A Flea Market Flipper’s Guide to Frugal Christmas Gift Shopping

A Flea Market Flipper’s Guide to Frugal Christmas Gift Shopping

Looking to save money on gifts this Christmas season so you can stick to your Christmas budget? Wanting to be more frugal now so you don’t get slammed with a huge credit card bill next month? You have come to the right place!

Christmas is my absolute FAVORITE time of year! I may or may not have been playing Christmas music around the house since September. I am not sure if it is the kid in me that just loves the season, (We all know that I am just big kid who refuses to grow up), or if it’s because it’s the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, or maybe it’s the time spent with family and friends that I love.  Oh, and the cookies. My wife makes THE BEST cookies for Christmas! I enjoy them all month long. 🙂

Now that I am a dad, Christmas is even more fun! I have always loved getting people great fun gifts, so now that I have kids to shop for I can find all the fun things. 🙂 I know many times it is the wives that do the shopping, but when it comes to Christmas shopping, I like to do more than Melissa does. She prefers not to spend much money and usually bakes things for people as gifts (which is slightly ironic since she is a personal trainer.)

The great thing is she is married to me- and we get 90% of our gifts from the flea market! You can’t get more Christmas budget friendly than that! We got all of our kid’s presents at the flea market last year – except maybe a couple dollar tree stocking stuffers – and this year will be the same thing! You can shop very frugally for your Christmas at your local flea market and thrift store and still get nice gifts that won’t break the bank! They probably will be more creative gifts too which are even more meaningful. Here are some tips on how to be frugal this Christmas and still get some great gifts.

Ideas to help you stick to your Christmas budget

Write out your list

Who are you shopping for? Honestly we don’t buy a ton of gifts for a lot of people. Melissa will put together little things for people and bake some cookies to give away, but we only mostly shop for our kids and a few close family and friends. Writing out your list helps you see who you need to buy for. Write out some ideas next to their name, then you can be on the lookout while out at the flea markets, thrift stores, or eBay.

Look for unique things

You obviously have to know who you are buying for, but I think people appreciate the time you put into thinking of a gift- more than what you spent on it. For example, maybe you have a sister who loves to grow plants. You could find an old antique pail or jar and fill it with her favorite flower plant. Or maybe you have a dad who loves tools- you can find any tool imaginable at most flea markets! Last year I got my wife one of those Instant Hot Water Dispensers faucets for the sink. She loves her French Press for coffee and tea, so it was a perfect gift. I found one still in the box at the flea market. I know that I sell a lot of my items on  but the flea market is also a great place to look for unique and useful items to keep! Especially around Christmas time!

Find new things for a discounted price

People think that thrift stores and flea markets are full of just used things, or that the flea market just has new cheap gift-shop type things, but that isn’t the case. Check out some of the toys displayed at our local flea market. New, in the box, ready to be wrapped.Christmas budget

Just look at all those Disney Princess and Frozen accessories still in the boxes! Perfect for little girls. Most things like these cost $10-$20 in the stores, and at the flea market you can pick them up for $3-$5.

Christmas Budget

This is a big part of why we can sick to a Christmas budget with kids. Check out how we saved almost $900 last year on their Christmas gifts!

Get kids outsideChristmas budget

Both my wife and I like to be active. So we like to buy gifts for our kids that get them outside. Of course we get them other toys too, but bikes are a must! And we spend very little on them. Last year we got a great Princess Bike for $2! This year we found another one for $20. So now the 2 year old will get the other one, and the 4 year old will get the new (used) one. Which brings me to my next point.


You may only be able to get away with this one when the kids are little. But we have been taking some things out of circulation that were my 4 year olds and re-wrapping it for the 2 year old this year. So instead of buying a new bike for both like I stated above, the new and old bike will both get big bows on them come Christmas morning. They also have been fighting over a pair of hello kitty slippers, so we took the pair, wrapped them for the two year old, and bought the 4 year old a new (used) pair. Please don’t feel bad for 2 year old little L. She is just fine with her little hand me downs. And we still got her some of her own new (used) things too. Melissa had also taken gifts that the baby got for his shower, and will re-wrap them for Christmas. Babies really don’t need anything anyway. Why spend more money? They have no idea what is going on with gifts, and will not remember it at all. A good teether and blanket and they are good to go. I will say that my oldest daughter got these Stacking Up Cups when she turned one, and they have been a favorite for all three kids now. They may just get wrapped back up for little man and out back under the tree this year. 🙂 Melissa goes through their toys and periodically donates some, but these always end up making the cut and staying. Great entertainment and learning for the little ones.

Focus on Experiences

In my opinion, experience gifts trump things any day. These might be on the higher price range for your Christmas budget, but they come with memories- which are priceless. Some ideas are year memberships to the zoo, aquarium, science center, or any other place to go have fun as a family. Another idea could be a pedicure (I actually enjoy going to get a pedicure with my wife – and no I don’t get my nails painted), or a massage – Everyone can appreciate one of those. One experience gift we are giving this year to my sister is a camping trip. We all enjoy going camping, so we will make arrangements to go away for a long weekend to somewhere fun. Camping doesn’t have to be expensive either. Another GREAT idea for families is to give them the gift of a a babysitter! It costs nothing to do so, but your friends that are parents would greatly appreciate a night out!

Bake Yummy Things

Whether you are a talented baker or not, it’s not too hard (according to Melissa) to make up a batch of cookies and give them to someone with a hand written note. They cost very little, but the time and thought of them are very nice! And most people don’t take the time to write a handwritten note anymore, so people appreciate that. Here are some of her Christmas cookies, add a handwritten note and put in a small clear Christmas bag and viola, a pretty and thoughtful gift that cost less than a dollar per person (very Christmas budget friendly).

Christmas budget

Capture Memories

This one is probably the least frugal ideas on the whole list, but it’s something we do every year so we have to include it in our Christmas budget. Photo gifts are always great gifts for grandparents and other family. Each year we do a calendar that Melissa makes online through CVS. They are pictures that correlate with the year before so we have anew memory each month. We get an extra one to use ourselves. It fun to look back on each month. She also makes a photo book of the year or of any specific trips we went on. She really likes to do trips that we went on with friends or family so we can get an extra copy to give them as a gift. She does all our books through Picaboo and usually waits until there is a coupon code available. They run specials quite frequently.

As you can probably tell, experiences and memories are the most important things for our family during the holidays. I also love watching the kids’ faces light up as they see the presents under the tree on Christmas morning, so toys and gifts are still at our house. But, everything under that tree was bought at the flea market, a thrift store, , Amazon, or the Dollar store, and you better believe it was at a discounted cost!

Grab our PDF Download of 8 Household Items You Should Be Saving Money On (If you aren’t already!) if you would like some more money-saving ideas. This will also add you to our flea market flips and eBay tip updates – we promise not to overcrowd your inbox, and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Related Christmas Budget Posts:

How We Saved $900 on Our Kids Christmas Gifts This Year

How We Saved $300 on Christmas Shopping

10 Kid Items You Should Never Pay Full-Price For

We want to hear from YOU!

Have you ever bought items at the flea market or thrift store to help you stick to your Christmas budget?

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Rob Stephenson
[email protected]

I grew up in Central Florida and have lived here my whole life. I first got into buying and selling items when I was 16 years old, and have been hooked ever since. It has mostly been a hobby that makes some extra cash, but sometimes it serves as my main income as well. I don't plan on stopping any time soon. I find too many fun toys for my family (or myself), and just love the whole process.

  • Emily Hopper
    Posted at 03:23h, 21 December Reply

    I always love the season of Christmas. It’s the best time to spend with my family, and with your post it provides a great way to enjoy it. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  • Cami
    Posted at 11:49h, 13 November Reply

    Thanks for the ideas. I always need some frugal items for acquaintances and such. Not much of a baker so I might try some of the other ideas.

  • Corporate gifts from petra
    Posted at 05:21h, 24 October Reply

    cool thanks for the tips re gifting is good thought

  • FrugalForward
    Posted at 21:13h, 01 February Reply

    I happened up your blog through Pinterest. We have VERY similar thoughts/view/opinions and goals and plans. Great read and nice inspiration. I just started my own blog adventure and flipping at http://www.FrugalForwad.com. We are also Floridians – and love traveling and camping with the kids. I am taking your ‘pay for vacation’ idea as inspiration for sure!!!!

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 02:37h, 02 February Reply

      That’s awesome!! We will have to keep in touch and follow each other’s adventures! 🙂 Do you have a specific type of item you sell?

  • Sandy
    Posted at 21:03h, 27 December Reply

    I love, love, love, thrift, flea market, yard sale, and estate sale shopping. My intent has always been to re-sell many of the items, but somehow it has always seemed too difficult. Somehow I have made mistakes in the listing of many of the items and ended up losing money selling items!

    Love your website, and just downloaded several of your articles.

    Thanks for so many great ideas, and all the encouragement you provide. Keep up the good work.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 01:01h, 28 December Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Sandy! What kinds of items would you tend to lose money on? Were you selling them on eBay? And thank you! We are happy to help!

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