Christmas is fast approaching and if you don’t want to end up raiding the local dollar store with a hundred other people at the last minute, start planning now! Here are some great stocking stuffer ideas on a budget.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas on a budget - stockings hanging over a fireplace shown

1) Save Some Halloween Candy

Last year, my 4 little ones came home from trick-or-treating and I was shocked at how much candy they had.

The thought occurred to me that I should take some candy and save it back for Christmas stockings. I did, and absolutely no one noticed.

I grabbed in multiples of 4, as I have 4 kids. So if there were lots of Tootsie rolls, I grabbed 16. Or if there were multiple candy bars of the same kind, I grabbed those. I was careful not to take anything with bats or pumpkins on it.

I snatched it up, placed it in a plastic bag, and put it with my Christmas gift stockpile. It worked like a charm and when Christmas came, I added a few Santa chocolates and viola!

Use halloween candy in your child's stocking - halloween bucket overflowing with candy is shown

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2) Fill the Stockings with Inexpensive Snack items

Here’s a few cheap non-candy snack item ideas we often place in our stockings: clementine oranges, apples, raisins, granola bars, fruit snacks, nuts, and individual size cracker or cookie packages.

I love that these items are actually filling and for the most part nutritional. Also, there’s something so special and timeless about putting an orange in the stocking.

Along this same thought, I’ve heard that some people place breakfast items in their child’s stocking. They put toaster pastries, cereal bars, small boxes of cereal, and fruit in the stocking, thus creating “Christmas Breakfast.”

Give kids snack items or breakfast items in their stocking
Stocking stuffer ideas on a budget - stockings shown

3) Give them Items that they Need

Whenever possible, we try to fill the stockings with things our kids actually need. Sometimes we give them hair accessories, toothbrushes, flashlights, markers, nail polish, fun pillowcases, utensils, cups, water bottles, blankets, novelty socks, mittens, or hats.

We try to choose items they will be both delighted by and find useful. I plan to give all of my kids a new spin toothbrush this year!

Give them items they need like health items. - toothbrush shown

4) Shop Year Round

The absolute best time to buy toys for your child is right after Christmas or in late July/August. If you are willing to take the time to look, you can find amazing items at 60-70% off.

The key to saving money during these sales is to focus on who you are buying for. Otherwise, you will end up with a stockpile of gifts that don’t really suit anyone on your shopping list.

In the past, I’ve found Paw Patrol toys, Legos, art supplies, train tracks, and Melissa & Doug toys for 60-70% off. It’s a great way to jump start your holiday shopping and find inexpensive items for their stockings.

5) Set a reasonable budget and stick to it

When it comes to stocking stuffers, you set the expectations. Everyone’s family is different and has different traditions. Don’t feel like you have to do the same thing as someone else.

At our house, Santa brings our children one large surprise toy item, a book, and puts various items as I mentioned above in their stocking. I don’t try to “fill” the stocking to the top. Depending on the size of the stocking, that could be an outrageous amount of stuff.

Instead, I try to keep the stocking stuffers within a reasonable budget while making sure that the items I choose are useful or delicious!

Stocking stuffer ideas that will save you money!

And one last thought! If you plan ahead, you can buy fun items on Etsy or at local craft shows, getting your Christmas shopping completed AND supporting small businesses. A true win-win!

I hope you found some great stocking stuffer ideas on a budget! Leave me a note in the comments if you have ideas for saving money on stocking stuffers!

Other Holiday Articles:

How to Tell Your Child the Truth about Santa

All Holiday Gift Guides

Practical Ideas to have a Merry Christmas on a Budget - candy background