14 Savings Tips for Holiday Gift-Giving
Gift giving during the holiday season can be tricky. The pressure, the obligations, the crowds, the uncertainties, and there is always that one person who is just so incredibly difficult to buy for. There are endless family gatherings, church plays, school concerts and a plethora of other commitments this time of year, so shopping for your loved ones can not only be stressful, but each year it seems to get more and more expensive. This year, don’t be afraid to change things up, especially if it will save you money.
- Instead of buying something for every single person on your list, consult with your family and friends and draw names. Not only can you focus on one really great gift for someone you love, but it significantly reduces the amount of money you are expected to spend.
- Determine a reasonable budget for each person you intend to buy for, and stick to it! A lot of really great and practical gifts can be purchased for less than $20.
- Channel your inner craft diva and make your own gifts instead of spending a lot of money on store bought goods. Learn how to knit or crochet. Bake cookies. Assemble mixes and meals in a jar. Paint a picture. Customize ornaments. The internet offers endless ideas for DIY gifts that certainly won’t break the bank.
- Consider giving gifts of experiences rather than a tangible item. Plan a date night or family outing. Organize a day of fun in your area with cost effective activities like hiking, a picnic or fishing.
- Give family gifts rather than individual items. For example, a fruit basket or gift certificate can be enjoyed by several people at the same time and is often much more cost effective than buying for each family member separately. Another option for gifting to families would be board games or a movie collection.
- If you prefer to avoid crowds this time of year, consider ordering your gifts from the same distributor or manufacturer. Offer your family members a catalog or website from which they can create a wish list. Placing one order will not only save you the time and effort of visiting a retail store, but it will also save you on shipping costs!
- Contribute a small amount of money each month throughout the year to a holiday spending account so the burden of this season isn’t felt all at once.
- Consider using a cash back credit card on your regular or monthly purchases and contribute those returns to your holiday shopping list.
- Sign up for online rebates and reward programs so any of your purchases will rack up points that can be redeemed for other merchandise or discounts.
- Check out your local deal sites like Living Social and Groupon for massive discounts on an array of items and experiences.
- If someone on your list has requested a specific item, don’t be afraid to shop consignment sales, browse online for-sale listings, or even area yard sales.
- Keep your eye out for discounted gift cards and either shop with those or give them away as gifts.
- Consider offering a “service” to your friends and family. Wash their car, clean their house, come over and cook a meal for them. Your time is priceless, and often, acts of service can be far more meaningful than a sweatshirt or scarf.
- Consult with your family and instead of buying gifts, consider pitching in and taking a mini vacation for a long weekend. Again, time spent together is invaluable and far more memorable than something in a box.
By thinking outside of the box and planning ahead this holiday season, you can not only significantly reduce your spending, but the amount of stress that is often associated with this chaotic time of year.