You obviously have a ton of options when it comes to getting your holiday gifts. Of course, these options can also span the entire financial spectrum, form free to outrageously expensive. On Thursday, we will talk about planning your gifts to optimize your savings and stay within your written budget. Before that happens, it is important to have a basic break-down of your options before you start brainstorming gift ideas. To help make it easier on you, your holiday gift options will be broken down into 3 categories: buy, thrift, and DIY.
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This option is the most expensive option of the three. That doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve significant savings but there are keys to doing it:
- Forethought and planning are going to be imperative for maximum savings.
- Adjust your expectations. (If you plan to buy all of your gifts but you have a limited budget, don’t expect to be able to buy the brand new PS304. Okay, so I just made that game system up, but you get the idea.)
- Due diligence is needed to find the sales and clearance deals that will save you money.
We will go in-depth on this tomorrow for Day 5 of the series but it is important to start thinking about these things today.
Thrifting is a nice compromise for your budget between buying and DIY-ing. It is also great if you don’t consider yourself much of a “crafter” or it you simply don’t have the time to DIY. Keep in mind when choosing to thrift your holiday gifts that you are not limited to traditional “thrift” stores. Some options to keep in mind are:
- Used Game Stores
- Online Second-Hand Sales
- Used Book Stores
Again, we will explore this option fully on Day 6 but I don’t want you to go ahead and discount it because you can’t see yourself digging through shelves of miscellaneous items searching for the perfect gift. (Though I admit that, for me, this is like panning for gold. I absolutely love the hunt for treasures.)
This one is my favorite because it is personal and has the highest savings potential. The possibilities with do-it-yourself gifts are limitless so long as you take the time to learn the process. For example, while I could absolutely build my own jet plane, I have no desire to take the time to learn the engineering such a task would need nor to expend the money on the tools I would need. It is important for you to recognize your limitations of time and willingness. If you have found an awesome knitted sweater pattern for free online but you’ve never knit a day in your life, that free pattern will actually cost you hours or day of learning basic knitting skills. Subsequently, you may get frustrated and give up altogether because you aren’t catching on “fast enough”.
This is when your budget gets into trouble because you are now forced to buy gifts that are over your allotted budget because you find yourself out of time to bargain shop. Instead of going through this, choose a different gift project for this year and start learning to knit in your free time. This takes the pressure off of perfecting your skill in time to finish gifts for the holidays. If you decide eventually that you really love knitting, save that sweater for a gift idea next year. You might even get them done early with a whole year to work on them.
You may have noticed a theme throughout all of this… self-awareness. This plays a huge role when deciding which of the above holiday gift options are right for you. You need to know your style and strengths and balance those against your budget to ensure success. You also don’t have to limit yourself to just one. Our holiday gifts always end up being some combination of the three and that’s totally fine. Start thinking about your style and strengths and come back over the next few days as we dig deeper into these options to help you figure out what combination works for you.
If you missed the introduction to this series, check it out at 31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts.
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