Where to Find Cheap Holiday Gifts
Are you already stressing about holiday gifts? What to buy the kids when you’re on a strict budget? You’re not alone. Americans will spend an average of $800 on holiday gifts this year, according to the National Retail Federation. It’s easy to let holiday gift buying spiral out of control unless you have a plan and a budget.
First, make a list and, yes, check it twice. Then, set a budget and don’t deviate from it. Finally, check prices. An app like PriceJump can help you compare items at stores near you. And do as much online shopping as you can. Many retailers will offer free holiday shipping or free site to store options. Coupon codes, too, can reduce or eliminate shipping fees as well as offer big discounts. Here are a few tried and true places to find the cheapest holiday gifts:
Local art. Support your local arts community by visiting a show, exhibition, fair or shop that features unknown artists. You will find inexpensive, unique objects d’art, pottery, paintings and jewelry.
Make it or bake it. There is nothing as welcome as a homemade or baked gift. Even slice-and-bake cookies are thoughtful and delicious. Look to Pinterest for ideas on how to make your own soap, mason jar cookie mixes or sewing projects. No matter how unexceptional it might be, remember that everything looks better when it is packaged nicely.
Buy second-hand. For some, old things are a newfound treasure. Scour antique stores for vintage paintings and purses, as well as midcentury modern clocks. Flea markets and thrift stores are other sources of goods that may even still have price tags on them. The same is true for garage sales. You may just find the perfect gift in someone else’s castoff.
Dollar stores. Put together a basket of handy, practical goodies that are often exactly the same items you’ll find in full-price retailers. You can also buy cheap wrapping paper, decorations and stocking stuffers.
Consignment shops. Not only can you source perfectly good items near you; there is also a big online consignment market to explore. Save more money by using coupon codes for e-retailers like YOOX, Rue La La and ThredUp.
Churches and charities. If you want the cheapest children’s gifts and you’re facing a financial crisis, see if you qualify for charitable aid. Many houses of worship sponsor toy drives, as well as charities such as the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots.
Go to the libraries. Libraries often hold fundraisers. You can pick up a new book for a dollar or two, a donated gift basket, or a one-of-a-kind trinket.
Getting through the holidays and managing expectations can be tough when money is tight, but with planning and careful budgeting, you can give a gift from the heart to those you care about the most.