I may not always be the most frugal person, but I do take pride in saving as much as I can by shopping throughout the year for holidays gifts. And that means that the gifts often end up being a bit more personal because I’m not cram-shopping.
Here are some tips on making your holiday shopping experience less stressful on both your pocketbook and yourself:
- Create a subfolder in your email account and label it ‘Gifts.’ And whenever a friend or relative mentions their love for something, send yourself a quick little email (with the person’s name as the subject line) and file it away in your new subfolder. And then a couple times a year, make a point to open up the folder and check to see if any of the items are currently on sale. This little trick has saved our family a lot, and it makes for very happy recipients, too, that can’t believe how we could have remembered such a thing!
- Use websites like ‘Uncommon Goods‘ to find unique and fun presents. If you don’t want to fork over the money for some of these more costly goods, it’s a great website to spark some creativity.
- Dead set on sending out Christmas cards? Make a video, upload it to YouTube, and send a link instead of a $$stamp$$.
- Be sure to ask a store if they gift wrap. Not only will it save you time at the end, but it’ll save you the hassle of buying (and storing!) seasonal wrapping paper. And if a small fee is involved, it usually goes toward a good cause, so win-win in my book.
- The store doesn’t gift wrap? Well, don’t wait until December to buy your wrapping supplies. Places such as IKEA and Dollar Store have gift wrap all year long, so purchase some in June (or November) why don’t ya?! Come December, that stuff sells like hotcakes (and for an escalated price too).
- Know someone that likes to cook? Introduce them to a local CSA delivery service like Farmhouse Delivery or JBG. You can supply them with their first bin, and then moving forward they can customize it specifically to their liking. And in the end, they’ll be so appreciative of the time they’ve gained by not being in the grocery store (and the quality of the food they’re receiving), that’ll they’ll hopefully pay it forward. This also helps support local farmers, and hey, you may even get some free veggies out of it, too!
- Not spending the holiday in town, and thinking of shipping the gifts? First, look into the expense of adding a checked suitcase versus the cost of shipping one (or more) big boxes. Often checking the one extra suitcase is less costly, and then you have something to bring back all your new goodies in too!
- Make coupon booklets for friends. Instead of purchasing the cutest pair of earrings, give her the gift of a night out without the kiddo. It’ll save you some money, and give you a chance to catch up with what’s going on in her child’s life. Don’t feel like babysitting? How about some coupons for dinner delivery? You know you make a mean lasagna!
Random holiday side note: If you have a few extra gifts to spare, please also think of your garbage collectors and mail deliverers. In past years, we’ve have given our garbage men a ‘holiday bonus,’ and there has never been a complaint about our overflowing bins. And our mailman, content with freshly caught salmon from Alaska, is quick to pick up packages as well as deliver oversized ones straight to the door. They work hard all year long, so it’s important to let them know you appreciate them keeping your home smelling clean, and your Amazon deliveries on point.