Gifts are important, but so are your finances. We may like to spend all the money we have (or don’t have) on the people we love, but reality means that we have to keep our finances in mind. Here are some ways to save money on gifts.
Let’s not kid ourselves. There is no magic way to save money on gifts. There is no way to have an extensive gift list and buy the perfect gift, all on a minuscule budget. To REALLY save TONS of money on gifts, you have to do the following:
- Give fewer gifts
- Give smaller gifts.
Those two should be the main focus when trying to cut down on holiday expenses. See if you can get anyone in your life to agree on a “no gift exchange” rule. Adults are usually more amenable to the “buy fewer gifts” type of agreement. Trying it with an 8-year-old will probably backfire.
We should all reduce the amount of materialism that happens around the holidays. But if you are going to disappoint your children for life or cause an irreparable family rift, then you can’t just skip presents or buy something from the dollar store.
If you need to save money on gifts, don’t do it in a way that will ruin any other part of your life. Of course, this all depends on the culture and lifestyle you identify with—so much of what we do is affected by our culture and social circle.
Here are some ideas that can help you save some money on gifts. If you are lucky and diligent, then this may help you tremendously. The best way to tackle overspending is to make a STRICT budget and really stick to it. You can decide how much you will spend per person or total and then really stick to it. I use the cash envelope system to save money in a special savings account all year round for the gifts I want to give.
Finding meaningful gifts for everyone on a tight budget is not easy. How much money you can and should spend on gifts for your family and friends depends on how much money you have and how much your family values gifts.
You shouldn’t be taking money from your emergency fund to pay for gifts for your extended family. There are so many cute and easy DIY gifts that are very cheap to make and are extremely meaningful. That is why Pinterest was invented, right?
If you are already at the gift-buying point and do not have enough saved, then consider getting a side hustle to cover the shortfall.
How To Save Money on Gifts
We all want to find and give the perfect gift, and sometimes, we have in our heads exactly what that gift should be. Be open. If the item you are searching for is out of your price range or is never going on sale, then it’s time to think of other options.
Shop Sales Mindfully
Black Friday sales and per-holiday sales often have steep discounts on some amazing items. But keep in mind that the price you see “on sale” could have been manipulated to seem to be a steeper discount than it actually is.
While Black Friday is a great day to do some shopping and a great time to find deals, don’t buy it just because it’s on “sale”– make sure you are actually getting it for cheaper.
There is nothing wrong with getting something off the clearance rack. Small children, in particular, don’t usually care if something is the latest and greatest. A toy is a toy, and a book is a book.
For more pricey gifts, see if chipping in with someone else can save you some money (and time). Maybe a group of siblings wants to get together to get something nicer for their parents. If done correctly, this can lower individual costs, and sometimes, the combined gift is much nicer than what you could have afforded on your own.
Give a Family Gift
If you have a family with many kids, maybe consider buying a family gift instead of individual gifts. If you do this properly, it can save you some money. Consider a gift that everyone will enjoy, for example, a large toy or game, or an experience that they can all do together- a membership to a museum or zoo (for example).
DIY or Do It Simple
There are so many meaningful gifts that can be given that are DIY or partial DIY. Picture books, magnets, and framed poems can all be lovely, meaningful gifts that don’t break the bank. With a little creativity and time, you can create some truly memorable items that probably will be cherished for much longer than that Starbucks gift card.
Skip the Babies
Babies don’t need presents! If you must give them a gift, then give them something small or cheap. The Dollar Store or Target dollar section works well for this. They really, really don’t need something big, and it is honestly a waste of money.
Amazon is currently offering free shipping for all shoppers and has rolled out a targeted program allowing Prime members to have all their items ship at once, allowing add-on items to ship without a $25 minimum. Keep on scanning deal sites and flash sales to score some great deals.
Use Deal Sites
There are so many blogs, Twitter accounts, and Instagram pages that are devoted to finding you great deals. Check these every day and sign up for alerts to get the limited-time offers that are available.
Use Ebates/Rakuten or Other Cashback Sites
Rakuten can give you some awesome cashback perks. Warning: don’t spend more money because you think you will be getting cashback as the amount is not that large. But it does add up, especially if you do a lot of shopping online. It’s also always nice to get a check a few weeks after the holidays are over.
Download Coupon Apps
Coupon apps are a great way to save money on your purchases and gifts. Download all the apps and see where you can save the most money.