It has always been better to give than to receive… but sometimes, when that giving is outside of the family and you are asked to give for friends or even acquaintances it can be really hard to keep that mentality in mind.
Sometimes giving can hurt… especially if you are feeling a pinch in your budget – at that time, being asked to give can be more of a challenge than what you would like it to be.
If you are struggling to care for family and you are asked to give, OR if you’re not getting the hours you would like to be getting at work and all of your children come home with invitations for parties, you might just feel the strain.
Try to see if you can let go of the obligation or expectation to give and be real about where you are doing – where you are at in your finances, and being committed to staying there without creating the stress of going over budget in a time when you truly can’t afford to be.
1. Draw Names
Gift giving within families can get really out of hand around the holidays – the best thing to do that will benefit everyone is draw names ~ while at some point I think the focus on adults and spouses should be dropped at some point, if your family buys presents for everyone, then draw names.
Each person can buy a present for that one person, spending $20 or less – each person can receive without breaking the bank or feeling guilty for not doing more.
You could also do this all year round ~ pick names, and that one person is the one who does something for that particular person through the year (birthday and/or major holiday).
2. Buy in Bulk
It’s the thought that counts when gifts are at stake – and if you want to give a gift to several people, simplify with buying your items in bulk.
For example… gift plain mugs from the Dollar Tree to grandparents and have the kids design them and fill with homemade snacks or cookies. Or, fill with coffee for the recipient.
3. Time Together versus Gifts
This works well for kids – it’s something we have done for the last few years. Instead of gifting material items, gift the opportunity to spend time together. For us here in Phoenix it could be a POGO Pass.. or a trip to SeaWorld in San Diego, or even a trip to Bearizona – going somewhere as a family is a great way to spend time together without loading people down with gifts that they will likely forget months later.
Kids tend to remember going places versus gift and will remember a trip for much longer than the presents they got 4-5 years ago.
You can also do this with multiple families – each family pays their own way on the trip to make it affordable.
4. Memories versus Gifts
Gift the gift of memories versus material items ~ snap pictures all year long and take advantage of Shutterfly Freebies to gift to people in the family. Shutterfly has offers almost every other week – for FREE prints, FREE Mouse Pads, FREE Totes and more…
Turn those digital memories into something tangible and keep for gifts.
OR, use Groovebook for people in your family. Groovebook is a monthly subscription that allows you to upload up to 100 photos monthly from your iPhone. They will print the pictures and bind them in a small book for just the cost of shipping $2.99 per month). Each additional Groovebook is $3.
You can gift family members a subscription to Groovebook … so they can print all those pictures of their kids each month and have a library of albums.
5. Give YOURSELF
It sounds crazy, but give the gift of you – which means that you can use your own talent (baking or cooking as an example) to bless someone else around their birthday or, a major holiday.
Offer to cook for the person or their family once or twice that week ~ baked goods and meals are great for a busy family. Help them with their automotive repairs if you are skilled in that area. Or, if you love to clean, help them tidy up around their house and do household repairs. Help them reorganize their home, or specific rooms, tackle a project they have had on their to-do list for a while, or help them plant some new flowers in their front or backyard.
6. Gift Closet
We have mentioned this several times in the past ~ it’s a great way to save money if you have children who are frequently invited to birthdays. By keeping a gift closet with toys, you can save yourself a trip to the store when they receive invites from friends – some of which come last minute.
Through the year, keep your eye on Amazon offers, and Walmart/Target deals that are inexpensive that may work well for gifts for various ages. Keep those items in a closet and away from your own children and you have an instant supply stash of gifts when your kids bring home an invite on Friday for a party that next morning.
7. Beauty or Health Themed Baskets
If you coupon, beauty baskets are always a great way to gift – use sales and coupons to stock up on personal care items. If the recipient doesn’t mind the products, then it can be an asset for them to save into the new year.
Even if you don’t coupon, you can still pick up occasional deals to make an inexpensive gift basket with $15 – $20 in items (if not more). Through the year, try to spot sales for cute totes and purses that will work well as containment devices.
Giving gifts shouldn’t feel like a chore to anyone; it shouldn’t put you in a bind financially – if it does, then perhaps you might want to rethink about why you are gifting. The spirit of giving should far outweigh the material items – even for children.