Today, we've got the BEST gift-giving hacks so you can give the best birthday, holiday, and special-occasion gifts to your family and friends. We'll also show you how to save money AND earn money while you shop!
With the Holidays now officially in full-swing, I figured it was time to share some of my best gift-giving hacks, tips, and tricks! It's not only about WHAT gifts to buy, but WHY to buy, HOW to be smart about buying, and WHO to gift it to.
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It will hopefully allow you to put your own personal spin on gift-giving this year, and to make it the most affordable, most effortless, and most impactful gift-giving you've ever done!
Watch the video on Youtube with our best gift-giving tips, or click and watch below:
So there you go! Those are some of the gift-giving tips I use to ensure I'm giving thoughtful, affordable, and creative gifts.
WHY I TEACH ABOUT GIFT-GIVING HACKS
Contrary to popular belief, Fun Cheap or Free is not a “deal blog.” You will almost never see me post a coupon, freebie, or deal/sale on here (aside from sales on my programs or events I'm throwing, etc.). Why?
Because if all I did was post good deals on things, who would be there to teach you whether you could afford that good deal or not? Or how to pay for it? Or how to keep it looking new in the wash, or how to squeeze the most out of it, or five new cool uses for it? There are a million “deal” sites out there.
Here on FCF, my goal is to TEACH you to fish: to give you hacks, tips, tools, and ideas that you can use again, and again, and again…at ANY store, ANY time of year, at ANY phase of life, for anyTHING! This is where gift-giving comes into play. It's such a predominant part of our social circles between family and friends.
While you may feel the need to buy gifts for people, it doesn't mean that you have to pay full price or get them a certain type of thing just because that's what society says they need. Follow these tips and never worry about your gift-giving again!
FOCUS ON VALUE, NOT PRICE
Don't get caught up on how much the gift costs, but instead focus on the actual VALUE of the gift. If you overpay for a gift, it doesn't increase its value. Likewise, if you get a gift on sale, it doesn't devalue it! The value is the same to the person you give it to, regardless of what you pay for it! So it just makes sense to take the time to find a great, quality gift, for a good price, so you have more in your budget to give to others!
Some of the most valuable (there's that word again) gifts I have ever gotten or have given, have been regifted. If it's in perfect condition or has sentimental value, it very well could be the perfect gift for someone! Don't be afraid to regift. (This especially goes for older generations!)
GET PAID TO SHOP
We all know by now that I'm a HUGE advocate for Rakuten (formerly Ebates)! (I mean, I've only been talking about it since I very first started blogging…). Rakuten is the largest cash-back website. They partner with over 2,500 retailers (yes, the ones you shop at ALREADY), and every time you shop online, you get cash back! That's it. That easy. It doesn't cost you anything, there are no fees involved, nada. Rakuten gets a kickback from the retailer, and they share it with you in the form of cold, hard CASH. It's so simple, you'd be crazy not to.
Not only that but if you use our Rakuten link to sign up, you get a $10 welcome bonus after you spend your first $25. PLUS, this time of year, many retailers are doubling, tripling, even 7x-ing (or MORE!) their cash back! Use their app for super easy shopping from your phone. Or if you're shopping from your desktop, download their little web tool that automatically notifies you when you are shopping on a site that will give you cash back.
It's really that awesome.
GET CREATIVE & MAKE GIFTS
You don't have to BUY a gift to make it awesome, and you certainly don't have to be handy, crafty, or overly creative to pull off (or come up with) a creative gift idea. Make things yourself. Get your mom's photo albums and make them digital for her. Write a poem and frame it. Make a family recipe book for a shower gift. Make soap. Or craft some homemade vanilla extract. Trust me…the less you spend, the MORE thought, heart, and love you have to put into it…which makes it a killer gift.
Need more ideas? Hit the web! Check out blogs! Google it! Look for tutorials on Youtube! Ask around! Look through our DIY category on ye old blog for ideas. Start noticing things that people do for others.
Let's get real here, your kids don't have to have brand new everything, or state-of-the-art everything. Some of my kid's favorite toys I have bought from yard sales, thrift stores, and Facebook Marketplace. My husband doesn't have to have a brand new mountain bike. He could actually get a nicer one that's used than buying a new one in the price-point that I have a budget for!
AIN'T NOBODY MAD ABOUT A GIFT CARD!
This one's for me. Personally, I sometimes have a hard time gifting a gift card because it feels a touch…impersonal. In actuality, a gift card is an extremely personal gift, because they get to (literally) PERSONALIZE the gift! They get to buy whatever they want, making it completely tailored to them!
Websites like raise.com allow you to buy (or sell) gift cards at a discount. Also, remember that with Rakuten, you get cash back for shopping online. So buy the gift card online, get cash back for it, then use that cash for other gifts! #Genius
One of the most creative gifts I got in the last few years was a 3-month subscription to a beauty sample box. It was so fun to receive a gift month after month after month! Giving the gift of a subscription makes it the gift that keeps on giving. Whether it's food, personal care, a magazine, or even the kids' activity boxes, you can't go wrong!
One of the best gifts I got was from Bubba. For my birthday, he got short video clips from all my family and friends with sweet messages from them, and put them together in one video. This was seriously one of the best gifts I have ever gotten…and it didn't cost a thing. Focus on gifting meaningful, sentimental gifts, and it will make an impact on everything except your wallet.
Shop after Christmas and stock up on gifts for the rest of the year. Buy baby clothes off-season and keep a stash on-hand for baby showers. I always keep a “gift stash” at my house. If I ever see a great clearance item, I will buy it and save it so I always have a few go-to gifts.
PLAN AHEAD FOR BIG GIFTS
I, personally, would rather get one BIG gift (that I wouldn't or couldn't buy for myself otherwise) than a bunch of small ones. If you want to get someone a big gift that doesn't fit within the price ranges above…
- Save Up – If I want to buy Bubba a bike for Christmas, I try not to spend much on his other gifts throughout the year. I will get more creative and make his other gifts, or buy them on sale, then use that extra money toward his big Christmas gift.
- Make it a Group Gift – Bubba is great at this! He finds out what I want for Christmas (one year it was a Roomba automatic vacuum… and another Season Tickets to Hale Centre Theatre, definitely one of my favorite gifts!), then gets everyone else on-board. My mom, my in-laws, siblings, the whole gang. He sends out an email saying, “Jordan wants ______ for Christmas, do you guys want to go in on it with me?” 90% of the time, everyone does!
Pro Tip: If not everyone does and he doesn't have enough, then save the money and try again for your birthday! Or you can use it for a lesser, but still awesome, gift.
For the person in your life that doesn't need more STUFF (he'em DAD he'em…), focus on experiences. What do they love to do? Any things they want to try? What do they want to get better at? What would create memories?
Instead of gifting golf balls they could easily buy themselves, why not golf lessons? Or better yet, a round of golf for you and he to enjoy together? Instead of a spatula set, do a cooking class together. Or gift them a class. Experiences create memories much better than things do. (Groupon is a great way to get deals on experiences!)
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PAY FOR GIFTS?
Alright, well all of these tips are well and good! But you might be wondering how much to gift for certain occasions.
Now, before I begin this section, I certainly understand that there are variables in gift-giving. Is the gift for a husband? An uncle? A coworker? A boss? A best friend? A friend, friend? A child? A favorite child? (haha)
Gift-giving is very personal, I get that. BUT one thing I want to make very clear is…gifts do NOT have to cost a lot to be meaningful and wonderful.
Standards to try to aim for when giving gifts:
- Baby or Bridal Showers: $20 or less
- Birthdays (Friends & Extended Family): $20 or less
- Birthdays (Immediate Family – Children and Spouse): $30 or less
- Misc. Holidays: $20 or less
- Christmas (Friends & Extended Family): $20 or less
- Christmas (Immediate Family – Children and Spouse): $100 or less
Reasonable, right?? Let me tell you, you can do A LOT with $20.
That is P-L-E-N-T-Y of money to put together a fantastic gift. Christmas? If you can do a lot with $20, you can do even more with $100. $100 is absolutely more than enough to give someone a fantastic Christmas.
Note about Christmas: For your children (tween and younger), I REALLY recommend doing $50 instead of $100. But if you save up enough throughout the year and if you can afford it (and choose to afford it), then just promise me that you'll never go above $100. It's really not necessary.
Pro Tip: Get even MORE tips and thoughts on how much to spend on Christmas in my master “how much to spend on Christmas” post!
BIGGEST GIFT-GIVING TIP
Lighten up on gifts for your kids.
That's right. You heard me. I am guilty of wanting to buy my kids the world. They are just so dang adorable, I can't help myself! It's easy to do, but we really should NOT overindulge our kids like society tends to do. $30 for your child's birthday is PLENTY. If they have a birthday party, I would say it should be even less! One gift is great. If they want more, have them earn an allowance and buy whatever they want. It will teach them more in the long-run and will make your life a lot easier.
Ultimately, the gifts you give should be about the meaning and love behind them, not about the price tag. So there you go! Now standards are set. Run free my little birds, and spread your frugal wings!
Give these new price-points a try, and you will save your family tons. Just remember that you need to PICK AND CHOOSE in the frugal world. You shouldn't spend full-price, top-dollar on everything, and you shouldn't stress, fret, and cut corners with everything.
It's all about balance.
So, there are my best gift-giving hacks! What are yours? Let me know in the comments!
Want more hacks?
- Try out these 8 money-saving hacks to save $100 right now.
- Use these car hacks to make your life easier!
- These 7 nighttime routine hacks will help you to conquer your day.
Such great ideas! I’ve been very thrifty this year with my gift giving, and I’ve loved it! It feels more meaningful somehow.
********I also have a tip for milk production!!! Drink a can of A&W root beer every day! Two of my sister in laws and I all swear by it! Also, Goat’s Rue is an herb that doubled my supply in a matter of days. I highly recommend both of those options!
I’m super excited about a gift that I put together for my MIL. She lives in NY while we are here in Utah and we do a summer trip every year. I made sure to take lots of extra pictures because I knew I was going to put together a Chatbook for Christmas. It turned out amazing and all our pictures are off the phone and actually on something other than scrolling! It’s was about $20 bucks and worth way more in sentimental than the prices value. So if you haven’t checked them out – go fast! They have a discount that ends today.
The only thing I disagree with is gift cards when doing a gift exchange. Too many people do it and then all you have done is exchange finances. If doing a gift exchange, PLEASE get a real gift. Don’t do a gift card! End of mini soap box.
Thank You for this post and video!! Things to follow thats for sure!!
I love gift cards and gift experiences! We don’t want more stuff and would rather spend time doing something together, plus I’m a little hard to shop for- so gift cards are more than accepted!
How to budget for birthday gifts, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. I had basically 3 family member birthdays the same week, I was trying to used my other budget for that but it was not enough. I did not bought everything the same week, but still during the same month it was either a really cheap gift or i was totally over the budget of my other category that is $50 per week. I do not want to feel guilty for getting a cheap gift or for expending to much money. Now I am thinking about Mother’s Day and how much should I spend because I am not working and my husband is always remembering me that he is the one that is making money.
That’s always a tough one when holidays and birthdays fall so close together! If you’re able to, I would start a gift savings account and start budgeting for money to go into that account on a regular basis all year long. That way, when it comes time for you to buy a gift, you already have money set aside. It took us a while to get to where we could budget for those gifts on the regular. Before we were able to do that, we changed the way that we were giving gifts. Rather than buying a gift for someone, we would invite them over for dinner and make them their favorite meal and/or dessert. Spend quality time together and cook a meal for them. You were probably already going to be cooking that night, anyways, so just try to plan it so that the meal fits within your budget and you’re good!