Saturday, January 16, 2010

Giving Gifts and not being “stressed out”!

If you’re like me, sometimes it seems that you are always trying to budget for different occasions where you need to provide a gift. And with friends and family there are always plenty of housewarmings to attend, weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays to keep you digging into your purse/wallet. You know you will always need gifts, so to save you time and money, you can purchase gifts in advance while they are on special/discounted sale. This way you can snatch bargains, save money and never be caught short for that last minute invitation where you need a gift.

If you are going to make this concept work well for you, organization is very important! If, like me you know people who purchase plenty of bargains to give as gifts, but then have the problem of never being able to remember where they have stored gifts or even what they have on hand!

So what can you do? A) create a list and keep it in a safe place you will always know what gifts you have available. B) keep them in a box and maybe even place a copy of the list on front of box (or inside lid). C) Set a limit on how much you are willing to spend out of your budget for any given week on specials for future gifts. Some weeks you may be able to spend more. You might even have a money tin where you put spare change and use this when there are major sales advertised.

If you have children then you know there are always plenty of birthday invitations coming your way throughout the year, and quite often you are told “at the last minute” by your children. So when the toy store or another retailer has a sale on toys purchase some common ones. Girls generally like dolls, doll clothes and Barbie’s. Boys will always enjoy cars, lego and action figures. Board games, puzzles, and books make great gift items for both boys and girls.

Because the “in thing” changes so quickly, try to avoid these because you don’t know how long that fad is going to be in existence. If you give a gift that used to be trendy but isn’t popular anymore it will be very obvious that you didn’t shop for the gift recently.

For adults, there are a variety of great items you can find at bargain prices to give them for most any occasion. Flower vases, picture frames, photo albums, and candles all make great gifts for even the most difficult people on your shopping list. If you are really stuck, and am in town, a gift voucher from a popular shop may also be an option. But this will depend on how much you can/want to spend on such a gift, and you may reserve such a gift for someone very close to you.

To help ease the job of gift shopping throughout the year, you can even incorporate this concept to purchase birthday and Christmas presents for your spouse and your children. This way you will spend less at the busiest times of the year and won’t have to stand in long lines of upset people all clamouring to be served because they left everything to the last minute. I often give my children a pen and the mail catalogues and let them circle the toys/items they are interested in so that I have ideas of what to look for when there are big sales on. My children know they won’t get all the things circled, but may get one or two of them.

Being able to offer someone you care about a very special gift is important, however it can also be stressful when you are pressed for time and money is tight. If you purchase bargain items as you come across then you will always have plenty of great gifts to share without getting into large debt.

I hope in this article there are some ideas that will allow you to give people better gifts than if you have to shop for them right before the occasion, also dealing with the stress and financial issues that so many families are facing in the current economic climate. For the busy Mum, being organised with gifts also means that the stress, and extra trips to the shop can be avoided. This will also give time for you to enjoy your children, family and work.

Enjoy Life!

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