Frugal Gift Giving

Save money on presents by creating a gift closet.

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Frugal Gift Giving - Your Gift Closet

starting a gift closet
Frugal gift giving is a skill that you should practice when you become a parent. As your child gets older, they will be invited to more and more birthday parties.

This means that you will be buying more and more birthday gifts for friends and family. This page will hopefully give you some creative birthday gift ideas as well as ideas for inexpensive birthday gifts.

I'm pretty sure we have all experienced times when we have been stuck scrambling around for a last minute gift. And, typically, when you are shopping at the last minute, you end up spending more on the gift than you would have otherwise.

Well, I have the solution for you: the gift closet! Having a gift closet means that you will always have a store of quality, often meaningful gifts on hand.

It also means that you can save money by getting these gifts when they are priced just right for your budget.

First Things First

Ok, so let's get some housekeeping details out of the way. Your gift closet doesn't have to be an actual closet. It can be anywhere that you have storage space. A trunk. A tote that you push underneath the bed. A box in the garage. Or, yes, a closet.

Also, let's go over some things you should avoid putting in your gift closet: perishables, things that are sized (clothes, jewelry, etc.), things that are fashion trends (because you know how quickly those pass), and multiples of the same thing (it kind of cheapens the gift when you know that the gift giver also gave that same gift to 4 other people).

Clear Out the Clearance Section

Whether it is post-holiday clearance or just everyday clearance items, you can often find really great gifts in the clearance section. Keep a look out at places like Target and Walgreen's - at some points they have really great sales (I'm talking up to 90% off) of classic toys like stuffed animals, puzzles, and books - all great gifts for kids. And of course, post-Christmas sales are always a good time to buy toys. Clearance sections make frugal gift giving remarkably easy if you time it right.

Deal Websites

Websites such as Groupon and Living Social that offer discounted vouchers for products, services, and destinations can be a great source of inexpensive birthday gifts. For example, if you see a Groupon deal for toys from Melissa and Doug where you pay $15 and get $45 worth of toys, I would say that is a great deal. You can either buy one big gift or a couple of smaller ones. If keep the expiration date in mind, you can even give the voucher to the birthday girl or boy and let them decide what they want.

Become a Coupon Diva

Frugal gift giving is something that can also be done with regular coupons. Let's say you are shopping at Toys R Us. You have received the pamphlet of the latest coupons in the mail and one is for, let's say, 25% off one toy. You also have a manufacturer coupon for a particular brand of toys. You can go to Toys R Us and combine the manufacturer coupon with the store coupon to get a toy for a pretty decent discount.

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  • Buy Used

    Ok, so you may be a bit iffy about this, but, seriously yard sales and thrift stores can be a treasure mine of great, inexpensive birthday gifts. You may even get inspiration for a few creative birthday gift ideas. The great thing about these types of sales is that you can luck across something that is unique AND cheap. The best of both worlds. Clean it up really nicely and wrap it up in something nice and you have a great gift for someone special.

    Regifting is Not a Naughty Word

    Speaking of "non-new" gifts, consider the art of regifting. It doesn't have to be a bad thing. Sometimes you receive gifts that, as sweet as the thought behind them was, you know your child will never use (or perhaps already has - that's happened to me before).

    Rather than disappointing the gift-giver by returning it to them or letting it sit unused and gathering dust in a corner somewhere, you can put it in your gift closet for someone else who could appreciate it. Think of it as recycling. Just make sure you don't recycle it back to the same person that gave it to you.

    Wrap it Up

    Finally, make sure that your gift closet has everything that you need for your frugal gift giving - including what you will be presenting the gift in. During post-holiday clearances make sure you stock up on gift wrap, gift boxes, ribbons, bows, and cards. Try to avoid holiday themed ones (don't want to be stuck with Frosty the Snowman gift wrap for a July party) and opt for holiday neutral themes or solid colors.

    What items do you have in your gift closet?

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    Related Pages

  • Frugal Gifts for Kids & Hubby
  • Inexpensive Gifts for Extended Family
  • Gifts for Casual Friends and Neighbors
  • Planning Christmas Gifts

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