by Charlotte Wood
(last updated February 21, 2009)
When birthdays roll around and the holiday season gets into full swing, sometimes managing to come up with the money you need for family gifts, presents for friends, and that annual office party can be difficult and gifts are one of those things you can't really blow off. So what are some good ways to save money on gifts but still have those gifts be thoughtful and worthwhile?
There are a few different useful ways to save money on those inevitable gifts and all are easy and even fun. Don't shy away from inexpensive items; you can find good quality items on clearance, at Target or Wal-Mart, or funny white elephant gifts at the dollar store. Another good tactic I've used when shopping for gifts is to spread out the buying as much as possible. This method has two different perspectives. The first option is that you can buy your gifts only when you absolutely have to, and risk the chance of your store not having what you are looking for during your last-minute appearance. Or, you can go with the second choice—not spending huge amounts of money—which happens to be my favorite.
Your second choice is that you can save money by not having to spend so much all at once, by buying gifts when you see them and think they're perfect. Keep in mind upcoming gift-giving occasions when you shop and when you see something that your best friend, mom, or coworker would like, then buy it. I've bought many a present months in advance because when I see the perfect present I buy it. With this tactic your gifts are more thought out, you don't have to scramble at the last minute, and you don't end up spending so much money all at once.
Another excellent method of saving money is re-gifting. I swear, it seemed like when I was in the seventh grade that all the girls gave each other was bath sets. These bath sets just circulated in and out of birthday parties all the time. I never used any of those five million bath sets and so you just re-gift. If you receive something you don't necessarily want or need or will use at all, don't feel bad in giving it to someone else who may (or may not) want or need it. Do use tact, though, in this method because you don't want to hurt the feelings of the original gift giver. However, with most gifts you end up re-gifting, the initial giver probably doesn't care so much. My scruples are few when it comes to the re-gifting of unwanted gifts. I figure it's better to give it to someone who may want it rather than just have it take up space in my basement.
In addition to the ideas mentioned above, you can always make a gift. With the craft supplies available today, it's not difficult to make something personal and cute and useful for your friends and family. Saving money on gifts isn't hard and, if you just set your mind to it, can be done in a snap! Have fun shopping (or re-gifting or making)!
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