Meaningful gifts are always nice to receive, and to give. I has been really important to me that we buy thoughtful gifts and do our gift giving on a budget this year. As many of you may find yourselves, we are on a strict budget that really didn’t give us much leeway with the gift envelope this year. And that is okay! We are making it work and so can you. The real trick is buying truly thoughtful gifts and sticking to the budget.
Unfortunately, Christmas has become a time of massive consumerism. I actually walked through the local “everything” store, Meijer, the other day and wondered “how many people have a layaway right now that they cannot afford?”. Yeah, I am pretty obsessed with people budgeting wisely. I wish that more people would realize that they can live well with less. That is part of why I wanted to share this post. The other part is that I am an advocate for fair trade, ethically made products which in themselves are thoughtful gifts as they give to the receiver and those that produce it. So how do you make your purchases matter on a budget?
This year was a bit tougher for us than in the past. I left my nursing career to stay home, we moved, and so many other things. We didn’t really plan on having much gift money. We have saved and put into our gift envelope a bit from our month to month budget and that certainly does help. The big thing that we have done was selling items to make money. We have sold over $400 worth of items to have money for gift giving this year. Selling items that you no longer need is a great way to have extra spending money.
The best time to start saving for Christmas next year is the day after Christmas this year. Saving all year long is going to give you more money for all the gifts that you need year long, not just for Christmas. $30-$50 each month goes a long way by the end of the year.
Determine your amount
The most important part of sticking to a budget is to actually create one. Look at what you have and set a price on your gift budget. Then, determine who all you want to give a gift to. Next you will want to decide how much you want to spend on each person. This will help you know what to even look at when shopping. Do you look at the pricey items or the smaller, less expensive items? Remember that this amount isn’t what you have to spend exactly, it is the maximum that you need to spend. If you save some money, don’t worry about making up for it. When getting really intentional about gift giving, you will likely buy one really great gift instead of 5 “okay” gifts. This is the point!!!
Just as a side note, if you are struggling with creating a budget and sticking to it, you may be interested in my Budget Coaching where I help people escape debt, set budgets, live within their means, and save for the future. Check it out and sign up for a free 15 minute call if you have more questions.
This year, one of my favorite ways to shop was going to local bazaars and shopping events. A lot of times, you will find local made products as well as retail products. I love buying locally made products instead of shopping big box stores for gifts. They just have a different meaning to them. I tend to prefer truly handmade products over china made, mass produced goods sold locally. Look for sewn items, wood signs, knitted goods, and more. There are so many nice products out there that are way more unique than what you find in malls or stores.
If you don’t have a lot of local shops, check out Etsy. They have a huge selection of all the gifts you could ever wish to give. Not all products are handmade, so be sure to look for that. Here you will for sure find something for every personality. Just type in something that your gift receiver loves and you will be offered a slew of ideas.
Shopping for Good
Most areas will offer a various array of do-good organizations that funds some social justice mission such as adoption, anti-slavery, homelessness, the refugee crisis and more. If you don’t know of any organizations in your area, try calling your local Salvation Army headquarters, find a Fair Trade shop locally, or just google “companies that give back in____ (town/state)”. Ask good ole Facebook about a “Gifts that Give Back” event or an event for good. Facebook is usually pretty good about offering suggestions on pages once they know what you are looking for.
The cost of the gifts may be a bit more than something from a big box store, but you can purchase with confidence. Your purchase will help individuals or small organizations thrive in their businesses and mission. Even making a small purchase from these sellers can go a long way.
A few ideas
There are a few things that I have really put my eyes on this year to purchase for others. I want to share those with you just in case you are looking to do the same. Gift giving on a budget doesn’t have to be hard. There are so many options out there!
Shop your local stores (even big box stores!) for Fair Trade coffee, chocolate, and treats. Whole Foods or a local health food store are usually good choices here.
Ground Up PDX are nut butters with a lot of flavor. They also employ homeless women and train them in their program.
Eleventh Candle Co. is local to me in Ohio. They employ survivors of sex trafficking to make their lovely products.
Everly drink mix is a natural drink mix that those water haters will absolutely drink up!
The Paw Tribe is a great site for those pet lovers… you know, the real pet lovers!
Sseko Designs, of course. If you have been following me for a bit, you know that I use to sell Sseko products. Read a bit more about this company, why I love them, and how to shop. I am going for the Brave jewelry this year. At $25 starting point, it is a great price for a really thoughtful gift.
What is your favorite thoughtful gift giving experience? I am curious to know:)