Gift Giving on a Budget
By Ameerah C. Palacios
The average person spends more than $700 a year giving gifts. Think about your long list of friends and family members you want to give gifts for upcoming holidays, graduations, weddings and baby showers. The long list may end up being modified a bit because there are so many people. How do you deal with the pressure?
Well, here’s the big secret. You can give without giving up your sanity. Avoid the stress of gift giving by taking the time to plan. You can take advantage of the several low-cost and easy ways to give gifts that won’t break the bank.
Put a Budget on Each Gift. Look at what your goals are overall. Is there something you have been saving for yourself or a certain thing you want to buy? Type out what you believe you will likely spend on each gift you are buying. Know how much you can spend and highest you can go at the store. You can search online for what the average prices are for the gifts you have in mind so when you go to the store you aren’t surprised. You can also look for online deals and do comparison shopping so you get the best price. You may even surprise yourself and go under budget.
Use Your Talents. Sometimes we take our talents for granted, but we can use them to make other people very happy, especially for those expecting gifts. If you can cook or bake, make a great meal or bake a delicious treat hand wrapped and delivered. Scrapbooking or framing a collection of photos you took in the previous year is inexpensive yet very endearing. Are you good at creating crafts or drawing? You can put something together using a short list of items and putting your skills to use. Maybe you like homemade soaps or remedies – you can research how to create those. Even if you are not very talented you can give simple things, such as a new recipe or a poem. Use what you can do and make the most of those abilities.
Re-gift. Re-gifting is taking something that you own, dusting it off, and giving it as a gift to someone else. Common items that are re-gifted are electronics, clothes (in new condition), books, and ceramic items, tickets to upcoming events or electronic gift cards. Items such as homemade soaps do not age well and should not be re-gifted. Handmade items should also not be re-gifted because they are often customized and not meant for another person’s taste. Also, be careful not to re-gift something that you received from the person who gave you the gift in the first place. Change the wrapping around and give a personal inscription.
Give the Gift of Time. If you have friends or family members who have children, giving them a certificate of five hours of babysitting will be welcomed. For siblings, offering to do their chores for them will also be appreciated. Other ideas include doing laundry, yard work, taking care of pets or performing mundane, time-consuming tasks your friend of family member may not have the time for.
Staying on budget while giving your friends and family gifts may seem hard to do, but with enough planning and persistence, you can do it.