Great Gifts without Great Costs

I know the holidays are about much more than gifts, but come on, who doesn’t enjoy giving great gifts to those we love?! The problem can be, though, that a generous spirit isn’t always accompanied by a bulging wallet. Fortunately, one can have a give great gifts and have a meager budget, too! So if you’re in the market for some great gift ideas sure to please those on your list while keeping your bottom line in tact, keep reading.


Think outside of the box to put great gifts inside the gift box

Often the gift of an experience is far less expensive and yet even more valuable than a tangible item. A home cooked meal, movie tickets (purchased at a discounted rate via coupons at or a club warehouse) or a gift of your skills and talents such as sewing, gardening or automotive work should not be devalued simply because they can’t traditionally fit inside a wrapped box. Heighten the excitement for the receiver and your enjoyment in giving the gift by creating and printing a coupon or letter describing the gift experience and then box and wrap it as you would for any treasured present.

Cash in reward points to reap great gifts to give

Maybe you use a credit card that features reward points. Perhaps you frequent a store that pays your loyalty back by providing you with rebates and discounts. The holidays can be an ideal time to take advantage of such reward programs. You can cash them in for great gifts for friends and family without having to fork over a lot of, well, cash.

Divide your gift giving needs and conquer them in one place to save money

Whether you like to shop online or in a traditional store doesn’t matter. Either way, chances are very good that you can likely safe a good chunk of money simply be tackling all your shopping in one spot. Many sites such as offer free shipping if your purchase totals a minimum amount, saving you money that would otherwise simply go to mailing costs. Some brick-and-mortar stores also offer “cash coupons” that can be earned by purchasing a pre-established amount in order to receive coupons that can be used like cash in the store towards other purchases. In any case, you can often save yourself time and the need to stave off unnecessary purchases by committing to purchasing your gifts in one place.

Consider throwing a “re-gifting” gathering

All of us likely have a number of items around the house that are in new condition that we either received as well-meant gifts ourselves or simply never put to use. And, in this economic climate, many of us could use the financial break that re-gifting can bring. Get rid of the guilt and return to the real meaning of giving a gift – surprising someone you love with something they’ll use, enjoy or treasure. To throw a re-gifting gathering, invite a few trusted friends over and ask them to bring a few items that are in new, gift-giving condition that they themselves would be proud to give to someone. The more people you invite the larger the pool of items to select from for future gift giving. Establish the rules in advance such as each guest can only select the same number of new gifts to take as they brought and agree on discretion, please. While there’s no shame in re-gifting, there’s no need to announce it either. Make the gathering even more festive with holiday music and a gift wrapping station complete with tags, ribbon and fun wrapping.

Photo credit: Howard Dickins

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

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