This year calls for gifts that have more meaning to them. This doesn’t mean that we have to dig ourselves into a financial deficit while in the process. We’ve all been pushed beyond our comfort zones, and the holidays should mark more of the sentiment of the season with meaningful gifts. Here are our top ideas and holiday budgeting tips:

Get Crafty

One way to celebrate this is by gifting a DIY. Whatever it is that you make or do well, do that! Not so handy with the arts and crafts? That’s okay; you can find someone who is on Etsy to make you the perfect gift. Etsy has everything custom from jewelry, dinnerware, clothing, and totally fun, “out of the box” gadgets. The best part is that you can connect directly with the artisan to collaborate on your idea for a meaningful gift for your recipient.

Affordable Experiences & the Gift of Fun Memories 

DIY not your thing? Why not give an experience to be shared? This could range anywhere from a coupon book of vouchers for a home-cooked meal, massage, picnic in the park, future event tickets, or a mini road trip getaway. The costs of a road trip are fairly minimal and a great holiday budgeting tip, so long as you carefully consider your food, affordable accommodations, and gas expenses. It’s the gift that keeps on giving as it provides time to be shared and something to look forward to.

Meaningful Themed Holiday Gift Ideas

If you are hard-pressed to wow your significant other, why not a themed date night where you include wine, chocolate, candles, and movies. You get the gist.  For groups of friends, this is always a welcomed gift for those with little ones, and a bonus if you offer your complimentary babysitting services as well. Imagine that you are helping to save a relationship while saving funds in your wallet. That sure sounds like a win-win to me!

Holiday Budgeting Tip: Give Your Time, not an Object

The gift of giving your time and helping a loved one solve a problem goes a long way. If cash flow is running short this year, think about ways you can help somebody close to you that is struggling. Maybe it’s a car repair, cleaning and organizing for them, or simply having a meaningful conversation. The point is, meaningful gift ideas don’t have to cost a million dollars to mean something. Look at your abilities and how they could help somebody else out. If you specialize in fitness, offer some complimentary sessions to a friend. Perhaps you have a green thumb and could breathe some new life into someone’s garden.

Take it to the Kitchen

Another option that always bodes well and never fails to disappoint is some good old-fashioned baked goods. Put together a dozen cookies, or any sweet treat you enjoy making and wrap them up in holiday-colored cellophane with a bow and you’re good to go! It’s also really fun to make a gingerbread house and give it to someone as both a tasty treat and holiday décor. Two in one gifts are the best! Trader Joe’s has some fun, budget-friendly gingerbread kits that are easy to assemble without breaking the bank.

Be Realistic with Your Holiday Budgeting 

The key to all of these tips is to be realistic with your budget and not overspend so that you’re in the hole by the end of the year. We tend to put purchases on credit cards during this time of year. Say NO to those store credit cards that try to lure you in, and only spend what you have in the bank. If you have $10, then stick to that and make the most out of your coin. It may sound tempting at the time, but the interest and looming debt in the months to follow the holidays will feel far heavier than coming up with your own creative ideas. 

This year has been hard on all of us so this holiday season is truly about spreading love, joy, and kindness and starting 2021 on a sound financial note. 

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