Holiday Savings Tips: Gift Giving

Kasasa

Happy family exchanging theirs Christmas gifts

If you don’t plan ahead, getting gifts for everyone you care about over the holidays can add up quickly. Using our tips below, you can get prepared and think creatively to avoid a bad financial start to 2018.

1. Plan out a gift budget before you get started

Items to include in your budget: the total amount you would feel comfortable with spending overall, the number of people you want to get a present for, and how much you want to spend on each person (this number can obviously fluctuate per person). Keep track of what you actually spent per person and use this as a template for building out your 2018 budget.

2. Arrange a group gift exchange

If you have a large family and/or lots of friends, buying something for everyone can really add up. Instead of buying separate gifts, arrange a gift exchange where each person only has to buy one gift.

Gift exchange ideas:

* Cookie exchange: great for big groups including office parties, each person makes at least one cookie per guest, then everyone goes home with a big pile of sugary goodness!
* Secret Santa: where each person draws someone else’s name out of a hat and buys a gift specifically for them.
* White Elephant, where every person brings a wrapped gift (typically silly and inexpensive) and everyone takes turns opening a wrapped gift or stealing an already unwrapped gift. 
* No matter what exchange you do, cap the total amount that can be spent per person so that the presents are relatively balanced. Plus, capping the amount on the lower end forces the gift giver to get creative.
* Customize your exchanges even more by adding a theme. All presents must be blue, or it has to be a book, or edible, etc.

3. Skip presents and opt for a holiday memory instead

Suggest your family or group of friends skips presents this year and instead makes a memory together. Everyone can chip in a fraction of what they would have spent on a gift for any of these ideas:

  • Go out for a nice brunch
  • Go see a show
  • Go ice skating, hiking, or biking
  • Group caroling (sing outside other families' or friends' houses)
  • Visit the museum
  • Have a potluck party
  • Make gingerbread people and decorate them to look like your group
  • And pretty much anything else you can think up!

If you want a solid item to remember the year, have everyone write a meaningful card to each other or take photos during the day and create a scrapbook everyone can sign.

4. Instead of getting each other presents, get a group together to do charity work

This is a great idea for any group (family, friends, coworkers) and ties in with the tip above. Instead of spending money on each other, get in a day of quality time together while helping out the less fortunate. Find a charity organization in your area that can host a group of your size. There are tons of options and resources out there. 

5. Host an “Abundance Swap”

It’s green gifting! Have a group party where everyone brings a few quality items from home that they don’t mind giving up. Let everyone draw numbers to see who will go first. The “shopper” can only pick out one item per turn. Any items leftover at the end of the day can be donated to a local charity.

Host the swap early to allow friends to re-use these items as presents for others on their list.

6. Use cash or debit, not credit, to pay for your gifts

It’s best to use cash or debit to buy gifts so they won’t cost you more in the long run when interest is added in. Many stores also offer layaway so you can pay for your items in increments, rather than all at once. Look for stores that offer free layaway, since the fee for holding your items could come out to the same or more than a credit card interest rate. If you want to use credit, make sure you can pay it off at the end of the month. (Another reason for tip #1 on creating a budget!)

7. Buy gifts in bulk to save on each individual

If you always bring a bottle of wine to the holiday parties you attend, buy a whole case this year to bring down the price of each bottle. You can do the same for lots of different items. It’s a great way to save time and money instead of picking out a dozen separate presents. However, be sure you don’t buy items in bulk unless you know you’re saving money in the long run. If “bulk” for some item means 20 but you only need 8, it’s unlikely that saves much if anything over buying 8 individual items.

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Blog Courtesy of Kasasa

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