The holiday spirit of togetherness is underscored by the joy and excitement that comes with giving gifts. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you may feel overwhelmed instead of elated. The pressure to give great gifts to your loved ones is then reinforced with every jingle and commercial you hear.
The good news is that generosity doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. With some creativity and thoughtful planning, you can give great gifts without breaking the bank. Read on to give yourself the gift of a peaceful mind when shopping this holiday season.
1. Look for Discounts
When it comes down to it, the price on the tag of a gift is just a number. And that number can change depending on where and when you shop. Tons of different stores have holiday sales — you just need to know where to look. If you have a gift in mind for someone, search for the same item online before you buy it in-store. There may be another retailer selling the same product but for less.
Plenty of physical and online retailers hold sales in advance of the gift-giving season, especially around Thanksgiving. Black Friday is probably the most famous — or notorious? — of these,
boasting massive price slashes. Cyber Monday offers great prices on electronics after the weekend.
Note that lots of companies hold large discount sales throughout the year, not only during the holiday season. By reserving your spending for these times, you can potentially save hundreds across all your holiday purchases.
2. Be Flexible About Brands and Models
Speaking of buying the same product for less, another great way to save is to steer clear of the most in-demand brands. Just because someone on your shopping list asked for earbuds doesn’t mean you need to get them from Apple. Buy similarly high-quality products from Sony, Raycon, or Skullcandy, and you’ll save substantially in the process.
Similarly, you can also dodge premium price tags by buying factory seconds. These are items that have cosmetic defects that don’t compromise the integrity of the product. In the case of clothing, for example, these could be slightly uneven topstitching or minor discolorations.
Innova is known for selling factory seconds of its discs and frisbees that fly just as well as its full-price counterparts. A factory second Carhartt hoodie will keep your gift-givee just as warm as one that costs full price. And for the kitchen master in your life, Field Company offers seconds of its high-quality cast iron pans.
To save this holiday season, you can still buy from reputable brands — just maybe not the moment’s “it” brand. Plus, you can let those brands give you a discount by checking out their stock of factory seconds.
3. Play Secret Santa
One of the most budget-challenging aspects of holiday shopping is the sheer number of gifts you’re on the hook for. The more people in your family or social group, the more gifts you may need to get. That makes Secret Santa one of the best ways to get around this predicament.
If you’ve never done it before, Secret Santa involves everyone in your group drawing names out of a hat. The name they pluck out is the person they have to get a present for. This way, everyone in your family or social set has only one other person they need to buy for that year.
To make Secret Santa extra budget-friendly, place a limit on how much can be spent on that one gift. You might settle on $20-$25, as it’s not overly onerous for most but is still enough to afford something genuinely interesting.
When it comes to Secret Santa, just make sure the group agrees to participate with enough time to prepare. Some diligent discount shoppers may have already started their holiday shopping seasons in advance!
4. Make It Yourself
Feeling crafty? One way to save on gifts is by putting some of your own blood, sweat, and tears into them. Well, maybe not literally, as that would be unpleasant for you and kind of gross for your recipient!
In all seriousness, though, making a do-it-yourself gift provides a personal touch that just can’t be replicated by buying something in-store. Making something by hand can be one of the most heartfelt and budget-friendly approaches to gift giving.
If you’ve never made a DIY gift before, candles can be a great place to start. There are scads of videos and guides online that will teach you how to make a well-scented gift for a loved one. Alternatively, you can express your creative personality by hand-painting flower pots or ceramic mugs.
Think of what your friends and family love in their lives. Coffee drinkers may be more partial to mugs, whereas the self-carer will likely appreciate a well-scented candle. Find the intersection between your creative abilities and their interests for the perfect gift.
Mindful Gift Giving
Mindfulness is the trick to successful holiday gift giving when you’re on a budget. By being patient and diligent, you can find discounts that will save you plenty while still yielding oohs and ahs. Or you can make a gift that will elicit a heartfelt “Awww…” Just because you didn’t pay top dollar doesn’t mean that your recipients will feel any less delight at your thoughtful gifts.