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Gift Buying Guide (While on a Budget): 4 Expert Tips

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Today’s economy makes it difficult for us to buy gifts for loved ones that we feel they truly deserve. No one wants to “settle” on a gift when they believe their loved ones deserve the world on a silver platter. However, gift giving on a budget is incredibly challenging, and many of us feel intimidated trying to live up to the task.

When maintaining a budget while shopping for gifts, here are four important tips to remember, from experts:

1. Pay in Cash
2. Watch for Sales and Deals Well Ahead of Holidays
3. Give “of Yourself”
4. Shop Alone for Gifts

Budgeting is a little different for each person, so these tips are just the tip of the iceberg when dealing with gift-giving on a budget. However, these four tips come right from the mouths of financial experts and professionals.

#1 – Pay in Cash

Financial experts recommend paying in cash rather than with cards when trying to stick to a budget. Repeatedly using credit cards will simply cause your debt to pile on itself rather than truly allow you to stick to a budget. Once you set your prices for the gifts you plan on purchasing, your best method of sticking to it will be physical cash.

Professionals say that holding actual cash gives you a better idea of exactly what you are spending. Of course with cards you are aware of what you are spending, but it is said that seeing the cash leave your possession and then seeing your remaining funds make you less likely to overspend. Sticking to your budget becomes a lot easier when you can physically see the budget in your hands.

#2 – Watch for Sales and Deals Well Ahead of Holidays – and Right Before

Budget experts consistently recommend looking out for deals. Anyone who has ever had to stick to a budget will tell you that deals will be your ultimate tool. However, we all know that around holidays, prices will feel like they are soaring far above what we can afford.

Here is the thing, though: keep checking for those deals. If there are specific gifts you have in mind for family and friends, continue to look out for deals as the holidays get closer. Within a few days of major holidays like Valentine’s Day and Christmas, stores will often have big blowout sales or even just some great discounts prior to the holiday for last minute shoppers. These deals will be some of the best you will find.

On the other end, you also want to start checking for deals early. Big holiday sales will begin up to a month or more prior to the holiday, just before the prime shopping time for whatever holiday it may be. These sales will probably be a lot more widespread than sales closer to the holiday, but both of these times are good to keep in mind when looking for deals to fit in your budget.

In addition to watching for holiday deals, another way to ensure that you don’t end up wasting money on a worthless product is to check review sites. Mattress reviewers Review.org, music gadget reviewers GadgetsPage, web hosting services reviewers Mambo Server, casino game reviewers CrispyGamer and Casinor online gambling reviewers are just a handful of review sites that will not only give you insight into the various costs and features of the services and products they review but will help steer you away from items that would end up being a waste of time and money.

#3 – Give “of Yourself”

The best gifts are the ones that come from the heart. This means that you want to think carefully about what kinds of gifts would be most appreciated by the recipient. You want to stray away from generic gifts that will only end up being re-gifted or thrown into the back of a closet. Gifts with a personal touch like a distinguished watch for the gentleman in your life or even an appointment with a laser eye technician are gifts that will show you really thought about what gift could be most meaningful—and useful—for the one you’re giving to.

The value of homemade and heartfelt gifts cannot be understated. Many experts say that those of us who need to stick to a tight budget should consider things like buying in bulk to personalize gifts.

Bulk buying for personalization can include purchasing a box of white mugs and painting them with individual messages and pictures. Other items that buying in bulk might be good for are t-shirts, photo albums, and other smaller items that are easily customizable.

Simply put, “giving of yourself” just means putting your heart into the gifts you give. Even small gifts will hold more meaning if they come from a heartfelt place, and your wallet will be just as thankful as your family and friends.

#4 – Shop Alone for Gifts

This tip is a little less concerned with the actual physical money, and more to do with shopping habits. Experts say that shopping alone will decrease your impulse to overspend, as no one will be there to distract you from your gift mission. Develop a budget, then go out on the gift hunt alone to stick to your financial guns.

Watch Your Spending!

Above all, once you have created your budget and split it amongst those you need to purchase gifts for, be sure that you stick with it. Nearly everyone has some trouble maintaining a tight budget, but with the tips you see above combined with a vigilant watch on your own spending, you will be able to stick to your strict budget and come away with some amazing gifts. 


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