From birthdays and anniversaries to weddings, baby showers and the holidays, there are plenty of gifts to buy each year. We want to give thoughtful gifts. We want to give memorable gifts. But all those gifts can get really expensive if you’re not careful. Here’s how to make buying gifts more affordable so that you can enjoy giving them even more.
Budget for gift giving.
It’s such a simple thing, but sometimes it’s one we forget: You need to include gifts in our budget. By setting aside a little bit of money each month for gifts, you’ll be ready and able to afford every gift-giving occasion that comes your way. You can use a budgeting program like YNAB to keep track, or you can simply have a small portion of every paycheck stashed into a separate savings account for gifts.
Shop year round.
Think ahead to every gift-giving opportunity you’ll have during the year, and then when you see a great deal on an item that would be perfect for that occasion, pick it up and stash it until you plan to give it to the recipient. Shopping year round means you won’t have to pay full price and waste precious family time rushing around looking for gifts at the last minute.
Use credit card rewards.
If you have the discipline to pay off your entire credit card bill in full every month, then use that credit card to earn credit card rewards. At our house, we put all of our gas and monthly bills on our rewards credit card, and then use the money earned from that card to help pay for gifts throughout the year. Skip this plan if there’s a chance you’ll carry a balance, or your rewards credit card has expensive annual fees.
Swagbucks makes buying gifts a breeze! After you sign up, you can start earning points called SBs that can be used for all kinds of gift cards or cash via PayPal. You earn SBs by doing things like watching videos, shopping online, taking surveys and searching the internet. Swagbucks is one of my favorite ways to make buying gifts more affordable because it doesn’t take much time to start earning free stuff.
Use cash-back sites.
You can earn cash back on your purchases when you shop through websites like Ebates or Top Cash Back. You typically earn anywhere from 3 to 20 percent off, plus these types of sites often have exclusive deals for their shoppers that can net you even more savings.
Buy discount gift cards.
You don’t have to pay full price for gift cards to your favorite stores. Simply visit sites like Raise, which sell unwanted gift cards at discounts. You can use these discount gift cards to save 10 percent or more on the gifts you buy, and no one will know you didn’t pay full price. Combine these discount gift cards with great deals and cash-back sites and you’ll really make buying gifts more affordable.
Sometimes you get a gift that’s just not you. Learn the fine art of regifting and pass that gift on to someone who will appreciate it.
There are plenty of great reasons to give a used gift, and saving money is one of them! Skip the idea of traditional gifts at traditional stores and shop secondhand at garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, auction websites, Craigslist, and Facebook selling groups. You’ll find unique gifts for a fraction of what you’d pay retail, and you’re helping the environment, too.
Are you buying gifts just because you think you should? Do you spend a certain amount on each gift because you believe that’s what’s expected? Maybe it’s time to start putting a little bit more thought into your gifts!
Think hard about the people you want to give a gift to, and then think hard about that person would really appreciate. An inexpensive handmade card with a thoughtful note combined with a small box of chocolate can be a lot more meaningful than an expensive knickknack that will end up in the back of the closet.
You can really make buying gifts more affordable when you use a combination of these ideas.
And when you make buying gifts more affordable, you make giving gifts more fun.
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