Budgets are tight and the holidays are just around the corner. Don't stress out over holiday gifts. Here are some tips to help you tackle "gift giving" with limited resources:
1) Keep your perspective. What are holidays really about? Are they about gift giving or spending time with loved ones?
2) Talk with your family about your current financial situation. Have an honest conversation to let them know that you are not able to buy gifts this year or that your gift giving needs to be scaled back. Other family members most likely are feeling the same way and will be relieved to reduce their holiday spending.
3) Ask family members to make a wish list, but to identify the most important gift that they would like. You may have to give them a price limit.
4) Plan out your gift purchases based on your budget. Examine your budget before you spend. Identify how much money you actually have for gifts. Do you actually have money in the bank for purchases? Use cash only for gift purchases to avoid getting into credit card debt.
5) If money is limited, make homemade gifts such as food items or create service coupons. Service coupons list things you might do for a person in the future. For example, babysit, clean the house, cook a meal etc.
6) Organize a family gift exchange whereby each person only purchases a gift for one person.
7) Joint gifts. Ask each family member to pick one special gift that they would like to have. Combine resources with other family members to purchase that gift.
8) Watch for sales. Use coupons.
9) If gifts are not possible this year, give the gift of time and love. Make cookies together, go for an outing that does not cost anything, or set aside time to watch a program together etc.
"If a person give you his time, he can give you no more precious gift" by Frank Tyger