One of the most difficult parts of the holiday season is all the extra spending that seems to happen. Buying Christmas gifts for everyone on your list can start to add up. The good news, though, is that things don’t have to get out of hand. After all, the amount you spend on a gift isn’t a true reflection of your love. You can have a frugal holiday season and still give thoughtful gifts. Here are some gift-giving strategies for the frugal minded.
One of the best ways to help everyone save money on Christmas gifts is to have a gift exchange. You draw someone else’s name out of a hat, and get that person a gift. You can put a dollar limit on it as well, depending on what is affordable to most family members. This can be an especially helpful idea for large families, or those who exchange gifts with extended family members.
One tenet of frugal living is to make things yourself. This can include Christmas gifts. My husband’s sister is quite artistic, and painted a large sand dollar with a cool picture of a dragon for me. It’s an awesome gift that I enjoy every day. Other homemade gifts can include baked goods, a memory book, and craft items. Write a note to go with the gift to add an even more personal touch.
My mother’s brother’s family always gave us a family gift for Christmas, and we sent them one. This is a way to save, since you can buy a gift meant for everyone, rather than buying individual gifts. A board game that the family can play together is one great idea. You can also create a gift basket for the whole family. Movie night baskets are fairly inexpensive to put together, as are gift baskets with assorted cookies. This principle also works for couples.
Gift cards are generally a bad idea, since many people don’t like giving low dollar amounts, such as $5. This can mean buying several gift cards worth more than you would like. However, you can get a larger denomination gift card for a couple or family. Another thing you can do is use sites like CityDeals.com and Gift Card Granny to purchase discount gift cards. You can find $25 gift cards for between $10 and $20. It’s a great way to give a great gift while retaining your frugality.
It is fairly easy to stuff a stocking with frugality. You can visit dollar stores for great stocking stuffers, and even look at the clearance sections of major retailers. Stores like WalMart and Target often have small clearance items for $2 or less. You can use these as great stocking stuffers.
In the end, it’s possible to plan a frugal Christmas and stick to a gift budget. You may need to think ahead, and consider some alternative strategies, but there is no reason why you can’t give thoughtful and appreciated gifts and while maintaining a frugal lifestyle.