Simplifying Gift Giving

It is that time of year again- weddings, babies, & graduation gifts all seem to happen during the summer. The summer is a time of stress for our family because it seems like everyone in our family has a summer birthday. With all of these obligations, we find ourselves buying presents left & right. It is hard to stay within a budget and be creative with gift-giving when we have four gifts to get in one month. Yes, I know that gifts are optional, but skipping out on gift-giving with my mother & father would be a little frugal (even for me) and I do want to show my appreciation even in my own small ways.

One of my solutions to gift-giving is to keep a shelf in our basement for gifts. If I run across something at the Dollar Tree or find something that has been clearanced out at Target, I just keep it on the shelf for those unexpected gifts or to beef up a less expensive gift that I have bought.

Another solution to help with buying gifts is to regift things. For example, my son, who is three, had a big birthday party and we asked for anything & everything dinosaur related. We ended up with a couple duplicates and are saving them for the birthday parties he attends. Obviously, you want to be aware of who gave you the gift. My solution is a post-it note stuck somewhere on the gift with the person’s name who gave it to us. This really helps relieve the anxiety of regifting to the wrong person.

I also hoard bags, tissue paper, ribbons, boxes- basically anything that I can salvage for another person’s gift. This cuts down on the cost of wrapping your gift and allows you to spend the extra two dollars on the gift itself.

I am not a big card person and really only send out cards to thank people, anniversaries, and when someone in our family is ill. In gifts though, I take the cheap route and skip the card. I like to purchase the scrapbooking squares and sheets of paper, stamp it with a cute little stamp, use my funky edged scissor-thingies, (can you tell I am NOT a scrapbooker?) punch a hole in one side and then ribbon it through to tie the gift up. I make all of my gift tags for Christmas and it adds a personal touch without a card (which most people end up throwing away anyway!).

Finally, don’t think of yourself as cheap, but think of yourself as creative when it comes to gifts. Some of my most impressive gifts were ones that were inexpensively made, but had my personal touch on them. I am not crafty, I do not sew, and I can only draw stick figures (if that!) so you do not need to have skills like these to make a gift special.

The gifts that I remember are the ones that were made with love and personalized for me. Try and remember that gift-giving on a budget does not reflect that you don’t care about someone just as much as the next person, but it means that you are a smart cookie and aren’t going to be paying for those gifts for years to come.

Published May 27, 2006 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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