Ahhh. The holidays are just around the corner. AGAIN. And I love love LOVE it!

I have always loved the Yuletide season. It’s the birth of Christ and it’s the time of the year when friends and family get together. There’s something in the air which I cannot explain. Magic? It’s like this season is given to all of us as a gift, that no matter how terrible or kind the year has been to us, it’s okay to be happy. We ought to be happy.

In most cases, aside from birthdays, this is the time of the year when we give and receive gifts.

As your budget pal, I believe that gift-giving should not break the bank. Instead, it should be thoughtful and meaningful.

Have you bought your gifts yet? If not, I compiled some tips on how you can save on gifts this year.

1.) Budget

Just like for everything else, you need to budget for gifts. It’s not about “putting price on people” kind of thing but you should have a limit on what you give. Limit your gift to what you can afford. After all, gift-giving should NOT be a burden to the giver and / or the receiver.

2.) Buy Ahead of Time

This means that you don’t need to buy gifts only when it’s Christmas. Buy when you see something on sale (on any time of the year) especially if you think that that something will be a great gift to someone. You can just hide it in your closet for the time being and then give it to them when holidays come. This way, your gift expenses are spread throughout the year and you won’t have to spend a big chunk during the holidays.

3.) Get Crafty

Last year, I received jars of jam, pickled veggies, and chili sauce. They were all home-made. I gotta say that it was one of the best gifts I ever had. Why? Because it’s very thoughtful, not uberly expensive, and they (a couple) took their time to make the gift. Taking time to make someone a gift is in itself a gift.

4.) Kris Kringle

Instead of giving gifts to everyone, why not do a Kris Kringle or secret Santa. Not only it’s budget-friendly (because you only have to buy for ONE person) but it’s also fun! And while you’re at it, why don’t you also limit the price on the gift? $25? We do this in the office every year. I don’t see why it can’t extend to family and friends.

5.) Gift of Time

Gifts are not exclusive to material things. If you cannot afford to give material gifts, why not give the gift of time? To some, this is actually more valuable than the tangible gift. You can offer to babysit for a friend for a day. Or wash a relative’s car. Or clean your friend’s room. Or run errands for a relative. The lists go on.

The Yuletide season is upon us. Let us be reminded that this is not just the season of giving, but also the season of budgeting. It’s not about the prices but it’s the thought that you put into your gift that counts.

I wish you and your family the brightest of holidays.