Have you noticed how there seems to be one major drawback to either being in a larger family or having a large circle of friends? That drawback would be when you have to buy presents for everyone in your "circle." The larger your circle gets, the more expensive it becomes to pay for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and so many other special days. With it becoming more and more difficult to find money to be able to put food on your table or gas in your car, is it any surprise that it can be difficult to scrape together enough money to be able give the gifts that you feel they deserve.
Frugal gift giving isn't just about finding the cheapest items that you can and giving them as gifts. Frugal gift giving is more of a state of mind, where you are always looking for the best deals, not necessarily the cheapest deal. Before using or attempting these frugal gift-giving strategies there is one thing that you should keep in mind. Remember, you get what you pay for.
- Plan. Probably the single biggest help when looking for lowering your gift giving expenditures is planning. By planning, I don't mean simply keeping to a budget, though that is definitely helpful. What I mean is that you should keep an eye open throughout the year for great deals. One example for this would be to get next year's Halloween gifts the week following this year's Halloween. Similarly, this same strategy could be used after this year's Christmas to get ready for next year.
- Budget. Unlike with traditional budgets, this is not where you sit down and plan the next months projected household expenditures and stick to that (barring emergencies). What this means is that you should set a price range, or limit, on the gifts that you are going to get those around you. Be sure that you give yourself enough time before the event so that you can fit as many presents as you would like within your budget.
- Know. Probably one of the most difficult parts of being able to live within the frugal lifestyle is being able to know the person that you want to give a gift to. Do not go for generic when you can go for special. Take some time to think about what each person in your life would most like and see if you can get something along those lines.
- Items. You know what items are—those nifty shiny things that people always seem to want. The best way that you can get the nifty gadgets, gizmos, and baubles that many people might like would be to look high and low for the best possible deal. Some of the places that you could look would be second-hand stores, pawn shops, factory outlet stores and even flea markets. One of the best methods available would be to use the lay-a-way programs that some stores offer. Using these programs allow you to pay a little towards your final purchase as you can afford it.
- Experience. There are those in your life who may prefer memories to something more tangible. For these individuals, you might want to get them an experience for a gift. For the adventurous, this could be something like skydiving or hot air balloon rides. For the more relaxed mindset, you could go for something like a spa weekend. Either way, if you book these in advance you can save some serious money and therefore be more frugal in your gifting. (It's all about the deals, remember!)
- Homemade. Everyone has heard the old saw about gifts and it being "the thought that counts." This is a truism and nothing says that you thought about the person you are giving the gift to more than something homemade. This is a particularly frugal method for gifting, and something that those of a more creative frame of mind can use to show off their talents. This is probably the best way for you to give your loved ones a truly unique gift.