Recently I helped a friend slash her budget for gifts by about 90%. I’ve already shared some ways I do this in the 100 Ways To Save Series, but thought I’d tackle a few ideas in-depth here.
1. Budget for gifts – I always keep a jar with a weekly contribution towards gifts! Other people have a bank account with the money for gifts through the year including holidays.
2. Prioritize! There aren’t many things I found difficult about living in North America, but one I did was the constant gift buying for colleagues, the engagement, wedding & baby showers etc. Personally I really try to prioritize who I buy for and generally focus on people with less and adoption celebrations as they are often overlooked!
3. Make something - a blanket, scarf, pillow cases, dresses, the possibilities are endless!
4. Cook or bake something! I’ve made jams, muffins, cookies, hot chocolate mixes, breads, soups and chutney as gifts! Get organized and do it while you menu plan & freezer cook!
5. Offer a service! From a pretend coupon for a day’s cleaning to cutting the lawn 4x or free baby-sitting, these gifts are free, show service & love and may just be the kindness someone needs!
6. Keep a gifts drawer! This is a brilliant way to save money – buying last minute for forgotten Birthdays or hostess gifts adds up, keeping a drawer where you have instant access to nice gifts is a good way to ensure you never spend in a rush!
7. Shop the sales - I generally stock up my gifts drawer in the after Christmas sales. From great gifts at the Body Shop to Debenhams or Monsoon, there are brilliant gifts marked down to 75% off! I keep things like jewelry, body products, gift vouchers and children’s craft kits ready & waiting! Having these also makes it easier to bless someone in a difficult situation!
8. Go off the beaten track - one off shops, fairtrade shops, craft markets, Church fairs are all great places to find unique gifts!
9. Find something that works & stick to it! When I was a child my mom and I made up stationery kits for friend’s parties – these were a box with fun pencils, pens, stickers, tiny puzzle books etc. I gave these away at all the parties I went to when I was in Grade 4 and 5 and I remember kids in my school actually coming up to me and saying “‘I’ll invite you to my party if you bring me one of those cool pencil kits”.
10. Give charity gifts – from providing livestock to families in developing countries to buying mosquito nets or trees to plant. This is such a way to give to the less fortunate rather than buy for the sake of it!
How do you ensure you give in love while sticking to a budget?