7 Ways to Save on Gifts this Holiday Season
The holidays are a joyous time of year, but they can bring unwanted stress when we feel the pressure of gift-giving that is so often expected. Here are a few ways to help you save this season.
1. Decide how much you can spend. If you have a $500 budget and ten people you need to give gifts, then you can only spend $50 a person. If some of these people are couples, combine their money and buy one gift worth $100 they will both enjoy. A $100 gift certificate to their favorite special restaurant? Great idea! Do not feel pressured to spend more than your budget.
2. Maybe it is time you cut down on who you give gifts to. Do you have a large family: aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, ten nieces and nephews? Where does it end?!? There comes a moment when you need to rein in the gifts. Communicate early in the fall if you decide it is time to decrease the quantity of gifts or reduce the amount you will spend (or if you plan on discontinuing gifts all together). This way others have time to digest the news, and you avoid that guilty feeling when the person says, “Ohhhh, I already purchased your gift!” Be firm in your decisions. If someone complains or tries to guilt you into giving “just one more time,” politely say no. I do recommend being honest and open. Explain you are on a budget and express to the other family members how much you appreciate them helping you stay within that budget. Putting boundaries around your family is important for the health of your financial situation. By the way, you might be surprised how others sigh in relief, because they have felt the same way!
3. Instead of a physical gift, create coupons for your TIME. A coupon to wash mom’s car, to organize dad’s tools, or to give your cousin a homemade manicure. What about treating your sister and brother-in-law to a romantic, home-cooked meal followed by free babysitting so they can enjoy a night on the town? There is no end to the creative options you have.
4. One way to increase your holiday spending allowance is to adjust your yearly budget. Look at areas you can cut to have a little extra money during this month. Do you normally eat out two nights a week? Tell yourself in October and November you will not go to a restaurant. Use the extra savings to increase your gift giving. There are always ways to reduce your spending, but you might need to get creative, and you will also need to practice a little self-discipline and self-sacrificing.
5. Did you know Christmas and Hanukkah come every December? Surprise! The holidays should not sneak up on you. They occur in the same month every year. If you plan ahead, you can find little jobs throughout the fall to earn extra cash. This could be as extreme as taking a second job, or you can focus on odd tasks people need help with during this busy season: dog walking, baby-sitting, yard work, gift wrapping, helping serve at private parties. These are just a few ideas.
6. Do you have old gift cards lying around you never used? Did you know you can sell them? Why not gather these up, cash them in, and increase your holiday budget? Here are two sites you can research: https://www.raise.com/ and https://www.giftdeals.com/
7. Save money on expensive wrapping paper. This can kill your budget! If you have children, a fun way to wrap gifts is to use their artwork. I used butcher paper when our son was young (you can also use the inside of paper grocery bags). I rolled the paper on the floor, and our son would draw whatever was on his mind. It is a great art project, and parents and grandparents love receiving homemade gifts from the children. (You can also choose to wrap the gift and then let your child highlight his artistic side. Whichever is easiest.) Tie the presents with natural twine you can find at the craft store, and you are set.
8. Never discount re-gifting! There are some rules you need to follow, though. Re-gifting does not mean giving junky gifts you received that you did not like. If you did not like it, the odds are other people will not either. Proper re-gifting means utilizing what you already have that you know will bring happiness to someone else. Afterall, the reason we give is to show our love and affection for someone else. So, make sure it is something the receiver will enjoy. Were you given two copies of a book by an author your sister loves? Then this would be a good re-gift for your sister. Whatever you give should be new and in its original box. You should not give away a gift that someone spent time and love giving to you. Example, no matter what my husband gives me, I would never re-gift it! This holds true with family heirlooms. Hang onto these, no matter what you might think of the item, because you have been entrusted with a piece of family history. Do not re-gift within the same circle of friends, and make sure you re-wrap the gift. You should treat your re-gift with as much love as you would something you purchased with your own money.
Remember when it comes to gifts, you are dealing with one of the 5 Love Languages. If a person’s highest love language is receiving gifts, you will need to be creative to avoid making them feel you are withholding your love. For the person whom gifts rank high on the love scale, remember it is not about the physical item as much as it is about what the gift means (the time you spent creating the gift, the thoughtfulness you invested). To learn more about the love languages, I highly recommend you read Gary Chapman’s books and review his other resources.
Above all else, remember why we celebrate this time of year. Do not let the commercialism of the season override the true meaning. It is in your control to keep the priorities of your family in check. Happy giving!
Together with you,