With Christmas just around the corner, you may find yourself in panic mode, making last-minute rounds that tend to turn budgets into after thoughts as shopping lists grow in length and price limit. But don’t worry “ we’ve all been there. And instead of opting for a $75 sweater or designer handbag, stick with us as we give you some cheaper ideas that won’t leave you weeping over your Visa statement come January. Here’s our guide to holidaying on the cheap.
Budget-friendly idea: Groupon
Why: To give someone a coupon may seem as sincere as a money card or a gas station gift, but for Secret Santas, coworkers or that person who’d rather return anything in hopes of store credit, the likes of Groupon can be a godsend. Signing up is free, and in return you’re treated to a coupon-a-day that includes everything from cheap manicures to 50% off American Apparel. Prices per deal vary, but for $25, you can often double your merchandise.
Be careful because: You’ve got no idea what’s coming up next. Today’s Groupon may be The Body Shop, tomorrow it may be meals at a discount diner.
Budget-friendly idea: Thrift store finds
Why: Clothing options may be a deal breaker, but for super low prices you can snag vintage art, dishes or knick-knacks you might otherwise pay top dollar for. With home dé©cor especially, $5 – $15 can find you accent pieces, lamps or jewelry holders, which, paired with a gift card or box of tea can be the perfect solution to that friend who has everything.
Be careful because: First come, first serve reigns supreme. One day may boast a treasure trove, the next may see only Precious Moments figurines.
Budget-friendly idea: Baker’s mix
Why: By catering to the friend who’s into home baking (we all have one), you can take the cookie jar to whole new levels by including the dry ingredients it takes to make your favourite recipe. You can type it out, keep the ingredients in separate baggies and place them in the jar for the I’m thoughtful route, or you can include the recipe and a small grocery gift card if you’re pressed for time.
Be careful because: A grocery card may put you over your expense limit. Sure, ingredient measuring may take an extra ten, but by using some of your own, you’re saving yourself some cash (and an explanation when your friend opens the gift).
Budget-friendly idea: Mixed CDs
Why: If you’re just getting on your feet (or are currently mastering the art of student budgeting), presents for everyone can make or break rent, meals or both things combined. Luckily, music is free (according to the internet), and by making a mix tailored to a specific person, you’re giving them something sincere, thoughtful and completely one-of-a-kind. If you want to up the ante, make your own album art to cement the fact you didn’t just burn a mix on your way out the door. And even if you made the same compilation for everybody, a drawing, collage or creative lettering will still make your gift one-of-a-kind.
Be careful because: Good mixes take time. Your friends will know if you downloaded the week’s top 40 chart and tried to pass it off as your own.