one. It’s even vintage. I paid $1 for it at a yard sale.

Locker Chandelier

Locker accessories are a big deal in our house. Both of my girls have lockers at school and in their rooms, (Check out my youngest daughter’s room tour here), so they’re always on the look out for cool locker accessories. It’ll be interesting to see if she decides to use this locker chandelier at school or at home. It was originally $19.99 at Michael’s, but I got it in a grab bag for $.10.

Craft Supplies

These craft supplies also came out of Michael’s grab bags. Included in this assortment: Two rubber stamps with her first initial, a wooden letter with her first initial, a chalkboard sign and a bunch of rhinestone stickers. Total cost: $.50

Daisy Socks

I snagged these fun daisy socks at Sears. They were free after Shop Your Way rewards.

Red and White Journals

Like her sister, she’ll also be receiving two journals ($.20) …

Healing Garden Lotion

and a bottle of honey-scented lotion ($1).

Faux Fur Throw

But the gift she’s going to be most excited about is this faux fur throw. It’s at the top of her Christmas wish list. They typically sell for $40 and up, but I cashed in some of my Shop Your Way rewards at Sears, and got this one for free.

Star Pajamas

And these are her Christmas Eve pajamas. Free after Shop Your Way rewards.

Alright, let me show you what I’ll be tucking in her stocking …

Green LED Flashlight

She’ll be getting an LED flashlight, just like her sister (free after Shop Your Way rewards) …

Unicorn Magnets and Sticky Notes

a set of unicorn magnets and sticky notes ($.29 each on clearance at CVS) …

Black Socks

a pair of black liner socks (free after rewards) and a pair of reindeer socks (also free after rewards).

Stocking Stuffer Candy

Her stocking candy consists of candy canes and a lollipop purchased during after-Christmas sales ($.50 and $.10 respectively), a bag of Trolli Sour Brite Octupus (free after Extra Care Bucks) and a Snickers Christmas tree (free at Kroger).

Alright, now let me show you what I’ve gotten for my husband.

Men's Hiking Boots

As I already mentioned, Sears has had some killer free-after-Shop-Your-Way-rewards deals lately. These hiking boots were one of those deals. Can you believe I was able to get him free boots?

Socket Wrench Set

This Craftsman socket wrench set was also free after rewards.

Craftsman Tool Box

And so was this Craftsman tool box. I can’t wait to see what they offer next.

Thermos Can Insulator

I snagged this Thermos can insulator while it was on sale on Amazon, and paid for it with rewards that I earned through Coke Rewards. It’s designed to keep a soda can cold for 10 hours. We always bring our own drinks when we’re away from home, so it should come in handy.

Crossword Puzzle Book

My husband likes to work crossword puzzles when we’re waiting to pick the kids up, so I snagged this book of puzzles for $.50.

Hiking Trail Map

And I ordered a hiking trail map for the trails near our cabin. I paid for it with Amazon credits that I earned through rewards sites.

Now, on to his stocking stuffers …

Wool Socks

This two-pack of wool socks was a Cyber Week deal at Cabela’s. I paid $5.99. His wool socks are 17-years-old and in need of replacement.

Craftsman Worklight

And here’s another one of those Craftsman LED lights (yep, I got three of them for free).


I request K-cup samples throughout the year, and save them until Christmas. It’s always fun to fill his stocking with them.

Let me show you’ve what I’ve bought for my extended family.

Coach Scarf

I found this brand new Coach scarf at a Goodwill, and paid $.50 for it. My fashionista sister is going to love it.

Craftsman Drill Screenshot

We bought this Craftsman drill for her husband. They just moved into a new house, so it should get lots of use. We found it on clearance at Sears for $9.95, and paid for it with Shop Your Way Rewards that were about to expire. I just looked this drill up on, and it currently sells for $36.99!

Play Baking Set

This play baking set is for my niece. I paid $3 for it at an estate sale. My parents are giving her a kitchen set for Christmas, so I thought I’d help build out her set.

Cake Boss Decorating Turntable

And this Cake Boss decorating turntable is for my other sister, who loves to bake. It was another Michael’s grab bag item. I paid $2 for it.

Special Forces Book

This DK Special Forces book is for her husband. We paid $1 for it.

Thirty-One Backpack and Water Bottle

This Thirty-One backpack is for my other niece (4). We found it at a yard sale, already embroidered with her name! We paid $1 for it. I paired it with a Nalgene water bottle that I got for free from L.L. Bean with a $10 off $10 coupon.

Christmas DVD and Toy

My nephew (3) will be getting a Thomas Christmas movie ($1 at a yard sale), and a Pirate Pocket watch (.$50 at a yard sale). He’s big on pirate stuff.

Monogrammed Flag

I’m giving my mom this monogrammed flag ($3) at a thrift store …

Flannel and Socks

and I’m giving my dad a lined flannel shirt ($1 at a yard sale) and a pack of Snap On socks ($2 at the World’s Longest Yard Sale).

Lotion Sticks

I gave both of my sisters-in-law a homemade lotion stick. My mother-in-law received a lotion stick, plus one of my 2017 tea towel calendars. Total cost: $14.59

Snack Gift Basket

We gave my father-in-law a gift basket filled with his favorite snacks. It was a mix of stuff that we got for free, on sale and at the Amish salvage store. All told, it cost us $2.73 to put together.

Beauty Gift Basket

Our oldest niece loves lotions and potions, so we put together a spa gift basket for her.

Contents of Beauty Gift Basket

It included a pair of flip flops, several flip flop embellishments that we got in a Michael’s grab bag, plus loads of samples and trial-size beauty products that I got for free. It also includes several pouches of homemade bath salts that my youngest daughter made, a cosmetic bag, compact mirror and one of my homemade lotion sticks. We tucked everything in a Christmas flower pot that someone gave us a gift in once upon a time. Total cost: $1.72

Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe

Teenage nephews can be kind of tricky to shop for, so this year we decided to give them a pizza night. We made them three pizzas with their choice of toppings, and delivered them. Our cost: $8.09

We also have several friends that we’ll be giving gifts to.

Veggie Towel Closeup

We gave our friend, Jo, one of our veggie tea towel calendars …

Spice Cake Mix Recipe

plus a jar of our homemade spice cake mix. Total: $12.24

Diecast Model Car Kit

We gave our friend, Vic, a Diecast model car kit that we found at an estate sale, plus half a dozen Amish donuts. Yum! Our cost: $7.00.

Dog Toys

The girls picked out two dog toys for our friends’ dog, Annie, when we were at the Worlds’ Longest yard sale. They spent $1.50.

I keep lots of kid gifts in my gift closet, so the kids can “shop” for their friends.

My youngest daughter had three friends that she wanted to give gifts to this year.

Friend Gift Bags

She filled a small gift bag for each of them.

Gift Bag Contents

There are eight items in each bag – stickers, lip gloss, hair ties – that sort of thing. Mostly stuff that came from Michael’s grab bags, but a few freebies, too. They cost a total of $2.10 to put together.

Monogram Gift Basket

My oldest daughter usually puts together gifts for all of her friends, too; but this year she and her friends decided to save money by drawing names. She put together this gift basket for the friend that she got. It includes lots of monogrammed stuff – wooden letters, a mug, an ornament, stickers – plus Minion temporary tatoos and an Emoji Pez dispenser. All Michael’s grab bag stuff that she tucked inside a curb shopped basket. Total cost: $.90.

Homemade Brownies

And we gave our awesome mailman, who sometimes comes by the house three time a day to pick up our shop orders, a batch of homemade brownies. We like to stick treats out for him throughout the year. I’ll be really sad when he retires. Cost 1.61.

That brings my current total to $100.02.

I still have a few orders that I’m waiting on and some other gifts (for friend, teacher’s and family) that I need to add to this list. We’ll also be donating some things. I’ll post updates throughout the holiday season, so you can see how everything is coming together.

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  1. You found some really great stuff, Erin!

    I’ll have to pay more attention to the Shop Your Way rewards. Years ago, a friend alerted me to $5 Sears certificates that were in Post Office change of address packets and I cleaned up on many small Craftsman items then. Sadly the only Sears in my area is closing in January and we only have one Kmart left.

    1. Yep, there have been lots of freebies at both Sears and Kmart lately. Our Kmart closed earlier this year, but you can have Kmart stuff shipped to Sears (and vice versa) for free (so I’m still able to take advantage of those deals, too.

  2. That was very inspirational! I love the mix of new and thrifted. You work very hard at it. I need to kick it up a notch!

    1. You know, the interesting thing is that I don’t work hard at it. I just pick things up throughout the year whenever I see something that I know someone on my gift list will love. When Christmas rolls around I always seem to have plenty of gifts on hand. In fact, this will sound crazy, since I stick to such a low budget, but I don’t even keep track of my Christmas spending throughout the year. I added everything for the first time when I was writing that post yesterday. I always seem to come in under $100, though.

  3. Wow Erin!
    You did a fabulous job at getting all those deals. Maybe sometime you can share what the rewards points and other frugal ways you shop is all about. I am very ignorant of things like that. I do shop at thrift stores and some yard sales but don’t know much about Amazon rewards, Sears, etc., so would be very interested to learn how I can save that way.
    Thanks for sharing your shopping experience with us.
    Terry Woods
    South Texas

  4. Great job Erin! like Terry, I’d like to know secrets too on how to use rewards, credits, etc. I dont seem to get the great bargains you do on anything! So how about some lessons on things like that? I’m a senior, fixed income, and husband likes to eat (so groceries would be good), and since retirement, he still wants to spend like he’s got income! so yep, I need pointers on saving with coupons, rewards, credits, etc. Thanks! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO y’all!!!

    1. Alright, I’ll definitely make that happen 🙂 One thing about my bargain hunting: with my busy schedule, I don’t have tons of time to devote to chasing down deals, so the stuff that I do is fairly simple and easy to replicate. I’m happy to pull that together into some posts.

  5. Wow, what a good steward you are. I feel like a kindred spirit w/ ya in the aspect of keeping eyes open all along thru the year, for good stuff at a great price to stash away. Here’s praying you all have a lovely Christmas, and how debt-free it will be! 🙂

    1. Good question. I can’t remember if we’ve used it to make waffles yet or not, so I’m going to give it a go this week. Sounds like a good excuse to use some of the maple syrup that I got for Christmas 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes.

    2. Hey, Liz. I made waffles last night using my pancake mix. I just made the batter exactly as I would for pancakes, and they turned out great. I sprayed my waffle iron with cooking spray between each waffle, and I didn’t have any problem with sticking.

  6. Something that jumped out at me this year, Erin, is the number of cool gifts you found at Michael’s which don’t necessarily fit with what most people would expect to find at that store – the flag football set, the locker chandelier, the superhero t-shirts. Clearly, I need to visit Michael’s more often, and pay better attention when I do!

    1. Yep. Michael’s seems to sell a lot of seasonal merchandise that has nothing (or very little) to do with crafting. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on. It’s seems like the bulk of my gifts came from Michael’s and Sears this year. Every year is different. It’s just depends on who’s offering the best deals.

  7. you mentioned Amazon credits, flash sales, Shop your way rewards, shop your way points, extra care bucks etc. Can you please explain in detail how someone is able to obtain items for free or minimum cost. Thanks.

  8. just reading after going through my Christmas closet in July taking inventory! awesome job!! Please do one for 2017!!

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