Christmas is the traditional time to blow your budget. It’s so easy to get sucked into the spirit of the season and spend more than you need to. Then there are the traditional January headaches as you struggle to pay off those credit card bills. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five great gift ideas that won’t cost you a fortune.
1) Use Your Flybuys
If you have a Flybuys or other loyalty card, Christmas is an ideal time to cash in some of your points before they expire. You possibly won’t have enough points to give your loved one a holiday in Tahiti, but you could pick up a book, a magazine subscription or even a pair of socks. And as you have already spent the money that earns you the loyalty pints, it won’t make any difference to your budget.
2) Buy a Gift on Trademe
Go to trademe. Search for ‘$1 reserve’. Sort results by ‘closing soon’. At the time of writing there were over 22,000 items listed with a $1 reserve. Many of those had attracted no bids and a fair proportion were brand new goods. Watch the postage costs so that you don’t exceed your $10 budget. But where else could you shop for an antique Egyptian tapestry, a load of recycled timber or a French Maid’s uniform for under ten bucks?
3) Grow a Present
Take cuttings from your flowers or herbs and start them off for your friends and family. Just snip off about 6-8cm of your favourite herb or flower, remove the lower leaves, and put it in an attractive pot with some potting mix. Keep moist and the new plant should take off. The best herbs for doing this are rosemary, sage, oregano and tarragon. Good flowers for cuttings include geraniums and daisies. You could even decorate the pot yourself to keep those costs down.
4) Home Baking
What’s the yummiest cake you can make? Are you a master with muffins? An artist with Afghans? Perhaps you are fantastic with fruit cake. Everyone likes to eat well at Christmas and a home-made delicacy can be just what Santa ordered. One tip, keep to things you know you can cook well rather than trying something completely new for a present. Disasters blow budgets.
5) Make a Gift Voucher
Make up a voucher, either on your computer or by hand. Make a promise that can be redeemed at a later date. Choose your gift to suit the person you are giving to. For instance, while a candle-lit massage might be ideal for your partner it probably wouldn’t go down too well with your boss. And try to make it something that you don’t usually do. I’m pretty regular about cooking dinners so a good gift from me might be to do the laundry for a week. If your partner usually does the lawns then offer to do that a couple of times. Choose a chore that you know the person doesn’t like to do and make a voucher for that.
Whatever you choose to do for your loved ones this Christmas, choose a budget that’s right for you and don’t get carried away with the hype. Remember, Christmas comes but once a year but credit cards are forever.