Frugal Gift Giving

Gift-giving can be a daunting task, even when money is no object. For the average person though, the matter is further complicated by the desire to buy a quality, meaningful gift, without spending too much. If you are looking for ideas of gifts that won’t break the bank but still show that you care, here are some simple ideas that will help you get started.

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Handmade Gifts

 When it comes to gift-giving, homemade is always the way to go. If you know enough about the person you are looking to give a gift to, you probably know what some of their favorite food items are. Baking or cooking is a great option for this person. It not only shows that you know about them as a person, but it also is thoughtful. Packaging the item nicely is the final touch on the person home baked or cooked gift.

Gift Cards and Cash as Gifts

Guessing at what a person’s interests are is never a good option. If you aren’t sure what they like specifically, sometimes a gift card is the best option. If you know that they like coffee, but perhaps are uncomfortable with buy a particular roast, a gift card to a local coffee shop may be the best option. Groupon and similar sites are also great sources for gift cards.

Along similar lines, cash can also be a great gift for the person in your life that you don’t know too much about. There are plenty of creative ways to give cash other than in an envelope, it just takes a little thought. If the gift is for a child or young adult, the process of opening and funding an account is also extremely thoughtful.

Gift Experiences Instead of Stuff

For many people, experiences are more meaningful than any object. If you are at a complete loss as to what to buy someone, spending some quality time with that person, of setting up some time for them to enjoy something that they have an interest is the best bet.  These types of gifts are even more meaningful when it is someone close to you such as a parent or spouse. Things as simple but unique as a picnic in the park, a trip to the amusement park, or a drive through the country can create memories that are more valuable than any gift that money could buy.

Pre-Plan Your Gifts

If you have a specific gift in mind, sometimes pre-planning or stocking up on gifts can make all the difference in money ultimately spent. Many big-ticket items are seasonal and therefore can be purchased at steep discounts if you have the patience and planning to do so. Setting up RSS feeds or signing up for e-mail notifications on certains sites can allow you to be alerted when certain items are on sale or discounted. You can also usually find online coupons on sites like that can save you money.

With a little foresight and planning, gift-giving does not have to be a last minute scramble that ends up costing you an arm and a leg. There is a frugal option or alternative for every gift that you could ever consider purchasing. By employing these tactics, you do not have to sacrifice thoughtfulness or quality when giving gifts to those you care about.

How do you save money on gift giving?

4 thoughts on “Frugal Gift Giving

  1. I like the concept of experiences. We did that for a vacation (I know, it’s not a gift but the same principle applies) where we went to Florida and got four of our teens Scuba certified. It was a great vacation and one that none of us will forget. I can imagine that doing something similar as a gift would be nice (although a scuba certification isn’t quite frugal), but a trip to the museum or botanical gardens would be,

  2. Congrats on the new site! Giving gift cards (in my opinion) only benefits the merchants….if you think you want to give a card, do the cash instead. Your receiver gets the entire amount and can direct however they want. You aren’t forcing them to buy from a specific merchant!

  3. I think experiences can be great gifts, better than many material things. The experiences could live on as fun memories, but some figurine, toaster, etc will be long forgotten. Not that I give gifts like that, but you get the idea!

    Also, it seems like when I give gift cards, they’re really appreciated. In that case, a smaller amount spent on a gift card, vs a specific gift, might have greater return on investment in terms of the other person’s happiness. There’s something about having the power of choice that people seem to really like!

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