'Tis the season to be jolly...and thrifty. Not cheap, thrifty. It is the gift-buying season, which means Christmas lists and shopping trips. But don't think you need to spend a fortune. Sometimes the most practical and meaningful gifts can be less money than the traditional, generic gifts that fill the aisles of department stores. Here are a few ideas to get you started shopping.
The best places to buy gifts are the wholesale retail and discount stores like Ollies, Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Tuesday Morning and much more. For many people, it can be difficult to shop at these stores because you never know what they'll have in stock or what you'll find. But during the holiday season, go explore these places and bring your list. You never know what treasures you will find for much less than the average retail prices. Plus, they're great for buying inexpensive gift wrap.
Allow yourself to buy less. If you find a wine rack for $12.99 instead of $25, don't feel obligated to buy more stuff. Honestly, most of us don't need more impersonal, obligatory gifts to fill in those monetary gaps. Buy great gifts for your loved ones, and when you find it for less, reward yourself. Cross that person off your list.
The best gifts are not the most expensive ones. People appreciate gifts that are well thought out and personal. Really take time to think about what each person would like to receive. Also, consider buying practical. If you're not sure what the person would like, think about what they "need". My favorite gifts are the ones that I can use immediately, not the typical throw-away gifts that serve no purpose. We buy those only so we can say we got them something; it's more for us instead of them.
If you're really not sure what to get someone, consider buying a gift card to a place they frequent or you think they'll enjoy. Think about where they like to go out to eat or where they buy their coffee in the morning. Even though giving gift cards can seem impersonal at times, most people love to receive them. Just make sure you double check that there is a store nearby their place. I've already received a gift card to a store, where the closest one was 45-minutes away. Don't make it hard for them to spend your gift! If you do decide on a gift card, be sure to check out discounted gift card deals at restaurant.com (requires minimum purchase amount), groupon.com (my latest obsession) plasticjungle.com (a gift card exchange site).
Good luck bargain hunting! More holiday tips coming soon...
By the way, if you have a thrifty idea that you'd like to see mentioned on The Thrift World, just post it as a comment or send me a message. I love hearing readers' ideas on creative ways to save money.