The holiday season is here, and it's my favorite time of the year. There are parties, family dinners and good times with friends. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be expensive.
In an effort to keep your budget intact, here are a few tips for saving on holiday gifts.
- Shrink the list. Decide what (if anything) you will give to all of the people who are not close friends or family. If you get them something, it doesn't have to be fancy and expensive.
- Draw names or do a gift exchange. Instead of getting gifts for all of the people in your family, you only have to buy one. This would work well with a group of friends as well.
- Give a personal coupon book or a favor. I've given these in the past, and they've included things such as promises of a night off from cooking dinner for the recipient (where I cook the meal instead), a day of yard work, or other odd jobs. Think of something the recipient particularly dislikes doing, and offer to do it instead.
- Give baked goods. If you have a favorite family treat, whip up a few batches and make some plates. A few cookies, some peppermint bark and perhaps some holiday fudge give you a great plate of goodies to present to friends and co-workers.
- Give a memory. Think of a great time you had with the gift recipient, and try recreate that enjoyable moment by creating something based on pictures and mementos, like shared movie or concert tickets. My wife and I got married in July and are planning to give out a lot of framed pictures taken with the two of us and the gift recipient on our wedding day.
- Dress up something old. Do a little budget shopping for some gifts, and use your DIY skills to make them look amazing. Buy an old vase or something that needs a bit of TLC from a local thrift shop. You can easily use a personal touch to turn this into a perfect gift for a friend.
- Cut the cost of gift wrap. Check the dollar stores for good deals. Or, wrap your gifts in newspaper or some plain packing paper. If you go the packing-paper route, have your kids draw on the paper to make the gift more personal.
Do you have any favorite ways to save on gift giving during the holiday season? Share them in the comments.
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