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How to Tackle Gift Giving on a Budget

Posted by MoneyKey on July 8, 2019
gift giving on a budget

Seeing the look of joy on someone’s face when you hand them a gift you know they’ll love can be a wonderful feeling, but that feeling might start to fade away when you take a look at your bank account after a long slew of holidays. And if you’re living on a tight budget, you might start to feel the cost of gift giving even more if they start eating into your grocery bills for the next month.

The truth is, if you’re feeling the financial strain of gift giving, you’re not the only one. Whether someone has had to financially support other members of their family, is a student struggling to keep up with tuition payments, or has just lost their job, there’s a good chance that other people in your life can empathize with your situation.

But even though you may feel a pressure to shell out big dollars and gifts throughout the year, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it might be time to reconsider these expectations and start looking for ways to keep your gift giving under budget.

Here are five ways to deal with gift giving when you’re on a tight budget.

Be honest about your situation

If you’re working within the confines of a tight budget, it’s okay to talk to the people close to you about your situation when the gift giving season rolls around. If they’re really your friends, they should be able to understand of your situation. By simply being honest, you can lift the significant weight of gift giving off your shoulders and you may even find that some of your friends and family are in a similar position.

If you plan on having this discussion with those around you, it may be a good idea talk about it well in advance. For example, if you want to avoid the gift giving craziness that usually accompanies Christmas, talk to friends and family about the your situation in the summer. This way, it’ll feel planned out and show that you’ve thought about it in advance, and it’s not just a last-minute panic move to avoid spending money on gifts.

be honest with friends to reduce cost of gift giving

When it comes time to have this conversation, be honest about your situation and express how much you care about the other person. Make a pledge to spend more time together, go on hikes, walks, and generally make more of an effort to plan fun outings.

Breaking the tradition of gift giving doesn’t just have to be in the name of general savings. If you want to discuss the idea of not exchanging gifts with your significant other, give them a specific reason. Maybe you’re saving up for a vacation and want to put the money you’d spending on gifts towards your trip instead. Or maybe you have to pay off debt, start an emergency fund, or save up for a big purchase. Whatever it is, the idea is that your decision might carry more weight if the other person understands why you’re making that decision. They may even embrace the opportunity to catch a break when it comes to gift giving.

Break down the components of a gift basket

What’s the number one appeal to receiving a gift basket? For most, it’s that you’re getting multiple gifts in one! With this in mind, when you’re on the giving end and you have a number of people you want to give gifts to without breaking the bank, you may be able to save money by getting one big gift basket and breaking it up to make smaller gifts.

Look for a gift basket with relatively neutral items and break it up into smaller components. Buy or make a card for each person to add an individualized touch to each gift. And if you can manage to find a gift basket on sale, even better. Using this gift giving strategy instead of buying all of these items individually might be able to save you some money, and no one receiving these gifts ever needs to know where their gift came from.

Turn clutter into gifts

Are you moving to a new house and want to get rid of some old items to make the move easier? Maybe you just want to do a thorough cleanse and purge your home of all its clutter? Well before you start throwing these unused items away, take this chance to see if you can re-use any of these things to cross some names off your gift giving list.

If you have kitchen appliances you don’t use or have more than one of, books you’ve already read, items you’ve gotten from conferences or events, or anything you don’t use that could be of value to someone, see if there’s anyone in your life that you think would get some use out of any of these items. Tell them why this item made you think of them to attach some personal significance to it. This way, you can show your friends and family that you really thought of them while simultaneously cutting down on the cost of your gift giving and de-cluttering your home.

And these items don’t have to be expensive or fancy to be enjoyed. You can use things like:

  • Kitchen appliances
  • Gently used clothing
  • Books
  • Makeup samples
  • Boxes of chocolate  

If you see something lying around you don’t use and that’s still in good condition, do your best to incorporate it into your gift giving instead of throwing it out!

Find gently used items

Even if an item is used, it doesn’t mean it’s suddenly lost all it’s value. You can still find previously used items that can make great gifts, and best of all, they’ll be more affordable than getting the same item brand new.

If it’s important that you give certain people physical items instead of planning a specific outing to do with them, start your search for cheap gifts at a thrift store to find some great used items instead of something new.

find used items for gift giving

In order to get the most out of your trip to the thrift store, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Look for thrift stores in affluent neighborhoods in order to find great deals on designer clothes
  • Find out if you’re local thrift store has recurring or upcoming discount days
  • Find out when they restock their shelves to have your first pick at the best items
  • Know what to avoid, like damaged or stained items
  • Try to trade in your old items for store credit or cash to reduce the cost of your purchases

A thrift store can be a great place to find deals on hidden gems, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Make gifts yourself

If you’re tight on funds and want to put a personal touch on your gift giving, making your gifts yourself might be a good route to go. Try to think of any of your hobbies or skills that you can put to use. Maybe you like writing, painting, knitting, or gardening. Whatever it is, using these skills to make something personal and special for family and friends can often mean more than if you were to buy them a gift. Remember, it’s the thought that counts!

Your gift giving doesn’t need to break the bank

As much as you may love the feeling of giving someone the perfect gift, this doesn’t always come cheap. And when you’re living on a tight budget and trying to manage to find gifts for birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries, these joyous occasions might start to become more stressful than anything else. But gift giving doesn’t have to be an expensive chore that you dread!

Use the tips we’ve listed here to cut back on the cost of gifts, and do your best to reduce your stress around the holiday season!

Do you have any tips to reduce the cost of gift giving? Share below!


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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