Buying gifts for loved-ones can take large chunks out of our budget. We don’t always think to take this into account when working out our cost-of-living expenses as a whole, but there are ways that we can acknowledge birthdays and other special occasions without breaking the bank.
Here are a few ways I've done this:
- For my children and their partners, I've taken the grandchildren for a weekend while they go out to celebrate or spend time alone together. For Christmas one year I went through all the photos on my computer and put them on flash drives for them.
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- My number of grandchildren is growing and buying birthday gifts for all of them can add up to big dollars. They already receive enough toys and treats, and it gets harder to think of something special that they will appreciate. I've solved this problem by opting instead to take each child out on their birthday – usually to lunch and a movie of their choice depending on their age. This is an inexpensive treat for them and some quality one-to-one time with Granny away from their siblings.
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- For friends I will often take them out for breakfast. This is a treat and much less expensive than dinner.
- My sister-in-law loves her tea, so one year I packaged up a few different flavoured teas that she hadn't tried before.
- I gave my neighbour a big basket of quinces from my garden.
- A friend’s child was having an ‘orange’ birthday party, so I gave her an orange flower in an orange flowerpot. She loved it!
There are lots of ways you can give meaningful gifts without spending a fortune. Try some of these ideas:
- A collage of photographs in a frame or album or a framed copy of a special photo.
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- A basket or bowl of favourite fruits or vegetables.
- Their favourite home-made cookies, cake, cordial, etc. along with the recipe.
- A magazine on their favourite topic.
- Scour second-hand shops for something unique – a copy of a favourite book from their past, an antique piece of jewellery, a decorative plate or a vase the same as one they have broken. What about an old record of an artist they love or a beautiful old glass or bowl that you can fill with sweets?
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- For children an outing can hold more happy memories than a plastic toy. What about a picnic by the river or a visit to a special playground?
- One year my daughter gave me two tickets to a local amateur theatre production – a murder mystery which I love! It only cost her $24 all up but it was a fun and memorable night for me.
- One of the best gifts my husband gave me was to have a favourite bracelet repaired. It had sat broken in my jewellery box for ages.
With a little forethought you can give something that has more value to the receiver than what it cost. Pay attention during conversation for any hints that may give you ideas, and remember that sometimes the best gift of all is to share some time together.