The myriad birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and baby showers that inevitably come every year can make a mess of your budget. So, what can you do to make things a little more manageable?
- Plan Ahead
- At the beginning of the month, I make a list of birthdays and other gifts I will be responsible for. I think about what I want to get everyone. Having a plan will keep you from buying for the sake of buying.
- Make a “Gifts to Give” Box
- When you see something good on sale (and when you already have a recipient picked out) go ahead and put it in a Gifts to Give box. Just make sure you have somebody in mind for the gift. Even if something is a good deal, it is a waste of money if you never use it.
- Look for Coupon Codes
- If you’re buying online always look for coupon codes. I like Retailmenot.com. Also, keep an eye on the daily deal sites such as Groupon, or Living Social,. They will sometimes have discounted store gift cards. I have seen 50% off credit to Gap, Nordstrom Rack, and Amazon. Don’t forget to use Ebates to get extra cash back as well!
- Remember the Best Gifts Often Aren’t Even “Things”
- My husband’s perennial favorite Christmas gift is a photo book with family pictures from the last year. You can often find discounted photo books on the daily deal sites, and online galleries such as Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Kodak Gallery are featured on Ebates for up to 10% cash back. These sites almost always offer coupon codes for discounted products or shipping.
- Making time for someone else is one of the best ways to show them you care. Giving someone your time often means much more to them than “things.” Take them to lunch, go to a movie (find heavily discounted movie tickets at Costco), or invite them to your house for coffee, scones, and chatting.
- A heartfelt card of your feelings is another great way to tell someone you care.
Giving someone a gift is just a symbol that you care. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to make someone feel loved.