My friend Rachel and I were discussing recently how expensive gift giving can be if you are on a budget. Over the years, I have learned a few tricks that have saved me a dollar or two while still being able to provide fun, unique gifts for friends and family. Giving is one of my "love languages" so it's important to me, even when times are tough. Sometimes, it's necessary to drop a pretty penny for a special occasion, but often times, you can give a thoughtful present that doesn't break the bank.
Here are my nuggets of knowledge to help you get started with giving while sticking to your budget:
Have a gift box
I would be a hopeless case if I didn’t have my gift basket. Anytime I spy the perfect gift for a particular someone, or even a generalized little goody at a great price, I purchase it and stick it in my gift basket until an event arises. Use any good-sized basket or sturdy box to stockpile small items in advance.
I love purchasing small items from my local farmers markets to give to special people in my life. Purchasing knitted dishcloths or a jar of gourmet jam or hot sauce supports local makers and pairs beautifully with another little gem for a just-right sized gift for a friend. Christmas fairs and local shops are terrific as well, but keep your budget in mind.
Don’t forget the Big Box
A few of my favourite big-box stores, like Chapters and Winners, have terrific clearance sections. Chapters is one of my favourite sources for deliciously scented candles and honestly, I can really only afford them when they are on sale. Winners is a great place to find smaller items, like paper straws and stationary. When you find a bargain, stock up! Chances are, you have family friends in different circles that won’t realize that they are receiving the same set of cloth napkins or lovely mug as another friend.
Support charities or causes
Often, you’re asked or inclined to purchase items in support of a charity or cause. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up a gift or two. Recently, I’ve purchased gifts for new babies in my life and my niece’s birthday from an Instagram auction in support of a baby girl and her mama that needed the extra funds. I get to donate money that I had set aside for gift-giving to support a terrific cause and still get the gifts that I needed. Double whammy!
Make it yourself
A handmade gift is my favourite gift to give or receive. I don’t often have the extra time to make something with my own hands. Once in a while, when I have a spare moment or two, I love to create a few handmade items or cards to add to my gift-giving stash.
Always be on the lookoutWhen I travel, I love to keep my eyes open in local stores and markets for small souvenirs that would make a great gift. By purchasing items while traveling, it satisfies my urge to shop while keeping it practical. Another bonus: it’s an awesome way to support the local economy in the locale that you are visiting.
I hope that these tips and suggestions can help even one of you to feel less daunted by gift giving. Giving and receiving gifts is often our way of showing that we love someone, so it's important that we don't feel drained by the process. Let me know if you have any tricks that you would like to share in the comments!