Buying gifts can add a burden to a tight budget. Money can be saved by making a present or giving the gift of your time and undivided attention. However, there are times when you want to choose a gift for someone special and you don't want to pick something up at a discount store. You are looking for something unique but won't that cost a heap of cash? Surprisingly, you can buy some lovely unique gifts at reasonable prices if you look in the right places.
Image by Marie Vonow
Get into the habit of taking note of unexpected places that sell well priced gifts. When things are not mass produced sometimes no more are available once the current stock is sold. If you have a little spare cash on you, buy a suitable present when you see it and put it aside for the next birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas or other occasion. Otherwise make sure you remember where you saw that delightful gift Auntie June would appreciate and consider coming back to make a purchase as soon as you can afford it.
We expect to find things we can give as a present in gift shops but where else should we look?
Try the following places for well priced gifts that are not run of the mill:
Community Gallery I thought handmade gifts from a gallery would be expensive. Most are one off creations. They would take the artist lots of time and skill. Some items require special tools and difficult to source materials.
I have been amazed at how well priced many items sold at community galleries are. Prices will vary from gallery to gallery and from one artist/craftsperson to the next and some prices are high. However, there are some really affordable but unique gifts available so check out any community galleries you come across.
Gifts will vary a great deal depending on what the contributing artists/craftspeople make but in my local area I have found:
all sorts of pottery, both functional and decorative
trinket boxes carved from limestone
jewellery made from a variety of materials including fabric, silver, copper, resin, glass beads, ceramic and recycled materials
candles including scented, hand carved, pressed flowers, rolled beeswax
carved wood items
items decorated with wood burning
pens made from resin or wood that has been carved
knitted items in footy colours
Handcrafted pens of wood and acrylic from community gallery Image by Marie Vonow
Some gifts are lightweight and non breakable, making them great for posting to family and friends who live a long distance away. Don't forget to pick up a lovely handmade card when you are buying your gift.
Community style cafes Now and then you will come across a cafe that sells crafts as a side line. Items sold could include soy candles,dream catchers, jewellery, books written by local authors and bookmarks. Keep your eyes open for gifts in cafes that are not part of a franchise.
Hand made earrings Image by Marie Vonow
Tourist and information centres Some tourist centres have a selection of locally made handcrafted gifts. There could be jewellery using a stone that is mined in the area. Other possibilities are table mats, calendars and fridge magnets featuring photos of the local area.
Aged Care Facilities Some aged care facilities sell handmade cards, knitted goods and more made by residents in craft or activities sessions. The money raised may go towards the purchase of an item such as a large wall mounted television to make the residents' lives more enjoyable.
Day Centres Day centres providing activities for seniors or people with disabilities sometimes have well priced cards and gifts for sale. The clients attending the day centre may produce art work, pottery or some other craft during activity sessions. You may need to ask friends or relatives involved with such centres if gifts are available for sale as this may not be widely advertised.
Fetes Some churches, community groups and schools hold a fete and these can be the source of well priced hand made gifts. There may be handcrafted sweets and cakes, plants in decorated pots, toys, gift baskets and many more items on sale depending on the talents of the group. There may be some items you could make yourself but by the time you paid for all the materials you may find DIY wouldn't save you money, especially if you were making a single item.
Markets Farmers' markets are springing up all over the place and you can sometimes buy local crafts here as well as produce. You may get talking to the person who made the item you purchase.
Internet There are probably well priced handmade gifts available through the internet but I have not researched this. I am one who likes to physically see and hold a gift before I buy it. As there are a variety of places in my local area selling well priced unique gifts I have no need to go online.
Sometimes it is nice to give a handcrafted gift and there are places you can buy such an item at a reasonable price. You may need to look around and ask others in your search for unique gifts which will be appreciated by the recipient.