During the holiday season, an immense burden to purchase the “right” gift or find the “perfect” sentiment is often also met with an additional burden. We will call this burden “reality.” Reality likes to strike when we least desire, revealing to our whims how our greatest intentions will not come together well if financial planning has not been something we have been careful enough to pursue throughout the year. Especially during such economic times as we have been seeing these past few years, it has been even more difficult to make the financial ends meet, let alone set aside the extra bits for special occasions like holidays.
Thankfully, though, all need not be lost for with a little ingenuity and out of the box thinking, a quality and well-enjoyed gift can be offered and received. Taking the queue from the three R’s of reduce, reuse, and recycle, we are going to offer our attention to the three RE’s for frugal gift-giving. These are cREate, RE-purpose, and REduce (the expense).
Our first opportunity for frugality is found in the age-old idea of getting cREative. With the advent of technological blessings like YouTube® and the Internet, just about any skill or trade can be learned and owned with minimal experience or initial know-how. If you are not afraid of some hands-on effort and good old roll up the sleeves work, a quality gift can be engineered and created in no time flat. From leather-crafting, to bead work, to crocheting a gift, to sewing, thousands of creative and crafty gift ideas are available at the tip of your fingers.
Flip through the on-line ads of local craft stores, search Pinterest® for great ideas, or carefully consider the needs and desires of those you care about or want to bless over the holidays.The options are endless. Even simple paper and glue gifts are an option for those who are younger but want to be part of the gift-giving season. Make a collage of family photos; create a masterful splattered paint wall art and stick it in a $5 frame from IKEA® or the thrift store; or offer coupons for gifts to be given (massages, lawn mowing, grocery store shopping, babysitting, etc.) Make sure to consider the amount of time you have before determining which project to take on. You do not want to be halfway through a project when gift-giving time arrives. Be creative and thoughtful and an array of opportunities will be available for the taking.
Aside from creatively constructing a gift, there are times when we all experience the disappointment of realizing that a gift we previously received was not quite something we personally would use. Or, possibly, something that we one day really loved and purchased was not ever opened and enjoyed.
So, these gifts stock our shelves and fill our closets full of wasted money and lost celebration. But, this does not have to be the case. Turn those items into a gift for another person, blessing them with something you could not properly use and appreciate (REpurpose). The old adage still stands: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This is especially true when it comes to little objects. How about making a gift basket full of trinket items that are useful and enjoyable? I once made a baby shower gift basket that had pregnancy tea, labor items (some cookies and dried fruit), raspberry leaf tea (to help with labor onset), and Mother’s Milk Tea for nursing assistance. I added a few other things in there, but the cost was very cheap and the mother LOVED it! I made the basket from items I had around my house. I even already owned the tea. Again, think outside of the box to see what you have on hand and a world of possibility comes to life.
Another great way to reduce holiday budget blowout, and continue crossing off the gift list, is to REduce the expense of purchases. In other words, be serious about bargain hunting. A great bargain always exists, but patience and diligence are necessary components for any true gift hunter who is on the prowl for the right price. Websites like Amazon®, NoMoreRack®, Groupon®, and many more help provide competitive prices for retail merchandise. If you are an Amazon Prime® member, you will benefit from their free and fast shipping. NoMoreRack® boasts of 40-90 perent + off of retail items, which ship for a flat $2 fee. Groupon® provides discounted local deals for events, retail items, exciting adventures, spa experiences, and much more.
Checking local store circulars and ads either in store or on-line can clue you into the local deals and sales going on, as well as checking for coupons on desired items. Also, never forget your local thrift store and yard sales for amazing deals you would have never even imagined in a store. Paying top dollar for a desired item, gift or not, is very much a thing of the past for those who are attentive, patient and prepared.
There you have it; our three RE’s for the frugal gift-giver. Whether your goal is to romance your love, bless a friend, or simply impress a co-worker, there is little reason not to be able to bestow a thoughtful and valuable gift to your recipient. So, grab your list, look it over, and consider the best option that will fit your wallet, and your heart, to bring a smile and warmth to the soul of another this holiday season.