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Gift Giving on a Budget

I’ve have had a lot of special occasions that have called for gifts lately. Between 4 graduations for family members and close friends, 2 baby shower, Mother’s Day, numerous birthdays, and a couple of up-coming weddings, these gift giving occasions could break me if I let them.

I used to do a lot of home-made gifts as a way to save money. In college, I had a lot more free time than I do now. I still worked full-time and took a full course load, but I spent my free time with crafting and quilting projects that made some nice gifts for my family and friends. I still enjoy these kinds of things, but my free time is a lot more limited now.

Luckily, I’ve found a few ways to make gift giving easier on my budget without using up all of my free-time too. Here are a few of my ideas for gift giving on a budget.

I Use My Discounts

Right now I’m still working part-time at a retail store. While the pay per hour isn’t great, I definitely make more freelancing in my pajamas than I do at my weekend shift at the store, the fringe benefit of having a discount on groceries is very attractive.

This retail store carries the brands of food and sundry items that my family prefers and so it’s a great way for me and them to save on things we need anyway. Plus, whenever one of them has a birthday it’s easy to find them a gift and use my discount to get it for much less.

Another discount I use for gift-giving is via the pyramid scheme I got sucked into a few years ago. Luckily, I never got in over my head and instead I use it to get my cosmetics for free and to earn a little bit of money every now and then too. Sometimes this also helps me give gifts for free or at least a lot cheaper than if I had to pay full-price.

Rewards Programs

Another to make sure gift giving doesn’t kill your budget is to use reward points from programs like Swagbucks to give gifts instead of using them for yourself.

Swagbucks is a program that lets you earn reward points for things you would do anyway, like searching the internet for information. Instead of using Google, Bing, or another search engine, I use Swagbucks whenever I’m searching the internet. You don’t earn points every time you search, but you will earn points every so often, randomly, for using their program to search the internet. Swagbucks has other methods to let you earn points too, but internet searching is the main one I use right now.

After you have a certain number of points built up you can redeem them for gift cards to lots of different retailers, like Amazon or Starbucks. Then I either use the gifts cards to buy gifts or I just give the gift card as the gift. It’s a great way to give a great gift without spending any money from your already-tight budget.

I love giving gifts to my loved ones, but I don’t always have a ton of room in my budget for gift giving. These methods help me afford to keep giving gifts without having to make other cuts or sacrifices to my budget.

How do you afford gift giving without giving awkward gifts like this?

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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.

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