Christmas Shopping Ideas on a Tight Budget
Christmas is Coming
Whether you like it or not, Christmas is just around the corner. If you are like me, you are on a budget and wasting too much money on Christmas is not an option. This means you need to tackle the Christmas shopping issue head-on as soon as possible. Let me give you some low-budget suggestions for this Christmas to help you out.
Some of these suggestions do take a bit of preparation, so if you do not have the time to do them this year, hopefully you can use some of these ideas next Christmas. Also, you should try to keep an open mind about some of these ideas. I would have at one time never considered re-gifting a present or making a gift as opposed to buying one, but times have changed.
Another hurdle I've had to overcome recently is trying to spend the same amount of money on each person in my life. For example, I have two best friends and I would force myself to spend the exact same amount on each person. So that meant if I found the perfect gift for one friend that was slightly more in cost than what I spent for the other friend, I would then have to add an extra gift for the friend that I spent less on. From now on, that is not a priority. It is all about quality not quantity. Spending extra money to "even out' gifts is just not practical.
So now that you are approaching Christmas gift ideas with an open mind, let us explore some options you may have never considering until now. My goal this year is to give Christmas gifts to 7 adults and 1 child and spend less than $100. I hope you can also benefit from my research and strategies.
Buy an adorable Christmas tree with Mechanical Turk money!
You may not know a wonderful site called Mechanical Turk even exists, but it does. The website is an Amazon website and you can visit it at www.mturk.com. Basically, the website allows companies to list small tasks, assignments, surveys, and research projects on its site. Workers (like you!) can register on the Mechanical Turk site and earn money for each task you are willing to complete. Some tasks only pay as little as 1 cent. Many other tasks pay 50 cents to $1 and only take about 10 or 15 minutes. Generally, the more complex the task, the more the pay. I've seen some transcription assignments pay around 50 bucks.
Obviously, you are not going to get rich using this site. However, if you have just one hour each day to work on the site, you can easily make a few dollars a day. That does not seem like too much until you realize you've made about $90 in one month. After you've registered with the site and all your account verification is complete (it takes about 2 weeks), you can transfer your earnings over to Amazon and buy anything you'd like on their website. For that matter, you can even transfer that money to your bank account (once they verify that information) and spend it wherever you like.
If you are just sitting there at your computer eagerly awaiting Cyber Monday, it is great to know you've got all that money on an Amazon gift card and you can purchase plenty of quality gifts using your Mechanical Turk money. This is especially helpful if you just really need a little extra cash and you intend on buying all your presents through Amazon anyway. Even if you do opt to send the money to your bank account, surely you can use that money towards your Christmas presents or any other expenses in your life.
My Coke Rewards
If you drink Coke, do I have a deal for you! On the My Coke Rewards website, you can enter in Coke Rewards from any Coca-Cola product you purchase. If you buy cases of soda, each case is worth 10 points. Most bottles of soda are worth 3 points each. If you are drinking Coke anyway, why not cash in?
If you have never entered Coke Rewards on the site before, it will take a while to build up a lot of points. If you are starting now, chances are, this may not help you this Christmas. However, it is great for the future. Your friends won't have to know you got them an amazing Coke sweatshirt for free. Furthermore, you can also use the rewards for online gift cards like Old Navy, PetCo, and Barnes & Noble. No one is going to realize you bought their Christmas present on the Barnes & Noble website using Coke Rewards. It is a great (free) gift option!
Dollar Store Gifts!
The Dollar Store
If you've read my other hubs, you will know I am a huge fan of shopping at the dollar store for Christmas stocking stuffers. Never rule out the dollar store for major gifts either! My father often needs packs of socks for Christmas, and you can purchase those at the Dollar Tree. My mother usually wants a new pair of slippers each Christmas. Once again, that is another $1 item at the Dollar Tree.
Some other items you may want to consider purchasing from the dollar store for Christmas are:
- Tupperware containers
- Christmas cards
- Nail polish
- Eye shadow
- Hair supplies
- Night lights
- Jewelry boxes
- Word puzzle books
- Stuffed animals
- Small toys
- Wrapping paper
- Gift bags
- Christmas bows
- And much, much more!
You might think it is tacky to shop at the thrift store for Christmas, but that is not the case at all. Plenty of your friends and relatives will enjoy one-of-a-kind gifts. The secret to successful thrift store Christmas shopping is finding hidden treasures someone will love.
For instance, I happen to love My Little Ponies, but I only want the classic original ponies from the 80s. Guess where you can find those adorable little collectibles? The thrift shop! Do you have a relative that only likes antique furniture? You might find something nice at the thrift store. How about a grandmother that loves collecting horse figurines? You might be able to find a real deal on a horse statue at a thrift store.
The secret to finding the perfect second hand gift is making sure it is in good condition. No one wants to get a Christmas present that looks like it is going to fall apart. Even worse, no one wants a gift that is potentially infested with bugs. It looks like you don't care at all when you give a present like that.
If possible, purchase items that need a little "fixing up" if they are a good price and you are sure you can spruce up the items yourself. Sometimes a quality piece of furniture just needs a little patching up and some furniture wax. In some instances, you may be able to paint an item to personalize it and make it a really special Christmas gift for a special person in your life. Many people will find much more sentimental value to a gift you've personalized for them rather than anything you can buy at the mall.
Macklemore loves the thrift shop, too!
Re-Gifting a Gift
In the past, I would have never considered re-gifting a gift, but times have changed. Many people are not offended to receive a present that is re-gifted if it is something they absolutely love. I believe that is the real ticket to re-gifting success... finding the perfect gift match!
Make sure to never re-gift a present within the same circle of acquaintances. For instance, if your friend gives you a gift you don't need, do not re-gift it to a mutual friend. Eventually she will figure out you gave that "adorable" purple elephant statue to a different friend when she sees it sitting in that person's living room.
I've found re-gifting usually works best with clothes that are simply not a good fit. For instance, if a relative gives you sweaters that are really pretty, but they simply do not fit you, it is fine to re-gift that to a friend that really wants new clothes and is that exact size. This works out great because now you don't have to take the time to exchange the clothing and now you don't have to spend money on a new gift for your friend. (Just don't wear the clothing first - that is tacky! As a general rule, if the tag is not on it, it is no longer new. Don't re-gift it!)
I am making soy candles for Christmas!
If you have a special craft you enjoy, why not make some of your own creations to give as Christmas gifts? Many people like receiving gifts that are handmade, especially if you are giving a quality item. I am not saying it is a good idea to glue a couple of used Popsicle sticks together and pretend it is art. I am saying for all you crafty folks out there, it is time to break out some materials you already have (or purchase a few new items at a low price), and start making some beautiful gifts for people.
I've found the type of handmade Christmas gifts people seem to enjoy the most are:
- Food related items
Also remember not to "overdo" a Christmas present. Yes, everyone may have enjoyed the hand-crafted jewelry one year, but after the 5th year in a row it can get a little boring. Unless someone specifically asks for a craft you make, I would change it a bit each year or try something new after a couple of years.
Another idea for crafts is to make money selling your handmade items. You can often make a lot of money at craft fairs, or selling items to friends and family members. If you start early enough in the year, you could have a lot of extra cash saved for the holidays. Not only can you give crafts as gifts, you can also earn cash with your crafts to buy gifts.
Even More Christmas Advice!
- How to Create the Perfect Gift Basket
Gift baskets are wonderful Christmas presents for anyone on your list.
- Is a Color Changing Candle a Good Christmas Gift?
The Air Wick Color Changing Candle is a now available in stores and it's on many Christmas lists this year.
- What Women Really Want For Christmas
What do women really want for Christmas? I am here to help you out.
- Fun Christmas Gifts for Your Co-Workers
Check out some suggestions for work appropriate holiday gifts.
Sales and Coupons
My final words of advice to you are: never pass up a good sale! My definition of a good sale is a sale where you actually come out ahead. If you get a coupon for a relatively expensive store, $10 off a $50 purchase is probably a sale you can pass on. After all, that means you still have to spend $40 or more just to use the coupon. However, if you see a coupon that says 50% off any item, and you are genuinely only buying one item, it might just be worth it.
Always compare coupons and sales to find your best options. I know some of you are fans of Black Friday sales. For me, I would personally rather eat a Christmas fruitcake full of bugs than go shopping on Black Friday. However, I do know there are some great deals out there. If you are brave enough to face the crowds, compare store sales papers before beginning your journey. If possible, you can always shop online on Black Fridayif stores are offering the same bargains on their websites. It is awesome to get the same discounts and not get trampled over by shoppers!
Good luck to you and your low-budget shopping adventures. Never be afraid to look around and get creative with your Christmas presents. If you have any other money-saving ideas for Christmas shopping you'd like to share, be sure to add that to the comments below. Merry Christmas!
Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle