Even though we’ve just finished with the biggest gift-giving holiday season of the year, chances are you’ll encounter a gift-giving occasion soon: a birthday, a wedding, a baby shower or a colleague’s retirement party. And when you consider that Valentine’s Day is a only a month away, then graduations are around the next corner, it’s enough to make your wallet nervous!
Never fear. You can still make an effort to give gifts without going broke. Here are a few things to look out for that may help:
1. Clearance items
Especially if you have a kid in school, taking the time to stroll down the clearance aisle every so often will save you lots of money. Consider keeping a gift closet or storage box at home, and stash “classic gifts” you buy on clearance (things like unisex toys, crayons, books or games). For adults, you can find soaps, stationery or other trinkets that make for great gifts in a pinch.
2. Bonus buys
This can include things like gift cards with purchases or doubling of items. For example, if your garage or mechanic offers a gift card with an oil change, pay for your oil change and pass along the gift card. Gifts with purchases (offered by companies like Lancôme on sites like Sephora) include full-size items you can combine with other things to create inventive gifts. Other great bonus buys include “twofers,” or double items within single packaging (coffee cups, CDs or DVDs with other merchandise). If you wish to pair things like this, put them in a basket and top it off with a jaunty bow.
3. Online or mobile codes
Sites like Retail Me Not offer codes that expand your gift giving options. Also, become familiar with your favorite store’s sale cycles. Do they have gift rates for certain seasons,or offer free gift shipping? Remember, the cost of the gift extends beyond the item itself. If you pay $3 for a gift but spend $35 to ship it, have you really saved any money?
4. Magazine subscriptions
Although many people now read their magazines on Kindles or tablets, there is still a market for paper publications, and many of them offer two-for-one subscription rates, so if you know someone who loves a specific magazine, but doesn’t have it delivered to their door, consider gifting them a copy (or 12).
5. Gifts of yourself
Before you envision hokey dyed-macaroni necklaces and misshapen clay consider giving of yourself. Do you have a skill that is highly sought after, like painting, massaging or even dog walking? Even if (especially if) your gift is time, consider how valuable an hour of reading to your grandmother with cataracts would be. Fashion a little gift book on your printer or head to Kinkos and kick in the $.05 for the envelope. It will be priceless.
It really is the thought that counts when gift giving. Taking the time to choose something that will be appreciated is a gesture that speaks volumes — and you won’t necessarily have to break the bank to do it!
About the Author:
Mandy Fricke submitted this post. She works in community relations for Earn MBA Degree, which helps you explore MBA degrees. Outside of work Mandy enjoys biking, reading and traveling.
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