Gifts on a budget

2015-12-17 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Try a different approach to buying gifts this Christmas.

PHOTO: supplied Try a different approach to buying gifts this Christmas.

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IF you are dreading buying expensive gifts for family and friends on top of all your other financial responsibilities, it is time to change your approach to gift-giving.

“The biggest difficulty around making the change to giving inexpensive gifts, is managing the expectations of the receivers,” says Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at FNB.

“If you usually give expensive gifts you may find that there is the same expectation this year.”

The financial relief of not overspending on gifts will leave you with more cash to spend on other essential expenses like school fees or to put away for savings for the upcoming year. Also, making the change will reinforce good spending behaviour in the years to come.

“Take a look at your finances and decide if it is really worth spending substantial amounts of money on presents. The sooner you manage expectations around gifts, the better it will be for your pocket. So rather do it this festive season,” says Sibiya.

There are ways of making and creating gifts without spending huge amounts of money. And sometimes, a well thought-out gift that has had time put into it is more appreciated than an expensive gift wrapped at the store.

Below are ideas of inexpensive gifts you can give this season and advice on ways to introduce your financial U-turn to friends and family.

For the children

It is easy to overspend on children during the holidays. There is so much excitement around the festive season and so many different products that are available to buy.

“Explain to the children that you are saving this year, and encourage them to be part of the plan,” says Sibiya­.

“Encourage them to think about things they can make and be part of the creative process of putting time and effort­ into the gifts.”

Gifts for the children can also be fun and inexpensive, such as collecting glass jars and scrubbing off the labels so they are sparkling clean. Fill these with sweets and tie a ribbon around it.

“If your child has his or her eye set on an expensive toy, electronic device or item of clothing, rather than giving in and buying it, sit down with them and make a plan that they will work towards in the new year.”

For extended family and adult family­ friends

“You shouldn’t feel the need, or be under any pressure to splurge when it comes to gift giving,” says Sibiya. “There are lots of thoughtful gifts that you can give to extended family members and family friends.”

If you are a baker consider baking a dessert or sweet treats to give to them. Gardeners can split plants to give as gifts. Or, if you have a bit of time, grow plants from cuttings.

For adult family members

When buying gifts for adults, how about doing the age old Secret Santa to save money. Put the names of all participating adults in a hat and draw a person’s name for who they will buy a gift. The group can decide on a monetary limit for the gift to keep everything fair.

For partners

“You can be the most open with your partner when it comes to gifts,” says Sibiya. “Have an honest talk about where you are financially and what you would rather do with the money than spend it on gifts for each other.”

You will need his or her support through the season and help you with your plan to curb unnecessary expenses.

So, instead of getting a present for your partner this year, why not write down their favourite activities and plan to enjoy those together.

“Giving gifts is supposed to be a joyful experience, so if you find that you are dreading the financial consequences, change your approach to gift giving this year,” concludes Sibiya.

- Supplied.

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