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Reader Tip: Save Your Budget with Family Gifts

family gifts

Kalyn Brooke emailed in the following tip:

I love buying gifts and receive so much joy out of choosing the perfect present for that special someone. But year after year, it can be really hard on the finances to buy for each individual — especially when your income doesn’t grow at the same rate as your list.

My solution = Family Gifts. 

Buying for a family as opposed to each person person not only cuts down on the amount of gifts you need to purchase, it also means you don’t have to spend as much. For example: If you spend $20 per person for a family of 5, that’s $100. But if you buy a really nice family gift for only $50, you’ve cut your costs in half!

Here are a couple ideas for frugal family gifts:

1. Gift baskets are great family gifts to give, because you can easily create one for any budget. Not sure what to put in your basket? Here are a bunch of creative ideas!

2. Another option is to buy just one gift the whole family can enjoy. Consider what sort of activities each family normally does together, then buy them a gift that complements their interests — board games, outdoor activities, DVD’s, etc.

3. Collaborating with others and go in on a bigger gift. Send your parents on a bed-and-breakfast adventure, buy a theme park pass for the whole family to enjoy, treat your grandparents to an expensive dinner reservation, or pitch in to buy a playground for the kids.

Next time you’re out shopping for Christmas gifts, think about family gifts rather the individuals gifts. You’ll significantly cut costs, and make the season a lot simpler. I’d say that’s a win-win!

Looking for more frugal gift ideas? Check out Kalyn’s Free Frugal Gift Guide!

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  • Jennifer says:

    My sister-in-law always buys a gift for our son, her only nephew, but she gives my husband and I a gift basket and those are so appreciated. After we had our son, who is now 11, our movie theater dates dwindled to about every other year. So she tucks in a couple of dvds, a couple of movie theater sized boxes of candy and some microwavable popcorn. We really, really enjoy it.
    These movie gift baskets are some of the most thoughtful gifts we’ve ever received.

  • Need A Nap2 says:

    This is also great for grandparents to give grandchildren. One grandma gave us a zoo membership, it was hard for us to come up with the big chunk of $ at once but was a great gift b/c it lasts all year! 🙂

  • Susan in St. Louis says:

    I agree! We started doing this a few years back for one set of nieces/nephews’ birthdays. Their family has grown each year, and it would be a bit crazy for us to mail a package for each person’s birthday. Since over half of their kids have birthdays in April, we send a package then for everyone. It seems to work for them, and it saves us a ton on postage, etc. Sometimes it’s one bigger gift, and sometimes it’s a smaller something (like water guns) for each of them.

  • Cindy says:

    Another great thing about family gifts is that most of the time they end up being “experience gifts”, so rather than giving just more “stuff”, you give them memories from the activities they end up doing together!

    We used to have our kids make a gift for each of their siblings for Christmas. And while it was fun and they created some really precious things, it was sometimes hectic to be able to help each child plan and create something before Christmas. And then after Christmas you had that many more “things” to manage around the house. So this year, we decided to change things up a bit, and instead, they are each planning an experience for the family! They each wrote a note to the family detailing their plan, rolled it like a scroll and tied it with a pretty ribbon and bell. On Christmas morning, each child will read their note and share their plan with the family. Then we’ll carry out their plans throughout the year as time (and sometimes weather) allows.

    The wonderful thing about it is that most of the “work” for the gift takes place later…not in the busy time of Christmas…and it honestly can cost next to nothing since the gift is the experience itself and you can use stuff you already have at home!

    Here’s a brief idea of what the plans from my 9, 7, and 4 year old look like this year:

    1) Pack a breakfast picnic and grab some small canvases and paint and then head to our local lake around sunrise where everyone gets to create their own masterpiece. Then go home and pack lunch and go on a picnic bike ride.

    2) Have a field day/water play day in the back yard. Games like croquet, bean bag toss, sack races, followed by slip in slide, sprinklers, water guns, water balloons, etc.

    3) Have a lego day! Make a lego city, watch lego movies, followed by a slumber party in the living room.

    It was fun to see the plans they made, complete with menus for the day and everything!

  • Debra says:

    Every year I drive myself crazy trying to buy for my siblings and their spouses, their children and grandchildren, who all live 1500 miles away. This year I sent a huge assorted popcornopolis box to my 3 siblings to be enjoyed by their entire families. Ordered online through Costco. I was able to include a personalized note with each and they shipped free directly to each of them. Done and less stressed. Finally!

  • Blaire says:

    We have done this for the last couple years, but it’s hard for us because we’re the only family in the family on one income (I’m a SAHM). My siblings all have two incomes and want to spend tons of money and buy or everyone. I feel like they feel like they get cheated with the gifts from us because we’re just not able to spend the money they are. :/ any ideas to help with this? We usually give gift cards (they ask for giftcards for lowes/Home Depot), movie tickets (try to get them free from cash back apps), or family bowling gift cert (not too expensive for a family of 5)…that sort of thing, but it definitely add up. I have three siblings all of which are married with kids (there are 14 grandkids total). my husband has one sister who is also married with a son, and then of course his parents. Then we have a few extended we buy for and of course my parents. It’s so hard when you’re the ones that make the least and other people are more…uh, materialistic. We don’t want to offend, but you can only do what you can do. :/ any ideas?

    • This situation happens SO often, and it’s hard being the one that feels like your gift isn’t “good enough”…..but that’s simply not true. You can only do so much during this season of your life, and it sounds like you are really trying hard to bless others with what you have!

      The one thing that I’m working on since we are going through a similar season, is being a good receiver and realizing that every gift exchange doesn’t always have to be fair. Learn to accept the gifts from your family members and appreciate them — send them a really well-written and thought out thank you note to tell them how much you enjoyed their gift. They will love this and if they had any thoughts at all that your gift wasn’t enough {which if that’s the case, that’s THEIR problem}, I can almost guarantee a really heart-felt thank you will make up for it. Let them bless you now, because in a few years, you may find yourself in a different spot and can bless them in return. 🙂

    • REALLY appreciate you sharing my tip, Crystal! Thanks so much!

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