Budget Bzzzz: Holiday Gift-Giving

The holiday season is upon us! During this time of year, people are making plans for their annual traditions, as well as lists for all the cooking and baking to be done and the gifts to be bought. However, the holidays can also be a time for expenses to rack up, especially when it comes to buying presents for everyone. There is a present for your mom, dad, your child’s teacher, everyone in your book club, your mailman – the list goes on and on. However, there are ways to be budget-friendly during the holidays and still make sure everyone on your gift list is remembered.

First things first – know your budget and don’t overspend. Have a set limit for how much you’ll spend on a certain gift and be sure to keep a running log of all your purchases. Always make a detailed list with the person’s name, how much you want to spend, and what gift you would like to buy. If you are giving presents to a group of friends, such as your kid’s teachers or coaches, think about spending the same amount or gifting the same items. For example, buy items in bulk and divide into individual presents. Think of the idea of nail kits in a mason jar for friends. You can purchase a 12 pack of mason jars at Walmart for around $8.00. Then, go to Dollar Tree and buy a bag of cotton balls (100 count), nail polish, and packs of nail files (4 per pack). If you are making 12 gifts, your overall cost is $24.00, meaning each individual present is around $2.00. Obviously, this will change depending on the quantity of gifts needed, but you get the picture.

Another tip to lessen your holiday spending is by creating DIY presents or by gifting services. Parents, grandparents, and other family members love handmade items. Plus, this is a chance for you and your kids to release your creative side. Some examples are homemade jewelry, paintings and drawings, a cookbook filled with family recipes, a scrapbook filled with family photos, pillows, and more. A quick online search can help you find the perfect idea for your loved ones. Baked goods are another perfect way to spread holiday cheer without breaking the bank. This type of gift is good for when you plan on giving to groups or teachers, mailmen, doctors, veterinarians, and hair stylists. Again, buy your ingredients in bulk and divide among everyone. Lastly, think of different services you can provide to someone. This could be a coupon for mowing their lawn in the spring, running their errands for an afternoon, or walking their dog every day for a week. These gifts are ideal for neighbors, elderly people, and others who have busy schedules.

Lastly, it pays to do your research and pre-shop online before hitting the stores. Browse your favorite local stores’ websites and see what deals and coupons are available. In addition, this helps you narrow down your shopping list to a few stores, making your transportation and gas costs less. Also, don’t fear shopping online. Some retailers offer online only deals, free-shipping, and no-hassle return policies. They may also have special shopping days, online or in-store, for you to take advantage of to add more money back into your wallet. While searching online, you may come across a coupon or great deal for an “experience” present. Experience presents are trips, special day events, etc. that you give in place of a tangible gift. For example, I am giving my mom and sister tickets to Christmas at Biltmore for Christmas this year (don’t worry, they already know about the present and the surprise won’t be ruined when they read this article). For this experience present, I purchased the tickets ahead of time and was able to use an online deal. You can do this for many different attractions, entertainment, and trips. These experiences don’t have to happen around Christmas; they can happen months later. However, be sure to search for deals before making your purchase. The daily deal website, Groupon, is a great place to go to, as well as Living Social.

The holidays are a wonderful time to make memories with your family and friends. Don’t let the fear of overspending ruin your spirit. Remember, there are ways to give budget-friendly presents that will warm anyone’s heart.