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It’s the holiday season and we there are only 21 shopping days until Christmas. Naturally you are generous gift giver and you want to give a token of appreciation to everyone that you love. According to the National Retail Federation Christmas sales are expect to climb to $679 billion this year. You read that right….BILLION. Rest assured you do not need to blow your budget this Christmas.
These days it is easy to chase a sale the you see in the paper, on television or in your email inbox. Don’t chase the adds unless the sale is on a item you had already intended to buy. The stores and marketers know that we are coming so they do things to make us feel like we are getting a deal when really is was cheaper last week when nothing special was happening.
Today I will share some tips & tricks that I use to keep a Christmas budget of $500 – $600 each year and touch the lives of many. My Christmas budget will let me reach 41 people:
- Holiday cards & letters (41)
- Kids Custom Ornaments (8)
- Mom Photo Ornaments (3)
- Other Photo Ornaments (6)
- Framed Photos (23)
- T-Shirt (5)
- Restaurant Gift Cards (2)
Prepare for the Christmas
- Save a little money every payday in Christmas fund, so that you can pay cash for Christmas. This will give your December budget a big break. To save $500 – $600 per year you need to save between $19.23 to $23.08 every payday (bi-weekly).
- Pay attention to what your friends and family like throughout the year. Keep a list of ideas on your phone and review in October or November to make a list of what you would like to give the person. Remember experiences can be more valuable than things.
5 Gift Giving Ideas to Rescue Your Holiday Budget
1. Give Coupons for Acts of Service & Quality Time – FREE
Alot of people, especially adults, have everything they need and most of what they want and the last thing they want is more stuff to clutter their house. Think about how you would feel to have someone watch your kids for FREE for a night, cut the grass or wash your car. You see coupons only cost as much as the paper they are printed on. For coupon ideas check out:
- 25 Stocking Stuff Coupons from the Dating Divas
- Coupons for Dad from Homemade Gifts Made Easy
- Kid Tickets from My Frugal Adventures
2. Send an Annual Holiday Card & Letter – $0.77 to $0.99 per person
Sure some people may find the card and letter cheesy, but others will love it so much that they look for it each year. This is a tradition I started 5 years ago and I include pictures with friends and family for the year’s adventures. People like to see themselves on the card. I know because I have people comment about not being on the card, being on the card and hoping to be on the card. It makes them feel special.
The holiday card is cheap from Wal-Mart, costing $0.28 to $0.40 per card. The more you buy the lower the price. You may chose from many Christmas, Hanuka, Holiday or New Years card templates and add a simple message. Here are a few places that have holiday cards waiting for you:
The card is accompanied by a letter that serves as a year in review. In the letter I include the good and the not so good. For example, this year I shared that I will be promoted in my military job, lost family members, was laid off and am pursing new things. Include what you want, but always be authentic. Check out these examples:
3. Personal Framed Photo – $1.25 to $3.25 per person
Framed photos give any office or room a little more character, so why not give your family & friend something to smile about. For Christmas I am giving license plate name photos to my friends and family. The idea came to me because I have trouble find personalized gifts for those who don’t have commonly spelled names.
The photos will cost $0.25 to print at Wal-Mart and the frames are a $1.00 from the Dollar Tree.
Check out the Love My Letters Studio at Etsy to order your custom license plate name file (digital) to print and frame for a loved one.
4. Personalized Christmas Ornaments – less than $7.00 per person
Build tradition by giving personalized ornaments to the children in your life. Since it will become tradition it is what they will expect and when they move out of the parents house they will have their very own collection of ornaments for their first tree.
Several place sell these ornaments. My preference is Miles Kimball and they have served me well over the past 5 years. To save you must shop their sale section, do not look at anything else or you might spend more. On the sale page, select “Personalized Gifts” and then sort by lowest to highest price.
Every year there is an ornament that is on sale that is perfect for the growing collection.
5. Gift Cards/Certificates for Experiences – as little as $5, but varies
When it comes to gift giving it’s the thought that counts and it is even more true for when giving gift cards. Gift cards are great for giving to someone who wants a big ticket item, to go out to eat or experience something fun.
Here are some ideas for gift card giving.
- If your loved one wants a $300 item from Amazon, give them a gift card with a note that it is to help them get the big ticket item.
- Starbucks card for the friend who love coffee but seldom gets to treat herself.
- Chick-Fil-A card for kids who love to play in the playroom and enjoy delicious food.
- AMC or Netflix card for the move goer.
- Groupon certificate for a friend to get a car detailing or manicure.
The options are endless for gift cards and certificates. Be creative in the delivery and your wallet with thank you.