How to give meaningful gifts on a budget
Meaningful gifts are always nice to receive, and to give, but they can cost a bit more if you don’t know where to look! Giving gifts on a budget is possible, no matter for whom you are shopping. Check out these ideas for giving gifts on a budget, shopping for meaningful gifts, and even making meaningful gifts that cost nothing.
Unfortunately, Christmas has become a time of massive consumerism. I actually walked through the local “everything” store, Meijer, the other day and wondered “how many people have a layaway right now that they cannot afford?”. Yeah, I am pretty obsessed with people budgeting wisely. I wish that more people would realize that they can live well with less.
That is part of why I wanted to share this post. The other part is that I am an advocate for fair trade, ethically made products which in themselves are gifts that give back as they give to the receiver and those that produce it. So how do you give meaningful gifts on a budget?
Plan ahead and save for Christmas
The best time to start saving for Christmas next year is the day after Christmas this year. Saving all year long is going to give you more money for all the gifts that you need year long, not just for Christmas. $30-$50 each month goes a long way by the end of the year.
This year was a bit tougher for us than in the past, but we still wanted to have Christmas on a budget. We saved a little each month to put in our gift envelope and that certainly does add up. Maybe you are reading this and it is too close to Christmas to actually save, this next tip is for you.
Selling items that you no longer need is a great way to have extra spending money. We have sold over $400 worth of items to have money for gift giving this year. Check out this list of household items to sell for quick cash.
Determine your amount
The most important part of sticking to a budget is to actually create a budget. Look at what you have and set a price on your gift budget. Then, determine who all you want to give a gift to. Next you will want to decide how much you want to spend on each person. This will help you know what to even look at when shopping. Do you look at the pricey items or the smaller, less expensive items? Remember that this amount isn’t what you have to spend exactly, it is the maximum that you need to spend. If you save some money, don’t worry about making up for it. When getting really intentional about gift giving, you will likely buy one really great gift instead of 5 “okay” gifts. This is the point!!!
Just as a side note, if you are struggling with creating a budget and sticking to it, you may be interested in my Budget Coaching where I help people escape debt, set budgets, live within their means, and save for the future. Check it out and sign up for a free 15 minute call if you have more questions.
I love supporting local crafters by shopping at bazaars and markets. I tend to prefer truly handmade products over china made, mass produced goods sold locally. They just have a different meaning to them. Look for sewn items, wood signs, knitted goods, candles and more. There are so many nice products out there that are way more unique than what you find in malls or stores.
If you don’t have a lot of local shops, check out Etsy. They have a huge selection of all the gifts you could ever wish to give. Not all products are handmade, so be sure to look for that. Here you will for sure find something for every personality. Just type in something that your gift receiver loves and you will be offered a slew of ideas.
Related posts: Looking for eco friendly gifts for him this year?
- Sustainable gifts for her any time of the year
- Meaningful, non toy gifts for kids for a clutter free Christmas
Gifts that give back
You can find do-good organizations in most areas that funds some social justice mission such as adoption, anti-slavery, homelessness, the refugee crisis and more. Check on facebook or google to find some or choose a national non profit. Even a small donation made n the name of your gift recipient adds up to a lot for these organizations.
If you are looking to donate in someone’s name, check out the Heifer International (gives a cow/sheep/chickens to a family in northern Africa), IJM (helps rescue people from slavery) and Sole Hope (helps treat those with foot infections in Uganda) just to name a few.
Ask good ole Facebook about a “Gifts that Give Back” event or an event for good. Facebook is usually pretty good about offering suggestions on pages once they know what you are looking for.
Part of being more intentional with your gift giving is that you will probably buy less. The cost of the gifts may be a bit more than something from a big box store, but you can purchase with confidence. Your purchase will help individuals or small organizations thrive in their businesses and mission. Even making a small purchase from these sellers can go a long way.
Meaningful gifts that cost nothing
When resources are tight, sometimes you don’t have any extra to spend on gifts. Handmade gifts can still be meaningful gifts that cost nothing.
- Upcycling old clothing or linens into a gift
- Baking a sweet treat and wrapping it nicely
- Make “hot cocoa in a jar” and decorate the mason jar with a nice ribbon and tag
- Check your local Freecycle or free listings on Craigslist for a nice piece that has meaning
A few ideas for meaningful gifts
There are a few things that I have really caught my heart and my eye due to their gifts that give back theme and their awesome products. I want to share those with you just in case you are looking to do the same.
Shop your local stores (even big box stores!) for Fair Trade coffee, chocolate, and treats. Whole Foods or a local health food store are usually good choices here. Find some of the best Fair Trade chocolate here!
Ground Up PDX are nut butters with a lot of flavor. They also employ homeless women and train them in their program.
Eleventh Candle Co. is local to me in Ohio. They employ survivors of sex trafficking to make their lovely products.
Everly drink mix is a natural drink mix that those water haters will absolutely drink up!
The Paw Tribe is a great site for those pet lovers… you know, the real pet lovers!
I know that giving meaningful gifts means a lot to you (because you are reading this whole post!), but staying on a budget also means a lot. I hope that you have plenty of ideas for saving for Christmas, buying locally made gifts, giving gifts that give back, or even giving meaningful gifts that cost nothing!
What are you looking to give this year? Give us an idea so that maybe we can get it too!