Gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and the other myriad occasions can add up to a lot of money over the year. Here are some suggestions to save a few pennies.
- Make your own gifts! Really gifts made especially for a person are more personal. Shop craft stores like A. C. Moore and Joann’s to get gift making ideas and materials. You can find instructions to make things from scarves to pillows and from wreaths to wall clocks.
- Bake your own gifts. Visit Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray sites and the like to get both easy and tasty cookie, candy, and bread ideas to give away—hot from the oven.
- Buy at discount stores and outlets and put together nice baskets or packets. You can us the Dollar Store or Christmas Tree Shops to find neat containers that can range from a dollar mug to neat baskets and vases. Then fill them like a Christmas stocking with small but cheap items the person can use.
- Give gifts that are like-homemade. Look for craft fairs and church bazaars. At these places you can buy gifts made by others and usually for reasonable prices.
- Don’t’ be afraid to buy practical. It is a waste of money to buy doodads that are expensive and never used. Instead buy gifts that can be actually used in the lives of the people you are giving to. Especially in tight money times, people you buy for may well appreciate
- canned goods and baking staples,
- over-the-counter medications and vitamins,
- cosmetics and bathroom supplies,
- grocery store gift cards, and
- cards and writing paper with stamps.
- Buy gift cards. Gift cards, too, can be used by the people you buy for for the things they need. If you’re spending money on someone, the best value for your dollars is having the gift used and not placed in the basement.
- Narrow down your list. As you family grows, it may be time to narrow down your list of people to whom you give. Maybe the people at work, the family whose kids have left the house for school, neighbors, and other friends you have gotten in the habit of giving to but who are not around as much can be taken off your list. Usually when you talk to someone about eliminating gifts, they are as glad about that prospect as you are. As sons and daughters give you grandchildren, maybe the kids become the center of gift-giving, and you no longer give to your sons and daughters. You can also discuss someone taking the name of one person in the family for occasion-giving so you don’t have to buy for everyone but everyone will receive a gift.
*Don’t forget! Cards can be made, too. Today’s rack cards are costly ($2.00 to $4.00 and more for fancier cards). You can buy plain cards and envelopes for $10.00 and under in a pack of 50. Then buy a stencil pad, a few stencils (especially ones with typical greetings written out), a few stickers, even pictures from Fuji Film’s SeeHere.com, and you can make 50 cards for a fraction of the cost.
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