What Price Love? Gift Giving on a Budget

How to give gifts on a budgetWhen you love someone, you want to show it. Often that means giving gifts — especially around Valentine’s Day, and especially if gifts are one of that person’s love languages.

But love doesn’t have to mean spending more than you can afford. You can do meaningful gift giving on a budget, even while you’re working at becoming debt free.

Here’s how to find your loved one the right gift at the right price.

The secret to awesome gifts

Before we get to the money part, let’s start off with the secret to awesome gifts. Remember that it’s not how much you spend, it’s how well your gift fits the person you are giving it to.

Take Valentine’s Day as an example. (Guys especially, listen up.) Some women do NOT like to receive flowers. They die, and can be horrifically expensive. On the other hand, some women love them. How do you know which is which? You listen, and you pay attention.

If you’re walking past some flowers and she stands smiling and breathing deeply while gushing “Oh I love tulips”, she probably likes flowers (tulips, to be exact.) If she rolls her eyes at a man showing up with a bouquet of roses on a sitcom and mutters “what a waste”, she doesn’t. If all else fails, ask one of her friends.

The same goes for any other type of gift. Pay attention to what your loved one says and does — including the kinds of things they pin on Pinterest or have on a wishlist — and you’re likely to find a gift that will really show your love. That’s the secret to an awesome gift.

Now about that budget…

What if you’ve got limited funds to spend on a gift, and your loved one has expensive tastes? Or what if you’ve got exactly $0 available, because your budget is really tight and you’ve cut a whole bunch of unnecessary spending?

That’s when you get creative.

Work at finding ways to reduce the costs of gifts. If you have a specific item in mind, don’t just buy the first one you see. Use Google’s shopping search (and Amazon) to look for good deals on the item. If you’re in a store already, ask for a discount. It never hurts to ask.

Or maybe you can cut costs by putting together the gift yourself. (For example, flowers can be bought inexpensively at Costco, and you could arrange & deliver them yourself.) Being thoughtful goes a long way too. For example, if your loved one likes books, buy the one they’ve been looking for for ages, and wrap it up beautifully instead of getting them a $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

One more thing

Remember too that not everyone is into receiving the kinds of presents you unwrap. Before you spend a bundle, take a step back and make sure that the person you’re thinking of giving a gift to actually enjoys them.

For some people, the best gift you could give is to cheerfully spend time with them doing something together that they enjoy — especially if it’s something they know you don’t particularly like to do. For others, a great gift would be to do something for them. (For example, I seriously hate to wash my car. Having someone do that for me is an awesome gift that would only cost a little bit of time.) If your loved one is a person like that, chances are those types of gifts will be very meaningful.

No matter what you decide to do, remember that it really is the thought that counts. So put some thought into it, and chances are you’ll be able to find a great gift that doesn’t break the bank.

2 thoughts on “What Price Love? Gift Giving on a Budget

  1. What is the best gift you have ever received and what is the best gift you have ever given?

    The best gift I received was when I was in Big Brother Big Sisters and my little sister gave me a “goodbye” gift. It was a piggy bank shaped as a pig but she painted awesome colors of purple and pink and put my name on it! I still have it! It is so pretty! I also hide one and five dollar bills in it so I “forget” that I have them! :)

    The best give I have given is a scrapbook for my mom’s 40th birthday! It was a tough time for us because our parents separated that year and it was just the perfect something to give her to let her know she was still so important to my sister and I!

  2. The best gift I’ve ever received was either a huge bunch of daffodils (they make me so happy!) or an annual Netflix subscription (last year’s birthday, when I was in the throes of grad school and wedding savings and wouldn’t have renewed it for myself). There was also a check from my folks in honor of the wedding… that pretty much covered our costs. (We added it to our home down payment fund.)

    In general, I’m really not good at choosing gifts for others, though. :( My wife’s gotten teary over a tablet (something we thought we couldn’t afford, but I found a great deal on) and she jumped up and down over the massage table I bought for her off of our registry for Valentine’s Day (it showed up on the doorstep Friday and the box gave it away). Both were kind of surprises, but they were affordable ones with lots of forethought.

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