Budgeting, saving and investing for a brighter financial future

Broke in the buying season? Budget gift-giving


Comments (1)

Budget gift-givingTrying to find the perfect present for everyone in your life can be exhausting and expensive. Your wallet can really take a hit. In fact, according to the research firm NPD Group, in 2011 the average Canadian consumer planned on spending $599 on holiday shopping.

But a little fun with frugality can go a long way toward ensuring you’re not broke in the buying season, says Kerry Taylor, from money-smart blog Squawkfox.

“We are all creative. The challenge is in really knowing the person you’re giving to,” says Taylor. “The best gifts show thought and caring and the desire to bring a little happiness into someone’s life.”

If you’re gift-giving on a budget, here are some smart ways to combine a little thought with your thriftiness:

1. Set limits

To keep your annual gift-giving within your budget, set an agreed-upon spending limit with your friends and family. Alternatively, consider opting for a gift exchange or agreeing to only buy Christmas presents for kids under 14.

Taylor suggests shoppers start by making a list of the gifts they need to buy, outline how much money to allot to each person and then go online to compare prices so as to know where to shop.

2. Get cooking

Home cooking — from cookies and cakes to soups and dips — is always appreciated. Or consider giving a “meal in a jar” by filling a large-sized mason jar with all of the non-perishable ingredients needed to complete a recipe. Then, screw on the lid and attach the recipe card with a pretty ribbon.

Taylor says one of her most popular blog posts in recent months has been one on creating an individual-sized pie in a jar. The tiny treat makes a great party favour or hostess gift during the holiday season.

3. Do it yourself

Homemade gifts can be both thoughtful and inexpensive. And no, we’re not talking about those knitted Christmas sweaters your grandma gave you as a kid.

Do-it-yourself jewellery can be both impressive and easy to make. Many craft stores have a wealth of beads and other supplies that can be used to make fun earrings. Or how about creating instant art by taking some brightly patterned paper from your local stationery store and inserting it in two or three large, decorative frames? When the frames are lined up along a wall or layered over top of one another, they can add an easy and pretty splash of colour to any room.

For more ideas, surf well-known DIY sites such as StyleAtHome or Poppytalk. Also, local community centres, libraries and craft stores often offer DIY tutorials where you just need to purchase the supplies.

4. Give the gift of time

For a frazzled parent, buy some movie passes and book yourself as a babysitter for the night. Kids can create books of gift coupons, promising to do the laundry, make breakfast or wash the dishes. Taylor says her husband takes his father fishing every year — a tradition both look forward to annually and that costs next to nothing.

The most important part? Be sure to follow through with your promised commitment.

5. Choose quality over quantity

Show you care by taking time to tailor gifts to your friends’ and family’s interests. Have a friend who’s a runner? Create a pedicure kit by throwing together a buffing board, some scented foot cream, a pair of cheap flip-flops and a shade or two of polish in her favourite colours.

Give a gardener a packet of seeds, along with a new pair of work gloves and a potted plant for something to look forward to in the spring.

Add a personal touch and your thoughtfulness will shine through — while you’ll stick within your budget.

Planning for the holidays More ways to make the season bright

Image of thw Sun Life whimsical sun - Money for Life Are you on track to meet your financial and retirement planning goals?
It’s never too early or too late to start! Learn about Sun Life’s Money for Life.

Get monthly tips and tools to help you plan a brighter financial future.
To receive recommended reads about money, health and family, sign up for the FREE monthly Brighter Life newsletter.

Stay connected

Get more FREE tips and tools on money, health and family

Sign up for the monthly Brighter Life newsletter.

Learn more

Will your choices help you reach your financial goals?

Try our Financial habits quiz.

Take action

Are you on track to meet your financial and retirement planning goals?

It's never too early or too late to start!

For a FREE review of your financial plan: Talk to an Advisor.

Add a new comment:

Note: Please be sure to read our commenting policy and terms and conditions for this site. We reserve the right to delete any comments that we view to be in violation of our policy. The name you provide will appear next to your comment. Thank you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Advisor Match
Free newsletter subscription

Connect to your Brighter Life