10 Gift-Giving Tips to Save Money (and Your Sanity!)

Audrey Cade

By Audrey Cade | Nov 19th, 2018

The holidays are closely associated with giving. It’s nice that we have a season designated as a time to show love and appreciation for friends, family, and others who share our lives; but, sometimes I feel that the movement got derailed and has now driven us all to extremes in spending and pressure to wow everyone we know with our creativity and generosity. When did gratitude become equated with shopping and stress?

Recently, I went out for breakfast with my kids and noted that the placemats had a “helpful gift checklist” printed on them to assist me in remembering to buy gift cards for essentially everyone I’ve ever met. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the act of preparing a present for someone I care about and letting them know how much they’re cared for and valued. I contend that we’ve reached a point of gift giving insanity when we’re now expected to gift everyone from the garbage man to our favorite barista, and even our tax preparer!

So, when reflecting over the suggested list of who to remember during the holidays, I recommend considering:

  1. Your budget. We may wish we could deliver the world on a silver platter to all our loved ones, but the balance of our bank account might not make that possible. Would our friends and family want us going broke just to give them an awesome present? Anyone who really loves us would say “absolutely not!” Loved ones will completely understand if it’s been a rough year for you financially or if you have many other responsibilities to look after. Besides, it’s never wise to trade short-term gain for long-term struggle!
  2. The relationship. Does your hair stylist really need a present from you? That depends. If you only get a trim every few months and don’t have much of a personal connection, your stylist surely won’t expect anything. However, if you’ve been a weekly client for 15 years and are actual friends, maybe she does belong on the list! You will have to list and prioritize everyone who is a contender for your gift-giving operation to determine who is most deserving. If they don’t make the list, that doesn’t mean they don’t matter or you don’t care. Anyone reasonable will understand we have to set a limit somewhere!Many of us are not at pal status with our child’s teacher or hanging out on the weekend with our doorman; yet, these people make a daily impact on our lives and are deserving of recognition. Dozens of people may fall into this category, but that doesn’t mean we have to break the bank to offer up elaborate presents. Even a nice holiday card with a candy cane or a $5 gift card for coffee will bring a smile and get your point across!
  3. Your expectations. I always refer back to the meaning of altruism. If a gift is given purely for the purpose of bringing joy to another, then it is given for the right reasons! If, however, we give from a sense of obligation or because we hope to receive something in return (maybe a present of our own, or perhaps recognition for what a thoughtful and generous person we are), then maybe we need to re-think our motivation!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the cost, quantity, and effort required of gift giving?

No present or any amount of money spent on a gift takes the place of the love and esteem we feel for the people in our lives. The holidays can be magical, or they can make us feel like we’re being chomped down on by a giant nutcracker if we allow ourselves to get caught up in a frenzy of spending and guilt giving! By simmering down the gift-giving experience to the heart of what matters most, prioritizing, planning, and letting go of the perception that we need to go crazy with gifts, we can re-discover the simple joys of the season!

Audrey Cade

Audrey Cade

Audrey Cade is an author and blogger focusing on the interests of divorced and re-married women, stepmoms, blended families, and co-parents.


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