Holiday Gifts That Cost Little To Nothing

December 17, 2012

According to a study conducted by the American Research Group, Americans are expected to spend an average of $854 on Christmas gifts this year – up 32% from last year’s figure of $646.

That’s a huge chunk of change.

But if your budget is too tight for this added expense, it’s best to rethink the gift-giving process altogether.

Here are a few ideas to cut down or cut the cost of Christmas gifts altogether.

Give an Experience

Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon offer deals on a variety of activities that can sometimes be 50-75% off the original cost. This deal, for instance, offers two tickets to see the Ice Castles in Steamboat Springs for only $15. Or this deal offers a choice of three jewelry-making classes for only $10.

An experience often has a bigger impact on the recipient than a gift of the same price – a $10 necklace might fall apart in a month while a $10 jewelry making class could result in a lifelong hobby. These sites can also help to get your creative juices flowing when it comes to gift ideas – you’ll likely come across things you would have never thought of otherwise.

Make Someone’s Life Easier

Time can sometimes be easier to come by than cash, so instead of buying an inexpensive gift, offer your time instead.

My sister is a single mom and always in need of a break, so offering her my babysitting services is worth more to her than gold.

Another great idea is sharing your skill set with those who could use it. I had a friend who was launching a business with little to no start-up money, so I offered to set up her website and launch a few social media profiles, resulting in a pretty substantial savings for her.

Offer cooking classes to someone who is trying to learn, help with construction projects around the house, teach a complimentary yoga class – the list is endless.

Make it Yourself

Pinterest is a mecca for DIY gifts that anyone on your list would actually want (you’ll have to first heal the scars left over from grandma’s hand knit sweaters and macramé pot holders).

Here are just a few that I found:

Photo coasters – less than $2 per set

Bread in a bottle - $2-4 per bottle

Homemade air fresheners - $2-3 per jar

Photo block (a type of makeshift frame) - $3

Themed gift baskets – as little or as much as you want

Are you staying within a budget this holiday season? Share your ideas for spending less by leaving a comment below.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Easy Ways to Save Money Part I
Easy Ways to Save Money Part II