Pinch pennies for gifts that keep giving

by Eric Bartley

For many of us the holiday shopping season is the time of year when money magically seems to disappear from our wallets.

This year, money is especially tight due to the economic recession and many people are asking, "How am I going to buy everyone on my list a gift with out putting myself in a bind?"

Below are a few ideas to help you get through Christmas on a tight budget and still enjoy the shopping season.

Make Homemade Gifts: Yes, many of you cringe at the thought of homemade gifts but it is actually a great way to save money. Photo albums and baked goods are classic gifts that everyone enjoys. We all love taking trips down memory lane or biting into a tasty treat this time of year.

Make Gift Baskets: This a creative way to give the perfect gift. For example: a great gift for entertainment lovers would be a basket full of entertainment goodies. You could buy a cheap basket or bin and fill it full of CDs, DVDs or books. These items may seem expensive unless you shop at key places.

McKay’s Used Books has a bargain bin full of music for as low as .15 cents and a table of DVDs for less than $2. They also have a wide variety of books at a low cost. OUTLOUD! Bookstore also has a huge selection of cheap gay media for a perfect holiday gift basket. Just snatch up a few items, stick it in a basket and you have a gift with out breaking the bank.

Give Personal Gift Certificates: Giving certificates that recipients can cash in with you at a later time is a very inexpensive way to survive the holidays and keep your wallet in tact.

Give your loved one a certificate for a massage or your best friend one for washing their car when the weather warms – just be sure to follow through when they come calling for that backrub. This is great way to give a gift you know will be used and will not just end up in the back of a closet. The possibilities are limitless. Have fun with it. Just remember to pull through upon redemption.

Give Family Gifts: Many people feel the need to buy every single person a gift. Instead of purchasing individual gifts for Uncle Larry and Cousin June, purchase them a family gift. This is a great way to save money during the recession. Some great ideas would be picture frames, board games, or gift cards to a favorite store. This is a gift the whole family could enjoy. Who would not want a few extra dollars to blow in Target?

Trim your list: Is it necessary to purchase a gift for every person you know? It sounds insane but usually our shopping list get bloated to the point of no return. We usually find ourselves buying gifts for all our friends, our hairdresser, our 2nd cousin twice removed… Yes, gift giving can be fun but not everyone expects a personal gift. This year save your credit card some swipes and evaluate your list.

Shop Discount Stores: Instead of dropping big bucks at large retailers, think twice and shop at discount stores. Places such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross really give you great bang for your buck. These places have tons of name brand items at a fraction of department store cost. These stores have prices that can be up to 50% less. They also have a great selection of clothes, home goods, and more.

Using these tips can help create a money saving and stress free holiday season. Remember gifts are supposed to about the thought not the price tag. Happy Shopping!

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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