on buying presents

As our nation sinks deeper into this recession, I hear more and more talk about people not spending much money on Christmas presents. Frankly, I think that is a good thing. I might even go out on a limb here and say that the recession in general is a good thing. It is beautiful to see people take more responsibility for their financial actions and for our society to begin to esteem frugality again.

The personal issue I have with not spending money on Christmas presents, though, is that gifts are my love language. I absolutely love to give gifts to the people I care about! I have toned down the spending in recent years, but we still feel it is worthwhile to give gifts to those we love. Thus, gift-giving is a small but important part of our monthly budget.

Our budget for family birthdays and Christmas presents is $10 per person. Looking at both my birthday gift list and my just-finished Christmas list from this year, that means we’ve spent about $150 on birthday gifts and $120 on Christmas gifts (not including the amounts I spent on Keith and Rilla). Some people might think that is a lot; personally, I don’t think it is all that much for a lasting expression of endearment, and I think the cost is totally worth it. Maybe it would not be worth it for something lame that a person would toss aside and never use, but I think I usually manage to find gifts that are suited to the person, will last a while, and will be worth more to them than what I spent on it.

I view finding the right present for the right price like a never-ending treasure hunt. My grandma taught me to look for birthday and Christmas presents all year long at retail store sales and yard sales, and I have learned to do that especially with online sales. It is so satisfying to find gifts ahead of time this way! One treasure that I enjoyed finding and giving this year was a neat old picture frame purchased at a garage sale for $2. I outfitted it with pictures of my dad, myself, and my baby for less than fifty cents and presented it to my father for his birthday. Having the whole thing planned out months in advance just made the anticipation that much sweeter. When we only buy one or two birthday gifts a month, it is fun to think about them ahead of time. And there is something especially satisfying about getting a great deal on a fantastic gift.

Because I do most of my shopping online, let me just share these sites that tend to have the best deals. There are others which I have referenced now and then, but these are my favorites and have proven to be the most useful to me over time. In particular, I check Cool Mom Picks and Slick Deals almost every day. I may go a month between finding relevant deals, but the ones I do find are so worth the thirty-second daily time investment.

For finding gift ideas…

For finding a good deal…

Do you have any other favorites?

Published in: on December 5, 2009 at 1:45 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ARG! I just left this totally long comment, and then it vanished! ARG! So, here’s the condensed version:

  2. Yea, that was pretty condensed. It seems to not post if the comment is more than a few lines. So you are going to get lots and lots of small comments from me! Let me try again.

    -used by a friend of mine, who, since she started using it, cut their grocery bill by over 60% (amazing the amount of dedication and hard work you’ll put in to save on groceries when you’re unemployed w/ 3 kids!)

  3. Alright, never mind. It doesn’t seem to like me today, or maybe it doesn’t like that I’m adding so many links. Either way, I’m just going to email you my list. If you find it worthy, you can add it in as a comment yourself. Ha!

  4. Comment from Josie:

    -used by a friend of mine, who, since she started using it, cut their grocery bill by over 60% (amazing the amount of dedication and hard work you’ll put in to save on groceries when you’re unemployed w/ 3 kids!)

    – compares prices all over the web of specific items. Also includes applicable coupon codes for each site selling that item.

    – often cheaper than amazon for christian gifts, books, and melissa and doug toys, but you need to find a free shipping coupon code to make it.

    -go to the subforum “thrifty families”. The moms there are always posting their newest great-deal finds online. Yesterday they hooked me up w/ name-brand Crocs for $8, w/ free shipping and then 7% cash back rebate. (Got a pair of Green Bay Packers Crocs for Reub’s stocking!) Also, a free photobook compliments of Rachel Rae, another compliments of Oprah, a free photo christmas ornament from york (another stocking stuffer for Reub), the list just goes on!

    -I sign up for their daily email. It includes all sorts of links for online deals going on, as well as high value coupon links, and prize drawings.

    -not sure about this one. I just started using it. But it seems like a good idea.

  5. I just found this AMAZING website: http://www.filleritem.com you put in the amount more you need to spend for free shipping on amazon, and it will give you a whole list of items that are as close as possible to the amount needed. So, if you only need to spend 5 cents more to qualify, you can find an item that only costs .10 or something close! Yay!

  6. http://www.ravelry.com Not a shopping site exactly, but a knit and crochet community where I find loads of free patterns to knit for friends and family. I think handmade (like your photo frame) elevates presents 🙂

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