How to give great gifts on a budget
With the holidays approaching, don’t let money worries get the best of you. Here are a few tips to help you stretch your money this holiday season.
- Shrink the gift list. Talk with those you exchange with and suggest either not exchanging gifts or observing lower dollar limits on gifts.
- If you and your spouse have a hard time buying for each other, agree to save your money for something big like home improvements or a special trip.
- Split the cost of a special gift with someone.
- Draw names at random for buying presents or limit gift giving to children only.
- Cut back on the number of toys you give your kids. Get them their most-wanted gift, and supplement it with smaller items.
- Buy an entire family a gift instead of one for each individual.
- Instead of giving money, give U.S. Savings bonds. They cost one half of the face value and will not be immediately spent, they encourage savings.
- Make an inexpensive gift look great with presentation; put it in a basket with ribbon woven through it. Use colorful tissue paper or cellophane for food gifts.
- Consider gifts that don’t cost a lot of out-of-pocket money. Giving a card to a young family which entitles them to emergency baby-sitting, laundry, or shirt ironing for a bachelor; a bi-monthly sightseeing tour for seniors, gardening, or housecleaning, etc.
- For inexpensive instant gifts, fill clean, empty spice bottles or other small jars with jellybeans, foil-wrapped chocolates or even brightly colored paper clips. Fill larger bottles with special pasta, small cookies or miniature soaps and tie on a shiny ribbon.
- Avoid throw-away gifts. Consider gifts that are edible, educational or wearable.
- At office parties and other holiday functions where you might be asked to provide a gift, suggest replacing gifts with non-perishable food for the homeless or less fortunate.
- Plan your trip ahead of time. Avoid impulse buying.
- Save on gas by shopping online. Look for free shipping.