By Bridget Ah-Long
The holidays are a joyous time meant for sharing memories with loved ones and showing you care about them through gift-giving. Spending your hard-earned money on those closest to you is both rewarding and enjoyable, but can also make you feel anxious, especially if you have a strict budget for gifts. Luckily, gifts come in many different shapes and forms, and are not only items that can be purchased at a store.
Here are a few ways you can show your loved ones you care about them during the holidays without breaking your bank:
- Acts of service
One major way to save money during the holidays is finding alternative ways of giving. Volunteering to help out a loved one can be a great and inexpensive way of showing someone you care about them at no cost to you. Offering to help them out with a chore that they’ve been putting off or running errands for them while they take some time to relax are just a few of the many ways you can give this holiday season without spending any money. Giving your loved ones the gift of time is also an effective approach to expressing your love for them. Quality time is just as valuable as a purchased gift, especially if you’re having a hard time figuring out what to buy. Try scheduling some time together and plan something they enjoy doing or haven’t had the time for.
- Do it yourself
There is no better time than during the holidays to showcase your many talents and skills. Take this time as an opportunity to make your gifts instead of purchasing them. If you like cooking, try preparing your loved one their favourite dish, or if you enjoy knitting, try making a one-of-a-kind scarf to keep them warm during the winter. Homemade gifts are not only more unique than store-bought presents, but they also show the receiver how much effort and care you dedicated to them. If you’re struggling with figuring out what to make or need help with how to go about making something, online platforms like YouTube and TikTok are great resources for inspiration and tutorials.
- Only spend what you can
Another trick to not break your bank is to create a budget that works for you, and to stick to it. It can be easy to get carried away with using credit cards, but remember that you are borrowing money and you will have to eventually pay it back. While buying gifts for your loved ones shows that you care, they wouldn’t want you to spend more than you can afford. Be honest with yourself about what you can comfortably spend and, if that’s not a lot, then that’s absolutely fine. You should also try to avoid competing with what other people are gifting, because everyone’s financial situation is different.
- Shop year round
Instead of purchasing all your gifts at once during the holidays, try taking advantage of sales and deals throughout the year; back-to-school or end of season sales are great ways to get more value for your money. Not only can buying your gifts year-round help to offset your total costs, but it can also alleviate the stress associated with scrambling to find the items last minute. This trick requires a bit of organization and space to keep your purchases until the end of the year, but it will definitely help you save time and money in the long run.
- The sentimental route
If you don’t have time to volunteer to help or don’t feel overly confident with your artistic abilities to make gifts, you can always go the sentimental route. This kind of gift-giving option can look like anything that expresses your feelings toward the receiver, such as writing a letter to them about why they mean so much to you or framing one of your favourite pictures of them. Additional options can include making a playlist of all the songs that remind you of your loved one or leaving them a voicemail reminiscing about the special memories you have shared together.
There is no right or wrong way to gift-give during the holidays, and while giving to others is a nice way of showing your loved ones you care about them, it should never be at the expense of your mental health or financial security. If you find yourself feeling anxious about how you’re going to afford your shopping list this holiday season, try to reassess your gift giving practices and consider an alternate route that might save you some cash.