When it comes to gift-giving, it's easy for the price tag to get out of control -- especially at times, like the holidays, when you have several people to buy for. So how do you cut costs without cutting back on the number or quality of gifts you want to buy?
- Plan Ahead: It's never too early to shop for that event. And doing so can not only save you money; it can also make sure you get the perfect gift. You can pick up items wen you find a great deal.
- Avoid Gift Cards: Gift cards show the exact amount you spent on someone, so you can be tempted to spend more than you should. Buying or making actual items can mean you spend less overall, without looking cheap. The only exception? If you happen to catch a sale or special offer on gift cards that lets you get that card for a fraction of the price.
- Shop Deals: Check out sales flyers, discount stores, and clearance racks. Just because a price is discounted, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the product. It could just be overstock or discontinued.
- Shop Online: Many retailers offer discounted prices online, and other sites, such as Amazon, may offer lower prices than brick and mortar retailers. Free shipping offers and other coupon codes sweeten the deal. Do an internet search for special offers.
- Go Homemade: Make or bake your own gifts. If you have the time and skill -- and pick up supplies on sale -- you can save a lot by making in bulk.
- Try Coupons: Not the kind you redeem -- the kind you give. Give the people in your life certificates they can redeem for free babysitting, homemade meals or baked goods, running errands, and more. The gift of time or your efforts is often more meaningful and appreciated than another item they don't need.
- Put It Together: Placing a few inexpensive items together can make them look more impressive, especially if you play off a theme. Check out the Themed Gifts and Just a Little Something articles for ideas.
- Get Together: Purchase a joint gift with others who are likely in the same boat. If the gift is for a teacher, for example, join with other parents in the classroom to purchase one large gift.
- Work Your Rewards: If you have a credit card that gives you rewards, redeem those rewards for gift cards. You can either give those gift cards as gifts, or use them to pay for the gifts you want to buy.
- Go Down Memory Lane: Make a copy of a picture that holds a special memory and present it in a picture frame. Burn a CD or DVD that has special meaning. Put together a scrapbook of fond memories.
- Nix the Gift: It's the thought that counts. Sometimes a heartfelt card can be a more meaningful gesture than a gift.
Another idea for the holidays: if you have a large number of people to buy for who all know each other, such as coworkers or family members, suggest a Secret Santa instead. Put everyone's name in a hat and draw names so each person only buys for one other member of the group. Everyone wins! Just be sure to set a price limit.