Gift giving and budget sanity

posted 2 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
4673 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

As far as gift giving we give ourselves a budget.  DH has a large family.  We usually don’t give them birthday gifts, unless we plan to see them (we live around 3 hours away from most of our family).  For Christmas we usually have a $10-20 max.  My family is a little different.  I am closer to them and right now it is just my parents and sister.  I am used to spending more on them, so their gifts are usually around $40.  

Food items would be a great way to supplement spending more on presents.  You may not consider yourself crafty, but you could always teach yourself how to do one thing.  Maybe one year make all the women in your family bath salts or candles.  The next year for Christmas teach yourself how to do something else.  One year I made owl Christmas ornaments for all of the women in my family.  Another year I made salt dough stamped ornaments.  Neither of the crafts were really hard, and everyone seamed really impressed.  

Also, there are other ways to make presentation count rather than taking trips to the Paper Source.  For my sister’s b-day I’ve used plan craft paper and have used stamps or inexpensize strings to make the present look super special.  There are tons of ideas for more frugel ways of presenting gifts.  Just check out pintrest. 

Post # 4
851 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013


vanessa7:  perhaps you and your families can agree to celebrate holidays and birthdays together  without purchasing gifts.  If everyone agrees to a no gift buying policy everything will be easier for everyone.  I would think that getting together having a nice dinner with cake would be celebratory enough…….

Post # 5
42101 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

We stopped giving gifts to the aduts in our family years ago. We do send a card on birthdays.

Post # 6
265 posts
Helper bee

you can always go to like dollar stores for wrappping paper and gift bags to save a few dollars. Bake goodies since you’re not that crafty. Home made cards?? Decorate mugs ? 

Post # 7
306 posts
Helper bee

vanessa7:  Easiest thing to do to start saving money on gifts, is not buying store-made cards. Buy a giant pack of bulk scrapbook paper (the large square sheets) and fold papers twice to make a beautiful lined card, and fold another sheet that compliments the colours into a makeshift envelope. Secure the envelope with a glue stick and you have a KICK A** homemade card that looks fantastic. <br /><br />Buy your gift bags at the dollar store (try plain brown kraft bags) and dress them up with cut-outs from your scrapbooking pad (seriously I got one that is 500 sheets from Walmart for $25) or splurge on nice ribbon.<br /><br />Be realistic about what you need to buy for gifts; birthdays and christmases can be made simple with a thoughtful book, a candle/candleholder, a beautiful coffee mug etc. etc. You don’t need to spend more than $25 or so to make an excellent gift!<br /><br />Seriously though, crafting my own cards and envelopes have saved me and FI more than 40 dollars in the past six months alone… so we’re already saving money on store-bought cards.<br /><br />Good luck!

Post # 9
265 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

vanessa7:  I second the homemade wrapping paper and cards – stamping is super easy – buy second hand stamps on ebay! Get to a frabric shop and see if you can get  a ‘scrap’ bag of fabric peices, ribbons and lace. Google shabby chic gift wrapping or stamping gift wrapping for images.


I know it might not be your idea of elegant, but we are out to save money, right?

Also I would recommend decoupage. I had a cousin come over who claims not to be able to do anything crafty and after watching a few videos on how to decorate a box with paper napkins we had a go at it and she was amazed as to what she can do. Everyone who has seen our finished objects was quite impressed ( we bout boxes and clay statuettes in a thrift shop for peanuts, I have seen sililar things decorated sell for 20 times the price! )

I say try your hand at something! We have done customised iron on tranfers on Tshirts for friends, baked stuff, knitted, beaded, made candles, bath bombs.

Post # 10
113 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

We typically do small gifts for birthdays, mothers/fathers day but for Christmas all the adults put their names into a grab bag and we pull names! We set a budget and you only buy a gift for that one person. Granted I usually give my mom a small something regardless. And if youget your spouses name you draw again.

Post # 11
266 posts
Helper bee

For gift wrap and cards I always use the dollar store, they have so much to choose from and with respect to cards what is important i think is what you write inside.  Just buy some big rolls of wrapping papers, last christmas I bought a really cute pack of christmas cards, 20 cards for $2 can’t go wrong with that and I made sure to write something special in each one.

With respect to gifts can you start saving up for gifts a little bit each month? I’ve just started putting away $60 a pay in a seperate account for my christmas gifts, by the time I have to start shopping I’ll have over $500.  I just started this trend this year and hope it will go well.  If you can’t do $60 maybe do $30 each pay?. If you get paid biweekly you’ll have around $300 saved up by the time you have to start shopping. 

Other gift ideas: home made beauty products are always a big hit with the ladies, try home made bath salts, they’re very easy to do and cheap!! Just get some beautiful jars from the dollar store, a big bag of bath salts, some food colouring and some sort of aroma and you’re good to go. You can do a different colour for different people.

Also check out youtube there are tons of ideas for DYI beauty prodcuts/gifts.

Have fun!

Post # 12
17 posts
  • Wedding: May 2011

I would definitely suggest shopping in advance and keeping careful track of what you have spent on gifts throught the year. My Husband and I used to argue over gift giving because he has one sibling and i have 5! So he had a hard time wraping his mind around buying so many gifts for my side of the family (parents, siblings, brother in law, nieces/nephews)! So this year i started shopping well in advance so i can get things on sale! I actually went to kohls last week and got a bunch of beautiful sweaters for all my sisters/sister in law for Christmas gifts for only $5 a piece! Thats going to save us a ton come actual christmas shopping season! I also shopped for my brothers early this year, since they are diehard football fans I bought their gifts during the off season when things were marked down. As far as wedding/shower gifts go, I try to pull up their gift registry while I’m at a store like Marshalls/TjMaxx/homegoods/burlington ect and look for their registered kitchen items there since they carry brand names for a fraction of the price! 

I am definitely a gift giver so it has been an adjustment but I have been getting really excited when I find a great gift at a great price! Good luck to you!

Post # 13
4483 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

FI and I are going through this. We both love being generous, but with buying a home soon we won’t be able to be as giving. I always bargain hunt and wait for things to go on sale, and I pick up gifts when I see them so I’m not scrambling last minute. For example, FI’s goddaughter turns 6 in a little over a month, and we managed (with sales) to get a DS game, a book, and a craft kit for $30 total. Earlier this year, we found a Groupon for gift cards, which are accepted at MIL’s favorite place. We got a $100 card for $70, and along with a “Mother of the Groom” shirt and some flowers, that made up her Mother’s Day and b-day gift.

I do have to admit that sometimes there’s compromise though. Like I saw this beautiful Lenox carousel ornament that my aunt, who collects carousel figurines, would love. But, it was out of budget, so we’re going with a pretty but simple ornament and homemade chocolate for her and my uncle.

Post # 14
2070 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

We struggle with this a lot too. We now do secret santa for Christmas with my husband’s family, so that cuts out having to buy Christmas presents for each of his 3 siblings and their significant others. We’d probably include my family as well, but they live too far away to celebrate Christmas with all of us together.

Post # 15
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: Tarp Chapel

Cards and Gift wrap: Try all the dollar stores to round those up. You would be surprised at some of the very cute cards that some of them carry.

The Gifts: I say antique stores or flea markets. You can find so many different home decor, cute meaningful figurines, and a lot of other stuff for pretty cheap. 🙂 Since I am an avid thrifter and antique obssessed, I have found A TON of things that I have given out as gifts that were super cheap, super thoughtful, and it was something that I knew that they didn’t have, and I knew that nobody else would get them as well. 🙂

Leave a comment

Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors