It’s the thought that counts. We’ve all heard that before, but how many of us believe it?
Do our gift-giving practices reflect what really matters or are we caught up in the price (or perceived price) of our gift?
Today we’ll talk about how you can give great gifts on any budget. We really wanted to touch on gifting in the Frugal Fresh Start Challenge, because there will constantly be opportunities to give gifts, and they can derail the progress toward your goals if you let them.
You might just think we’re advocating skimping on your gifting budget. Before we go any further, let me clarify what I mean by “frugal gifting.”
What is Frugal Gifting?
Being frugal in gift-giving is not synonymous with giving cheap gifts. A frugal gift is a gift that is a practical, thoughtful gift that is given from the heart, at a cost within your means.
The problem most people have is the last phrase: “within your means.” We might have some idea in our minds of what value a gift for a certain occasion SHOULD have. If we let those ideas of “appropriate monetary value” dictate how we give gifts, we aren’t necessarily giving a gift within our means.
You need to decide your OWN gift-giving budget standard rather than adopt what “everyone else” says is acceptable.
Ideas for Giving Great Gifts
Instead of spending a lot of money, we aim for gifts that are thoughtful and useful. Here are some tips for giving great gifts:
I think it’s safe to say that most people have more dust collectors, trinkets, and decor items than they know what to do with. Rather than adding to the process accumulating stuff at a tremendous rate, we could focus on giving gifts that are useful.
Something You Love
When you have a product or service that you love, it’s natural to want to spread the word and share it with others. Being able to stand behind a gift with a personal conviction that it’s wonderful means so much to the recipient.
Giving something personal takes more time and thought than just buying something. Whether it’s putting together a photo book full of memories, writing a love letter to your spouse or parent, or assembling a cookbook of favorite family recipes, your personal and thoughtful gift can’t be matched by something bought at a store.
While not everyone is a talented artisan, experienced seamstress or creative cook, if you do have special skills, handmade items make wonderful, thoughtful gifts. Handmade gifts aren’t necessarily less expensive than store-bought gifts, especially when time is considered, but they allow you to give a piece of yourself in a way that store-bought gifts don’t.
With as many gift-giving occasions as there are, it can be nice to receive gifts that can be used up or consumed, rather than add to a mountain of stuff and create clutter. Consumable gifts are great for neighbors, teachers, or the person who already has everything.
Give Within Your Means and Don’t Be Ashamed
Giving gifts that your finances don’t allow won’t bring happiness. While it may feel exciting in the moment of purchasing or giving an extravagant gift, eventually the credit card bill will roll around or other financial obligations will go unmet. It is not worth getting those fleeting moments of giftgiving pride when you’re left with regret for overspending.
Staying within your budget will make the recipient more comfortable too. Receiving a gift that was clearly out of the giver’s budget can be awkward for the recipient.
Never be ashamed of a thoughtful gift that you have given with love. Don’t be embarrassed if it doesn’t measure up to society’s monetary standard.
Day 25 Challenge
Look ahead on your calendar for upcoming gift-giving occasions. Decide what you will budget for gifts. What can you do to keep your gifts within your means, but still be sure they are thoughtful and sincere? Thinking about this now will let you be prepared for successful frugal giving.