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How to Tackle Gift Giving on a Tight Budget

Christmas gift

Giving the perfect Christmas gift to someone you care about always makes you feel good inside. No matter how much you care for someone you’re giving a gift to it’s important to stay on budget. While it may be better to give than to receive, sometimes, giving hurts. If you’ve ever looked at your bank account just before the holidays, you know what I’m talking about. Even the most generous of people can feel a pinch when the expense of giving ends up eating into next month’s grocery bill. You may feel a pressure to shell out big dollars and gifts throughout the year, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it might be time to reconsider these expectations and start looking for ways to keep your gift-giving under budget.

There’s no shame in being on a budget, and there’s nothing embarrassing about going through a lean time. When you accept the reality of your financial situation with confidence, it becomes much easier to address gift-giving. Use these tips to get started.

Plan It out

Plan out your budget months prior that way you have plenty of time to save and gather your gifts along the way.

Once you determine your budget, add 15% to that amount so you’ll be covered when those unexpected gifts come up over the course of the year. Divide that number by 12 and that’s the amount you’ll need to set aside for your gift-giving budget each month.

Then stick to those limits no matter what. By knowing your spending limits beforehand you can stretch those amounts as far as you can and still give great gifts without feeling like you broke the bank.

Be Honest

There is great freedom in honesty. While it might initially be hard to admit to family and friends that money’s tight, once you do, your honesty will unburden you from the weight of gift-giving expectation.

The trick about this type of honesty is to draw your own gift-giving boundaries before letting others know. For instance, rather than saying “Money’s really tight this year, so gift-giving is going to be hard,” which may leave others confused about how to move forward, try providing your own solution, such as “We’re really watching our budget this year, so rather than doing our normal gift exchange, I’d love to do a cookie exchange instead – are you open to that?” Something along those lines will help change things up and allow you to still contribute just in a more budget-friendly way.

DIY

An easy way to save money on gifts is to give handmade items. If you plan and make a present for someone it often means more than any store-bought gift could. Especially if it is specialized to that person’s likes.

Tap into one of your talents and run with it! Search Pinterest + YouTube for DIYs + How-Tos to learn more. Whether you focus on cooking, painting, crafting, sewing, photography, or a talent you haven’t yet discovered…don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty + learn something new in the name of saving money!

Regifting

Are you moving and wanting to get rid of some old items to make the move easier? Did you store unwanted gifts from last year? Maybe you just want to do a thorough cleanse and purge your home of all its clutter? Well before you start throwing these unused items away, take this chance to see if you can re-use any of these things to cross some names off your gift-giving list.

Enjoy Togetherness

Nine times out of ten, the memories from holidays and birthdays are more about the shared experiences than about the gifts. If you’re on a budget, suggest a big family outing in lieu of buying presents. Everyone involved can pay their own way, with the ultimate gift being that you all spend time together. For example, gather siblings, nieces, nephews, and grandparents together for a day of ice skating and hot cocoa, or see if there’s a community theater presenting “The Nutcracker” at a reasonable price.