Gift Giving on a Budget

Gift Giving on a Budget
We’ve all heard that it’s better to give than to receive. Although that may be true, if you’re not careful, gift giving can spiral out of control and leave us with a debt hangover. Without a plan or a budget, it’s easy to overspend. Remember, gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive.

With a little planning, gift giving can be stress free. Make a list of gift recipients. Take some time to think about each person that you are planning to give a gift to. What are their interests or passions? What do they need? Do they have a hobby? You get the idea. Once you’ve come up with a list of recipients, make a budget. Decide how much you’re going to spend on each person and stick to it. Don’t forget to include wrapping and shipping when making your gift budget.

Here are some ways to help you stay within your budget:

Shop All Year
Christmas shopping for the following year begins the day after Christmas. That’s the time to stock up on wrapping paper, gift tags, and boxes. Many times inexpensive tableware such as paper plates, cups, napkins, and tablecloths can be purchased after Christmas. You can purchase inexpensive stocking stuffers like crayons, markers, and pencils at Back-to-School sales. One of the best times to shop is after a holiday, like Valentine’s Day or Halloween. Children usually don’t care if their candy is wrapped in red or yellow. You can find some great gifts in gift shops while on vacation or in thrift stores. Many of the items in thrift stores are new or in like-new condition and you can pick them up for a fraction of the cost.

Gift Closet
This goes along with shopping for gifts all year long. When you find a really great deal on something, go ahead and purchase it. Find a place in your home to store these items; then, when you need a gift, you already have something on hand. Candles, baby items, and toiletry items bought on sale are great items to keep in your gift closet.

Make it Yourself
Some of the best gifts in the world are homemade. There are tons of do-it-yourself gift ideas on Pinterest. What about home baked goodies? Who doesn’t like homemade cookies, breads, or candies? You can make these in large batches and give them to several different family members.

Buy in Bulk
Just like you can bake in bulk, you can also buy in bulk. If you find a really great deal on an item, buy more than one. There’s no rule that says you can’t give the same gift to different friends or family members. You can also purchase gift sets and break them up,

Re-Gift
We’ve all received a gift that we won’t use. Why let it go to waste? Set it aside and give it to someone else. Just remember not to re-gift it to the person who gave it to you!

Give of Yourself
How about offering to babysit? Prepare a home cooked meal. Do yard work. There are lots of different ways that you can gift your time.

At Christmas, Lose the Stocking
In some families, stockings are a tradition, but they can also take a big bite out of your gift giving budget. If you’re low on funds, skip the stockings except for the little ones. If your family can’t imagine Christmas without a stocking, be creative. You can stuff your stockings with free samples, after holiday clearance items, or use coupons to get items for free or nearly free. There are some great Facebook Groups or coupon websites, such as www.southernsavers.com, where you can learn how to coupon and save money.

Remember, gift giving doesn’t have to be painful, stressful, or expensive. With a little preparation, you can give awesome gifts and not blow the budget.

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