Gift Giving Doesn’t Have To Break The Bank

The holiday season can bring great joy – and frustration. It all depends how you approach it. In an effort to keep yourself sane – and your pocketbook within budget, try creating a gift that will have more meaning than a store-bought gift card. Mary Hunt has some excellent ideas.

One option I’ve used for my kids who have now moved out of the home is coupons. Coupons have been for their favorite macaroni salad, cupcakes, and also a coupon to do their laundry. This spreads out the gift giving throughout the year and can teach organization skills…for the child to remember where they put their coupons.

Reprinted from Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate

Replace Commercial with Consumables

Consumable gifts, as opposed to durable gifts, are meant to be used up—not stashed in a closet for the next yard sale. And that is what makes consumable gifts such a great idea.

It’s hard to go wrong giving a delicious, consumable gift.

No storage. Consumable gifts, because they are quickly eaten or used up, do not carry expectations that this gift must be displayed, used, adored and or maintained for the recipient’s lifetime. I hate feeling obligated in that way, and I will bet you do, too.

One size fits all. You do not have to wonder if your gift of homemade fudge will fit the recipient. Everyone loves a gift from an experienced cook.

Non-perceived value. There is something off-putting about trying to figure out if you are spending enough money to meet the recipient’s expectations by hitting some invisible spending target. That can zap all the joy from giving. With a consumable gift you will not worry about that—and neither will your recipient.

Allows a bit of decadence. While consumable gifts do not have to be food, most of the time they are. And usually they are nutritionally naughty. That is what makes them so great.

Saves money. While not necessary, most consumable gifts turn out to be homemade. And they usually come from the kitchen. You can spend only a few bucks and come up with a gift that is really fabulous. Try doing that at the mall.

Even with Hanukkah starting at the end of this week, and Christmas and New Years following close behind, there’s still time to make any number of wonderful things in your kitchen. If you do not have our ebooklet Gifts in a Jar, download yours now. It is all you need to make a wonderfully inexpensive gift for everyone on your list this holiday season.

Several years ago, I received this wonderful note from Susan, a DPL member. She shared how changing Christmas from commercial to consumables was transformative for her family.

We have friends who, having no children to use up their spare cash, generally buy themselves all the things they want throughout the year. Consequently, when Christmas arrives, they already have all the things we might have bought them as presents. A couple of years ago, having racked our brains for what to buy, and being on a bit of a budget ourselves, we decided that we would make Christmas baskets for our friends. Each basket contained a homemade cake, homemade biscuits, jam, pickles, all with personalized labels made on our home computer.

Our friends were so delighted with their homemade gifts, appreciating the time and effort that went into it rather than the cost, that we decided to repeat the “Homemade Christmas” the following year with our visiting family members. Everyone who participated had plenty of fun trying to keep the making of the presents a secret, and we amazed each other with our cunning and ingenuity. It took away a lot of the commerciality of Christmas and replaced it with a real family spirit. Susan N., England