Let’s start with the big E …Expenditure
I started with an outline budget of what I wanted to spend on this occasion.
After I finished examining my expenditures for last year and created my new budget, I found a few less relevant categories that needed cutting out for this coming year. I especially found a great opportunity to save money in our “gift” category. See More
First, I made the decision that my theme for this year would be gift giving from my heart. Last year as I had Christmas packages spread around the living room and was trying to sort them for mailing, I found myself thinking like Scrooge. I decided that wasn’t really a very good way to enter into the Holiday Season!
This year I started in January to get presents ready early. At this point, I might just be done by June. This also includes about 25 birthday gifts that I need to give throughout the year. It’s not difficult to get into a bad mood when you are the one taking on the responsibility for buying, making, wrapping, and mailing so many gifts.
Trying to do this within a limited budget is all the more challenging. If money were no object, I could just buy 50 gift cards from the local Wal-Mart for birthdays and Christmas and be done with it.
But I feel my idea to give from my heart will accomplish more in the long run, because I will feel more caring about the gifts I am giving and hopefully the recipients will really enjoy them.
The following are ideas I have incorporated this year into my gift giving to help keep aligned with my theme and my smaller budget:
1. First, create both a birthday list and a Christmas list with an estimated budget for each person.
2. Always keep a gift cabinet, and I highly recommend that you start one if you haven’t done this before. I buy gifts throughout the year that I find that I think will fit for a particular person or might be a possibility for several people
3. Spend an afternoon shopping in your own gift cabinet! pull out gifts that you had already selected with certain individuals in mind and marked those as purchased on my gift list. That really saves a lot of time and money! I am able to find many gifts for grandchildren this way since I’ve always picked up gifts in new or like new condition.
4. I found some items in the supply cabinet that I decided weren’t a good fit for anyone on my list. I sold these on Ebay and added that money to our household gift budget.
5. I keep an ongoing list of gift ideas that I can create and make myself. I glean many of these ideas from reading other frugal sites on the web. I love to create, and I enjoy certain hobbies such as beading, cross-stitching and crocheting. I selected several ideas from this list of gifts I can make this year.
6. I have found many items that I can “regift” that will have special significance to the recipients. Some of these are family heirlooms, jewelry I no longer wear, or other items we have that carry a special meaning to one of our children or grandchildren.
7. I love giving gifts to younger children because they haven’t had a chance to build up expectations, or assign a monetary value to gifts! I give games with personalized themes. My husband and I read the books onto tape and add personal little stories and antidotes.
I’ve made “cookie crayons” in muffin liners with scraps of crayons – these really are pretty with the mixture of colors. I look at museum gift shops at the different National Monuments in our state and select coloring books with themes from our state. The museum gift shops offer other great gifts for children that are personalized because they represent the place where we live and are quite cost effective.
8. If you find a gift that I think will be a good fit for more than one of our children or grandchildren, then make several of those in one year. For example, this year I’ve made fleece scarves with appliqués, and a really neat book bag made from a pair of old jeans.
The pockets from the jeans make a great addition on the outside of the book bag for pencils, erasers, markers, etc. These are ideas I can duplicate for other grandchildren – since we have twelve, it makes it easier not to have to reinvent the wheel every time.
9. I have already wrapped both birthday and Christmas gifts that are ready to give and have sorted them in bags or boxes by family. I save on postage by sending gifts in groups ahead of time – my children will put them away until the appropriate holiday.
If we are planning to visit them during the year, I take the gifts with me on our trip and save even more on postage.
Thus solving the gift for the holiday seasons expense dilemma.
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