Even if you’re a big fan of shopping for holiday gifts for family and friends, this year may be different. After all, the country is still reeling from COVID-19, the economy has yet to recover, and millions of people are still out of work or working less. If money is a little tight this year, don’t worry. You can still give people gifts that make these holidays memorable for everyone on your list; you just have to be a little bit thrifty. One way to put smiles on people’s faces without breaking the bank is to construct homemade gift cards. With a little artistic flair and a personal touch, these little cards can be a big hit. Here are some great ideas to make gift cards and other frugal holiday gifts.
Made with Love: Homemade Gift Cards
If you have a little bit of crafting skill (or even if you don’t), you can make a great gift card from scratch with easy-to-find materials right in your home. In fact, sites such as Pinterest and YouTube are loaded with step-by-step instructions for making great homemade gift cards. You can use these sites to search for a card design you like, and then get to work putting it together. Even if you deviate from the plan a bit (or a lot), don’t worry, as most friends and family will appreciate the effort you put in to make a highly personalized give for them.
Computer and Online Gift Card Making
If arts and crafts projects aren’t your thing, you can still make gift cards for your family and friends. One great alternative is to use the tools on your computer. Programs such as Microsoft Publisher and Adobe Illustrator are great choices for making these cards. Even if you’re not a pro on these applications, you should still be able to make a nice, personalized gift card your loved ones will appreciate. Even PowerPoint can be put to work making a decent holiday card when it comes down to it. If you’re not comfortable using any of your programs to make a card, then note that dozens of online apps and services are available to help you make some personalized Christmas cards, and they’re relatively inexpensive.
Loading the Gift Card
Once you decide on a gift card method of design, you’ll have to figure out the fun part: what do you put in it for the gift? Plenty of options exist. If you’re giving one of these cards to a parent or a relative, you could make little chore tickets for them, such as for mowing the lawn or doing the dishes; if they turn a ticket in to you, then you’re on the hook to get to work! If you’re a parent, you can also prepare homemade tickets that the kids can turn in for a trip to their favorite restaurant, bookstore, or local park.
The card could also be used to stand in for a gift that you plan to buy later. For example, you could give your significant other a picture of a new car or a rowing machine, with a note promising to get one of these items as soon as you’re on better financial footing. Even if you can’t afford the gift that someone really wants, a little gesture like this will show that you’re thinking about your significant other.
Other Frugal Gift Options
If making gift cards isn’t your thing, other frugal gift options are available to consider. A framed photo is definitely a great idea. If you have a great photo of the person in question, perhaps a picture of the two of you together, then you could find an inexpensive or vintage frame somewhere and wrap it up as a great, meaningful gift. You may also be able to find a heavily discounted event on Groupon that your friend and you could go to after the holiday. Finally, simple, low-cost DIY craft projects, such as artfully monogramming wooden hangers or hand soap dispensers, is a great way to put your artistic side to use providing useful, personalized, and frugal gifts to your friends and family.
Frugal Gift Shopping
Additionally, consider where you shop when it comes to holiday gift-giving. Sometimes, if you pick the right shopping venue, you can get great gifts for everyone on your list without breaking the bank. So, if you’d like to forego making a gift card or other craft idea, consider looking for deep discounts when you’re out shopping. Warehouse stores can be surprisingly good places to shop for holiday gifts; they often have heavily discounted items, and you may be able to save a ton by buying in bulk.
Thrift stores are another good option to consider. Many thrift stores have new, high-quality items selling for a fraction of their retail price, and you can often find rare, valuable books there as well. Finally, a glance through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace might yield some low-cost gift items.
Staying Thrifty This Holiday Season
The holidays are often a challenging time financially. However, giving gifts doesn’t need to be yet another thing to stress you out this year. Whether you make your gift cards or hit a discount store, a little creativity and a lot of thrift will make your loved ones smile and keep your bank account intact throughout this holiday season.