When watching every penny, you can get creative about saving money. One area of your life in which to consider reducing spending is gift giving.
It may be quite challenging to think about how to give to those you love without spending, yet it’s possible to provide cherished gifts on a budget. Consider the following ideas for inspiration.
Gifts for Parents
1. Car wash and picnic lunch. Wash your mom’s or dad’s car. Then take them to a park for a picnic lunch. How much time does a parent get to spend alone with his grown son or daughter?
* Okay, so some elbow grease is involved and probably 3 hours of your time. Mom or Dad will be thrilled you’re spending this time togetherü including making the picnic lunch.
2. Home-cooked meal. Speaking of lunch, why not invite Mom and Dad over for a home-cooked meal? You’ll spend a little on the meal but save dollars when you prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner as a parent’s gift you enjoy together.
3. Wild card day to spend together. Give a parent a day to spend doing whatever they want. Maybe Mom loves to watch an old movie together. Perhaps Dad wishes for a day on the boat just for the two of you. You’ll be surprised at how much parents enjoy this gift of time.
Gifts for Friends and Siblings
1. Help with a hobby. Give of your time to help a friend or loved one in a hobby that they love.
* For example, if your brother enjoys doing genealogy, give him one whole day of your time to do some family-tree-digging together. Whether you go to your hometown and search for legal documents for family members or visit a cemetery to gather info from a gravestone, this gift of time will help your brother in doing something he enjoys.
* And you won’t have to spend cash on a gift he might not use anyway.
2. Have a grown-up slumber party. For a good friend or sister, have you thought about an invitation to spend the night at your place, just for fun? There’s something so delicious about hanging out, staying up late, eating a late-night pizza, and collapsing into bed in the wee hours after spending the evening with your sister/girlfriend.
* Although you might spend a few bucks on groceries for two meals, it’ll be less than what you would’ve spent on a gift.
3. Assist with a dreaded chore. If someone wanted to give you the gift of helping you clean out your garage, how would you feel? Giving a gift of doing a task your loved one has talked about having to conquer is a wonderful way to truly give something special.
* The task will be finished in half the time and the receiver of your gift will be incredibly thrilled for months. What gift purchased with money does that?
Gifts for Children and Grand-Children
1. Give the gift of a family tradition. If you’re a mom or a grandma, have you thought about inviting a daughter or granddaughter over to learn to make and bake your secret homemade bread recipe? Costs are minimal. The memories for your kids and grandkids are priceless. This is the type of gift that lasts forever.
2. Spend a half-day playing games. Although you might spend a lot of time with your grand-child, how often do you drop everything and play whatever they want? For example, if she wants to play dress-up, put on a hat and gloves right along with her. If he wants to play a computer game, take a turn.
* This time will be the best gift you’ve ever given to your grandchild. Let them decide how to spend special time together, as long as there’s little financial cost.
As much as you love giving gifts to others, explore the possibility of giving more gifts of time. The receiver will enjoy spending extra hours with you. Plus, you’ll benefit by deepening your emotional attachments with loved ones by giving special gifts of your precious time.