When looking for ways to save money, even little things like gift giving can make a difference. Gifts are important. They let others know that you care and they are special to you, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Here’s what I changed about our gift giving in order to save money.
1. Shop early.
Before being conscious about what we spent on gifts, I would shop for the gifts a week or couple days before I needed to give it to the person. This caused me to spend extra money and feel pressured into buying a gift no matter what the price was. Often I would end up getting a gift card which usually meant I would spend a little more than if I had bought a gift.
Now that I am more concise about prices, I have started shopping 4-6 weeks before the gift is needed. This allows for time to shop and compare prices. I also don’t feel pressured into buying something that is over my budget. Sometimes it will take several weeks to find the right gift, but by that time I have put lots of thought into it and found something great at the price I want to spend.
2. Use coupons or ask for a discount.
My favorite place to use coupons is JCPenny’s. I signed up for their customer reward card (it’s not a credit card), so that I could get on their mailing list. Every other month they will mail coupons for $10 off of a $10 purchase and $10 off of a $25 purchase. Those are some great coupons! At Christmas time they sent out the coupons twice a month in November and December. I was able to use the coupons on some great gifts. Some stores will even give you a discount if you just ask them if there are any specials or discounts available. It never hurts to ask!
3. Don’t get stuck on a price.
My husband’s side of the family loves to give gifts. Which is great, but it is understood that each gift is suppose to cost between $20-30, and for the longest time I was always careful to spend a minimum of $20. I felt so guilty the first time I gave a gift that was $17, three dollars below the “minimum”.
I felt like a lair and a fake.
I was sure that the gifted would be able to tell that I had short changed her $3 on her gift.
I was sure lightening was going to strike me at any moment!
But guess what!? None of that happened. In fact, she loved her gift and was very much appreciative of it. I have seen her use it several times since then. Since that day, I have been much more concerned with the practicality and meaning of the gift rather than the price. Because it is the gift that you are giving, not the price tag.
4. Give homemade gifts when appropriate.
There are certain people that will appreciate a homemade gift more than others. You have to know the recipient and what they will use or want. There are a ton of DIY gift ideas floating around on the internet, but does your recipient really need another set of coasters or a painted mug? If they do, then go ahead and make it for them, but if not, then don’t waste your time and money on a gift that you know will not be used.
I have found that the best homemade gifts are food! My parents like to bake bread in their bread machine especially on snow days. Every once in awhile I will gift them with the ingredients needed for a bread recipe along with the instructions.
Maybe you know someone who loves popcorn and can make popcorn seasonings to give along with popcorn seeds. Do you know someone who loves to grill, how about making a special marinade or dry rub. Do you know someone who loves to eat healthy? How about homemade granola, trail mix, or seasoned nuts. Do you know someone who loves sweets? These caramel candies are a great recipe.
5. Lower expectations.
My husband and I used to think that we had to spend a lot of money on gifts for each other to show that we really loved each other, but that just isn’t the case. For example, on Valentine’s Day my husband will get me a bag of my favorite candy or mint Oreos that I get all to myself! I’d rather have something like that than overpriced roses or specialty chocolates just because that is what is expected on Valentine’s Day.
6. Save on Gift Wrapping.
Reuse gift bags and boxes when possible. I keep and reuse gift bags as long as they aren’t wrinkled or ripped.
When I have needed wedding wrapping paper, new gift bags, or tissue paper, I always go to Dollar Tree. They have a great selection of gift wrapping, and of course it is only a buck!
Do you have any special tips for saving money on gifts? I’d love to hear!