By Bob Negele
For many people, Thanksgiving starts the holiday gift giving season. And while we have seen some improvement in the economy, for millions of Americans this time of year brings plenty of stress too. When money is hard to come by, how can we save a few dollars while keeping everyone happy?
If you are buying for your kids, and they really want a video game system, consider getting them something retro. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars for a new game system (not to mention the games, and internet subscriptions), you could consider getting your kids an older game system, like a Nintendo NES, or SEGA Genesis. While these systems are a little harder to come by, they are still available and run much cheaper.
If you and your significant other are still contemplating gifts for each other, consider buying yourselves a present. If you have a budget for each other’s gifts, let’s say $100, then why not buy one gift for the two of you for $100? You treat yourselves to a nice date night, or, if your budget is a little higher, to a weekend trip somewhere. If you get something for the two of you, then you could probably help save some money (of course, you still may want to consider getting a small side present, like flowers, to surprise your significant other).
And, while it may sound cold, really think about how much you spend on presents for the people you don’t see very often. Do you really need to buy your second cousin a $75 sweater that they don’t want? A few small presents that show you know what they like (specially picked out music, for example) may be much cheaper and more appreciate by them.
And that’s probably an important idea to follow for all of your gifts. More money doesn’t mean a better present. Instead of giving cash or a gift card, spend time thinking of a meaningful present. Spending time deciding what to get someone can save you from spending a lot of money buying it later- and the odds are much better that they’ll like it too!
The final tip to help you avoid filing bankruptcy is, most obviously, to spend within your limits. Everyone is aware that times are tough. And anyone that you are buying gifts for would rather you spend a little less, as opposed to burying yourself in more debt.
Times are tough for everyone, and no one is going to judge you if you spend a little less this year than you did ten years ago. And if, on the off chance, someone does judge you for the amount of money you spent on them, then they probably weren’t worth the present in the first place.