Generosity doesn’t have to break the bank

Get Rich Slowly offers practical suggestions for gift-giving on a budget in the post How to Escape the Gift Trap. We’ve all tried drawing names and going homemade, but I loved the idea of giving an experience. Making and sharing a meal, or inviting someone on a family outing. By doing this, you’re not just giving money or a gift, you’re making memories and history together.

Budgeting for gifts is tricky. We made a list of every occasion and person we wanted to give to, with the amount we would like to spend. We made sure to include Mother’s day, Father’s day, Valentine’s day, our anniversary, and any other easily-forgotten occasion for gift giving. When we added it all up, we were astounded–it cost as much as a vacation to Disney World! Now the tough question: what do we value most? Yes, we want (and need) to give, but we’re also saving to adopt another child, not to mention our goals to pay off debt and finish our basement. We didn’t eliminate gifts altogether, but had a great perspective to pare down our spending.

When the time comes to buy gifts, we consult our plan. If one of us wants to give more, we spend our personal money doing so. In a way, that makes getting a nicer gift even more meaningful. Another thing we’ve done is to give “our favorite things.” We created a list of our favorite items–things that make our lives easier and make us happy every time we use them. This ranges from the practical (Pampered Chef rubber scraper) to the luxurious (Mary Kay Satin Hands Pampering Set). We don’t feel the need to spend a lot, because we are giving something that we love and know is great.

Posted in Budgeting, Relationships | Comments Off on Generosity doesn’t have to break the bank

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