I know it may sound a bit radical to some, but I’ve been using this ‘technique’ for many years now, with great success.
Instead of receiving a number of small (usually useless) presents, I prefer getting one big present instead – something which I really want but can’t afford or simply won’t allow myself to buy otherwise.
A few weeks before my birthday I choose the present I really want to get, and let everyone around me know what it is. I also remind everyone that I would really appreciate it if they would join forces and buy me (as a group) that single present that I really want.
I also remind everyone that if they don’t have enough resources (It may be too expensive) they can bring me a gift card with what ever amount they were able to raise, and I’ll come up with the rest of the money to buy that certain present.
Last but not least, I remind everyone that if they prefer not to participate and insist on getting me something personal – A bottle of wine is my preferred gift.
Yes, a bit radical, I agree. But this way I get a big present, something I usually can’t afford to buy otherwise, which I’m very happy and grateful to get.
Try it. You may actually like it.
Here are more, less radical frugal gift ideas:
Make Your Own Gifts
For most people – easier said than done. It’s not easy to be original and come up with doable ideas. However, this is what frugal gifts sites like homemade-gifts-made-easy.com are all about. This particular site contains loads of free homemade gift ideas, with step by step tutorials for easy homemade gift making.
Buy Kid’s Gifts in Bulk
When it comes to kid’s birthday parties, it’s not only okay to give the same present to over and over again but its also economical.
Agree to Limit Gift Giving.
In my kid’s school, all of the parents got organized and created a “Birthday Preset Pool”, to limit the overall spending on birthday parties.
We’ve decided, similar to my ‘Join Forces’ example, to let each kid choose what he or she wants to get as a preset, and to limit the maximum value of this preset.
All of us has put cash advance at the start of the year, and when each birthday arrives one of the parents in charge makes the arrangement and buy the present.
At my younger kids kindergarten we operate the same arrangement, only we don’t let them choose the preset but rather decide on it ourselves.
Ask your friends & relatives to give you gift vouchers or gift cards, especially for Christmas.
Gift cards & vouchers have three main benefits:
- You can join a few gift cards and get one real big present instead of a few small ones which you are less likely to use.
- You get to choose exactly what you want.
- You can wait for the sales to start (especially after Christmas) and double the value of the gifts.
Even better – add a frugal gifts twist and use a web service to exchange, sell for cash or buy discounted gift cards.
Cardpool.com is a gift card exchange service where anybody can exchange, buy or sell gift cards safely and securely.
- If you got a few gift cards for various stores, trade them for one big gift card.
- If you have no use for certain gift cards, trade them for cash or for a different gift cards that you can use.
- If you want to buy gift cards, you can get them at a 35% discount.
Do Holiday Shopping Right After the Holiday.
Use the holiday’s sale right after the holiday to buy next year’s presents.
Get the Christmas presents at the big sale following Christmas. Do the same with Mother’s Day cards, Valentine’s Day etc.
Take a Trip Instead of Buying Presents
At Christmas (or any other holiday for that matter) go abroad instead of just buying presents, and agree in advance to limit (or even better – cancel all together) the gifts and save everybody some money.
Of course that a trip cost more than the Christmas gifts, but using the gift’s money to finance the trip makes it more affordable.
BTW, many researches indicate that you get much more happiness from family activities (such as trips & vacations) than from material stuff like presents.
Sometimes the smartest way so solve a problem (uncontrolled spending) is to go around it rather than tackle it head on. Here are a few creative ways to save money that do just that!