Smart Savings | Give Better Gifts & Spend Less Money

You can give better gifts and spend less money while doing it.  Plus you’ll be less stressed, have the time you need to get everything done and be ready at a moment’s notice for any occasion. Sound to good to be true? Believe me, you can do it.  Start today with your preparation for your gift giving for the year.  With a little planning & preparation, you can make gifts something you look forward to giving as much as receiving.

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Shop the sales now and stock up on essentials. Now is the best time to buy the extras that you need for your holiday and birthday celebrations.  Wrapping paper, gift bags and trimmings are all at least 50% off.  We went shopping the day after Christmas and picked up gift bags, fancy plates and tons of extras.  We’re ready for next year and this year hasn’t even ended yet.  Pro Tip! Purchase generic holiday paper (like that striped paper) that could easily work for birthdays and other celebrations.

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Buy the gift now. When you find the perfect gift for someone, buy it now – especially if it’s on sale.  Make a list of all of the people you need to purchase for and save it to your phone – that way you always have it with you. When you see a great idea, list it.  When you see a great idea on sale, buy it.  When you are ready to purchase gifts, look at the list.  It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you can save the pre-purchased gift until the next celebration.  Plus spreading out your gift purchases makes it a little easier on your budget, instead of trying to buy everything at once. Pro Tip! After you’ve logged the purchase into your budget worksheet, tape the receipt to the item – just in case you need to return it.

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Store everything well. Find a place in your house that will work to store your gifts, decorations & projects.  Use the right bins, tubs and containers to store all of your items so when you’re ready to use them, everything is easy to find.  Remember, you don’t need to spend a lot of money – use things you already own to store items.

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Keep your gifts stashed together.  I have one bin for my pre-purchased gifts (yes, I mostly buy gifts & toys for boys).  When I need to get a gift for a birthday party or a gift exchange, I just go to my trusty gift bin and grab a few items that will work.  My favorite gift to give is an art supplies gift – cute bag or tote with crayons, markers, blank notebook, paints, stickers and highlighters (buy these supplies during school supply season for the best deal).  It’s easy to make and most kids love it.

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Setting limits on spending is a genius idea.  You don’t have to break the bank to give a great gift. Figure out what you can afford and list this information with your gift giving list.  And remember the value of items – if you find a $20 gift on sale for $10, it’s still a $20 gift.  You don’t have to spend the extra $$ – they’re still getting a $20 gift.  Pro Tip! Remember the value of reusing items.  Saves the items from landfills and makes creative packaging for gifts.  Teacups make a cute vase for small flowers, mason jars are great for homemade mixes and empty candle jars can be great pen/pencil holders.

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Everyone needs less stuff. I’m trying to live with less for most things this year.  I’d rather take the extra time to make something myself, I love to shop at Thrift Stores for unique finds and I’d rather do something that gives me an experience (like a movie, theme park or dinner) than get more stuff that I don’t need. Think about these easy ideas and what you could do to help reduce the clutter in people’s lives and enhance their gifts. Pro Tip! When you’re thinking of Second Hand – think about reusing items you currently own. A washed-in-the-dishwasher glass pickle jar makes a cute holder for a dozen cookies when tied with ribbon and a spray-painted top.  Everything can be useful.

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Play to your strengths. When thinking about making homemade gifts, think about what you do best.  Need me to sew you something? Not going to happen.  But a creative art project? I’m your girl – and I’m going to enjoy making it just as much as giving it.  Believe me, people will like the stuff you make.  It’s more personal, unique and much more valuable. Pro Tip! Think about what you enjoy doing and turn this into something you can give to others.

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Pinspiration power. Pinterest is a great place to find inexpensive gift ideas.  Save ideas for projects so you can refer to them throughout the year. Pro Tip! Make a list of things you can realistically make and afford to purchase the supplies needed.  Then spend a little time each week or month to make gifts for others.

You can give better gifts this year, just think of a strategy that will work for you and stick with it.  Remember, if it works for you – it works.

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