A Guide To Giving Gifts Without Going Broke This Holiday Season

It’s getting to the pointy end of the year, which means office parties, family reunions, catchups with friends – and the one thing these encounters all have in common: presents. If you haven’t saved and budgeted all year, chances are you might be feeling more than a little bit anxious about the impending season of gift giving. Here are some ideas for things to get the people you love that won’t break the bank, but definitely leave them smiling.

Presents don’t have to be a source of stress this holiday season. If you’re low on cash ask yourself Maggie Germano’s four questions for gift giving and make a plan:

#1 How many people do you need to buy gifts for?
#2 What exactly are the holidays in question? Birthdays, Christmas? Work functions? Secret Santa?
#3 Roughly how much do you want to spend on each present for each loved one?
#4 How much do you need to put aside from now on to achieve that goal?

If you can answer these four easy questions, you’ll be prepared enough to nail your holiday gift giving – no surprises. If you aced #1 through #3 but didn’t quite get around to putting money aside, don’t fear. Here are 10 gift ideas that don’t suck.

#1 Some nice wine

A decent bottle is a great way to give your vino-loving loved one something they’ll appreciate. Find out what kind of wine they actually like drinking as wine aficionados tend to have a preferred drop (maybe they’re a fan of an SA Riesling or a Hunter Valley Semillon?). Also consider websites such as VinoMofo where you can buy lovely wines for a discounted amount.

#2 Good looking, affordable art

From Etsy to craft markets in your local area, you can find affordable, thoughtful art for your friends or family. Or have a scroll through Society6. Art is often someone everyone appreciates yet forgets to buy for themselves.

#3 Photo keepsake


Pop into any Kmart of Officeworks and you can find low-cost picture frames and photo printing machines that, in combination, will enable you to make a sensational sentimental gift the people in your life will adore.

#4 An inscribed book

Pop over to a (second hand) book shop and find a copy of a novel or poetry book that reminds you of your friend. Write a beautiful inscription in it worthy of your loved one and watch their face light up.

#5 Cute ‘coupons’

These are a huge hit, especially for romantic partners. Make a coupon book out of an old notebook cut in half. Make a fun cover for it, and allow one cute coupon for each page. One coupon could bestow the gift-receiver a night off doing the dishes, a massage, a home-cooked meal… you catch the drift. Very cute, very frugal.

#6 Flowers

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Add a cute card with simple twine as the cherry on top.

Everyone loves them! Even men! (Australian natives are a safe bet). Head to the supermarket, the flower market or your local weekend market towards the end of the day for excellent deals on lovely flowers – or if you have the time, pick some posies for a mate.

#7 Halvesies

You can always reduce costs by going in on a present with one or more other people, such as your siblings, work mates or friends. This is a great way of ensuring a great present, but reducing your personal costs.

#8 Baked treats

From cookies wrapped in $1 ribbon or twine to beautifully presented cakes, consider baking sweet treats for the holiday season and presenting them nicely. Don’t have a sweet tooth? Read on.

#9 Pickled everything


Much like baking, making savoury treats for friends and loved ones is a good way to save cash. Spend a day making pickles, mustards, sauces or anything else your savoury friend might like, wrap it up nicely and enjoy.

#10 In-jokes

Consider what makes you and your friends laugh, and try and find something appropriate. Do you meet up regularly to watch New Girl ? Why not make your own douchebag jar? You can get away with spending nearly nothing when you’re funny.


[h/t: The Financial Diet]