Giving great gifts on a budget

When it comes to living within our means an area I seem to really struggle with is gift buying esp as this is my primary love language (see The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman) We have a large family (just siblings, spouses and cousins are over 20!!) which means that there is always a birthday or even 2 or 3 per month. I usual limit buying presents for friends to only a few best friends and try my very best to keep my budget for kids birthday presents to under R50 each and am always looking for sales and bargains to stock my present cupboard with in advance but still this is an area that seems to keep toppling us into the red… And I don’t think I am alone. When speaking to friends who are also trying their best to stick to a family budget – present buying or gift giving is almost always the area that trips them up too! One thing I need to learn and thought you might like to too is this: You Don’t Need a Big Budget to Give Great Gifts!

Here are some more great gift giving ideas focusing on sticking to your budget:

Whenever a special day is arriving for somebody that is close to you, it is likely you would want to buy them a gift. The problem for many of us though is that the funds may not always be available to buy gifts for others, so those close to us may have to miss out. Being low on funds is not reason enough to not give a gift though because you could still do so by spending very little or not at all. With some effort and a little imagination, you could give a superb gift while barely spending a cent.

Make Something

Are you good at carpentry? Perhaps you are a good artist? Or maybe you are a good cook? If you do have a skill then you could make a gift instead of buying one and it could be the best gift of all. Even though you may not have spent money on making a gift you will still have spent your time and that could make the gift even more valuable. What’s more is that because the gift is made specifically for the recipient it is likely to be exactly what they want. You could make a cake, paint a painting or maybe knit something.


Whatever it is, people will love the fact you’ve made the effort to make something for them and will cherish the gift for a very long time. Personalised gifts are also special but won’t break the bank.

Help With Something

One of the greatest gifts you could give is your time, so you could consider helping somebody out with something. It could be helping somebody to study for an exam to get the grades they want, it could be lessons to play a musical instrument, or it could even just be being prepared to get your hands dirty and helping with something physical. People are often willing to pay good money for other people’s time so dedicating your time could be a perfect gift. Doing so could also be very rewarding for you in the long term because you could see the effect of the time you dedicated on the overall results. Should you teach somebody to play the guitar well, for example, you will always be proud to say that you helped them to learn.

Something around the House

As much as we may often feel giving something used as a gift may not be appropriate, it can at times be the best gift of all. If you have something in your home that you know another person would love to have themselves, they will surely be delighted if it was given to them as a gift. The gift could be an item of clothing that somebody else has had their eye on, an old photo from the family album or perhaps some flowers from the garden. You could find that your gift is treasured over even the most expensive of gifts given by other people.

A Good Night Out

It is surprising what you can do with little money and even on the strictest of budgets you could give somebody a great night out. Being streetwise, knowing where to get great deals and knowing of secret places that other people don’t seem to be aware of can make for a truly memorable experience that will not be forgotten. Maybe you know a cheap but awesome sushi spot, a characterful independent theatre or a fun new nightclub that your friend may not have visited yet. Try to get away from the beaten track and steer clear of the more commercial attractions and you may be surprised at what you can do with even the most limited of budgets. Of course you will almost certainly need to compromise in some ways, but don’t forget that the most important ingredient of a great night out is good company.

Images: Flickr Creative Commons 1) ex.libris 2) Frank Tellez

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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