Fri, 13 Oct 2017 20:47:20 +0000
Years ago the holidays used to stress me. I know, I know….it’s not supposed to. But in all honesty it did. I was so worried about gifts for everyone and making sure it was something that they’d like. Soon my budget was centered around gift giving. One year, when my husband was out of work so he could attend massage therapy school full time, I shopped the best I could on our limited budget. I tried to be creative but still appease everyone. It wrecked havoc on my bank account. And when I thought everyone was pleased and that everything was good, I received a phone call from a family member. They were calling to complain about the gift that I got them.
Yep, you read it right. I couldn’t even get mad. I was shocked that someone would do such a thing. Especially when I spent my last few dollars to pull it all together. I got sad. Then I got over it. I did make it up in my mind that I wouldn’t focus on the gifts. And maybe it was God’s way of telling me I was focusing on the wrong things. I took that experience and made sure that our holidays were surrounded around its true intentions. I made memories my priority, not the gifts. But I’d be lying if I said I stopped buying gifts, or that gifts were no longer important to me. I worked on ways to take the stress out of gift giving during the holiday. It required a bit of strategy and planning, but it worked out. Check out these hacks:
Gift Cards Are Your Friend!
Buy a gift card every pay period. The amount depends on you. Once you buy that gift card, HIDE IT!! Don’t spend them, you’ll need them for the holidays remember?? Let’s say you get paid two times a month. So that’s about 24 times in a year. If you buy a $20 gift card every pay period, you’ll have $480 to shop with. If you do $50, you’ll have $1200. Just think, this is money that you could use to shop with once the holidays come around. It leaves you feeling guilt free and you don’t have to worry about ruining your budget.
Summer Toy Stash
During the late summer (July/August) a lot of big box stores drastically slash the prices of toys to make room for the new and upcoming toys of the holiday season. I’ve gone to stores and paid pennies on the dollar for a lot of toys. The savings can be as much as 80% off in some cases. I did this and hid all of the toys in the basement.
By the time you exchange gifts, we’ll be in the thick of winter. Most of their winter clothing needs have been met at this point, so why buy more winter clothes. Buying summer clothes at the end of summer at deep discounts, will give them something to look forward to when the weather changes. It also helps with not having to bust your budget in the Spring because you’ll have a few items already in stock.
Food For Thought
There are a lot of recipes online that you can follow to make yummy gifts. Years ago, a dear friend of mine would send a tin of homemade cookies from NYC every holiday. It was something I looked forward to during the holiday season. They were soooo good, and useful when I had a cookie craving. Store bought items are OK, but they can’t compare to homemade treats. Know your audience! Don’t make peanut butter cookies for someone with a peanut allergy or chocolate cookies for someone that loves oatmeal raisin. And it doesn’t have to be cookies. I found a recipe to make vanilla infused rum using only two ingredients and a mason jar. The final outcome looked great and the reviews were spot on! *hint hint* I like liquor!!
Get Jiggy With It!
No, I don’t mean dance for your family. I mean jiggle that brain and get creative. Think about what your gift recipients really like. Are they movie fanatics? Go to your local discount store and buy a cute tin, some popcorn, box candy and a $10 movie theater card. Go to the craft store to find some cute accessories to dress it up! They’ll love the gesture, trust me! The sky is the limit as you’ll find that everyone loves something different.