Today, we've got the BEST gift-giving hacks that will help you to give the best birthday, holiday, and special-occasion gifts to your family and friends. These tips will have you saving money AND earning money while you shop!

The best gift-giving hacks from Fun Cheap or Free

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. 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!

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Watch the video on Youtube or click and watch below for some great gift-giving tips:

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 5 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 then have more in your budget to give to others!

REGIFT

Some of the most valuable (there's that word again) gifts I have ever been 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. So simple, you'd be crazy not to.

Get paid for shopping online - Tips from Fun Cheap or Free

Not only that but if you use this link to sign up, you get $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 sexy.

GET CREATIVE

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 put make them digital for her. Write a poem and frame it. Make a family recipe book for a shower gift. Trust me…the less you spend, the MORE thought, heart, and love you have to put into it…thus making it a killer gift.

Need more ideas? Hit the web! Check out blogs! Google it! Look for tutorials on Youtube! Ask around! See my page HERE for ideas. Start noticing things that people do for others.

BUY USED

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 and thrift stores. 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 this one 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

GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS

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 get a gift month after month after month! Giving the gift of a subscription makes it the gift that keeps on giving. This year for the men in my life, I'm gifting subscriptions to Dollar Shave Club.

They not only have the monthly razor subscription that we all know and love, but they also have shower products, hair products, skin products, cologne, butt wipes, oh and of course shaving products. Basically, if you’ve got a body, they’ve got you covered! DSC is making it super simple with their holiday gift bundles that have something for everyone, on your list. Check out this Member’s Favorite Gift Set, which includes 7 trial size versions of their most popular products AND a $15 E-Gift Card to get started with the Club. Make sure to order by December 17 to receive by December 24.

GET SENTIMENTAL

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 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.

BUY OFF-SEASON

Go 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 have 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

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 my husband 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. My husband 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, my favorite gift EVER), 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. If not everyone does and he doesn't have enough, then I save the money and try again for my birthday, or I use it for a lesser – but still awesome – gift.

GIFT EXPERIENCES

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? What do they want to try? What do they want to get better at? What would create memories?

Give the gift of experiences rather than just things - Gift-giving tips from Fun Cheap or Free

Instead of gifting golf balls that 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 (Mother's Day, Easter): $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.

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!

Gift-giving hacks and tips from Fun Cheap or Free

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Happy gift-giving, Freebs Nation!