10 Easy Ways to Stick to Your Holiday Gift Budget

With the approaching holiday gift-giving season comes family gatherings, festivities, and traditions. Whether you’re planning on giving gifts to family, friends, co-workers, attending office parties, holiday-themed school activities, or other holiday events, doing your holiday shopping on a budget will help you manage the extra expenses that come with the holidays.

So, how do you begin holiday shopping on a budget? By following these 10 easy and surefire ways to keep your holiday spirit going while giving at the same time!

1. Create a budget that you know will work for you.

Having a budget and a spending plan doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be sacrificing taste, quality, or style when it comes to choosing and purchasing the right gift. What having a budget does mean is that you may be looking for gifts in new and different places, such as a store’s clearance aisle, waiting for sales, and performing online comparison shopping. Now, before you’re tempted to go on a holiday shopping spree, decide on a firm and fixed monetary amount that you will be comfortable spending over the holidays and resolve to sticking with it.

2. Organize and maintain a gift-giving list.

Make a list of everyone you’d like to include on your list. Do you have a large extended or a smaller family? Do you usually just give gifts to the kids? How about friends and neighbors, teachers and coaches, your handyman and your mail carrier? If creating your gift-giving list is making you feel overwhelmed emotionally and financially, you might want to reconsider whom to include and give only what you can afford. For example, your parents, your children, or a special teacher might be a priority.

3. Tap into your creative side.

There’s nothing like receiving handmade gifts from the heart. Learn how to make homemade candles, soaps, or crafts. Get baking and give holiday cookies, cakes, and pastries. If that isn’t your style, do you have other talents, such as drawing, painting, sculpting, taking photographs, or singing? Giving from your heart creates a unique gift that can’t be duplicated and that will be cherished forever.

4. Give the gift of experience.

Instead of opening a plethora of gifts and throwing out the wrapping paper and bows, consider giving lighter this year. In lieu of giving material items as gifts, you might consider giving gifts of experiences, such as movie gift cards, amusement park passes, event tickets, or lessons for music, art or sports that will last for months to come.

5. Create new memories and traditions.

Is there a new dish that everyone wants to try, or a new game that you’d like to learn how to play? Discuss and create new ways to connect with your loved ones during the holidays in lieu of gift giving with the extended family. Research new traditions or create ones of your own. You might all go sledding or tobogganing with hot cocoa and marshmallows afterwards next to a warm, friendly fire.

6. Gifts cards, anyone?

Gift cards are an inexpensive easy way to make any recipient overjoyed. Everyone appreciates and can always use a grocery or gas gift card. Gift cards to craft stores, book stores, coffee shops, restaurants, or retailers are always welcomed, too. Purchasing gift cards is also convenient and inexpensive. When it comes to giving gift cards, the icing on the cake is that no gift-wrapping is involved. You simply give them in a holiday card and your holiday gift-giving is complete.

7. Become a bargain hunter.

There’s no time like the present to start being on the lookout for unique gifts. Don’t wait to shop until Black Friday. Always look for new gift-giving opportunities for your loved ones. Thrift and boutique stores, estate sales, and yard sales are great places to spot unique items, such as household goods, unusual books, knick knacks, and even brand new or gently-used apparel, purses, jackets, books, games, and toys. Many people purchase items on impulse and never use them, providing you with new, unique, and inexpensive gift-giving options.

8. Make a donation in your loved one’s name.

There’s nothing like showing someone how special they are by making a charitable donation in their name. Not only is the charity or organization receiving a monetary gift, you’re also letting the gift recipient know that you recognize a cause that is special to their heart.

9. Ask for gifts for others from others.

When you’re on the receiving end of the gift line, you might ask for donations for others as well. When your friends or family ask you what you would like to receive, consider telling them to donate books to a local library, clothing for a family in need, or canned goods for the local food bank. You might even ask them to volunteer their time with you for a local cause or at a local event that helps and serves others.

10. Help others with your special talents and skills.

You might consider giving out “coupons” to your gift recipients that highlight your special skills. If you enjoy working with children, offer to babysit so the parents can have a night out on the town to rejuvenate. Or, you can offer to do housework or yardwork for those with busy schedules or who are elderly.

Remember that gift-giving isn’t just about going to the store, buying an item, and wrapping it in a box with a bow. It’s about giving yourself, and your own special talents, as a way of telling the recipient “thank you” and “you’re special.” Happy Holidays!

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