Today we get some affordable alternatives for holiday gifts from financial expert Jean Chatzky.
If you're anything like me, I can use all the holiday gift help I can get!
Holiday Gift Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank
by Jean Chatzky
One of the toughest times of the year financially for families is the holidays. And this year, with job losses at an all-time high, more and more families are feeling the pinch. If you’re struggling with budgeting for those on your list, here are some suggestions for holiday gift ideas that won’t break the bank.
Give Joint Gifts. For example, instead of buying individual gifts for your sister and your brother in-law, purchase a joint present for them that they’ll both enjoy. A gift certificate to a restaurant they love, a subscription to Netflix, or a fun board game are all good ideas.
Start a Secret Santa. Giving gifts to everyone in the family or everyone in your group of friends can really add up. Instead, give your gifts secret Santa style. Next time you’re all together, put everyone’s name in a hat. Everyone draws a name and just buys for that person — not everyone in the group.
Do something instead. Are you an excellent baker? Do you have a talent for creating customized stationary from your home computer? Have a little extra time to watch the neighbor’s kids on their night out? Instead of buying gifts, save some cash by thinking about things you can do for those on your list.
Use those gift cards. Instead of using cash or credit cards for purchases, dig out gift cards that you’ve collected from birthdays, holidays, or other special occasions. Use these cards as you would cash to keep from exceeding your budget.
Be charitable. If there’s someone on your list that seems to have everything, give to a charity in his or her name. Often times charities will provide you with a card to give to the recipient indicating a donation was made in their name, and the amount of the donation isn’t disclosed. You don’t have to donate a huge amount, but as long as you’re donating something, you and the person you’re donating to can feel good about giving to those that are less fortunate this holiday season.
One final note: Before you start spending on holiday gifts, you should always know what your budget is going to be. You can calculate yours by using my Holiday Budget Calculator.
What unique tips and ideas do you have for saving money on gifts during the holidays?