If you’re like me, many friends and family members are celebrating wonderful occasions in their lives with wedding or baby showers (myself included!). While I want to give each person, couple or baby something, I don’t always have the budget. To avoid building up credit card debt, here are some tips for shower gifts on a budget.
Budgeting for Gifts Without Consumer Debt
The best way to stay clear of debt is to have gift money built into your monthly budget. Every month, designate an amount of money specifically for gifts. That way, you are ready for the unexpected as well as being prepared for known occasions.
How much should you set aside for shower gifts?
That depends on your budget, and maybe your age. Typically, the older you get, the more you might be able to give. This isn’t a fact or a standard but something to keep in mind: you don’t need to compete with your parents ability to give. You may not be able to have any budget for gifts as well.
In terms of your own budget, gifts should be low on the totem pole. Make sure all your necessities are covered, including money needed to eliminate debt. If there are many shower gifts needed during one month, do your best to stretch out your funds. Avoid dining out as much or cut back in another area to give yourself more wiggle room.
Thrifty Gift Tips for Baby or Wedding Showers
Now that you have determined your budget, let’s make sure you can make the most of your money. Try some of these thrifty gift tips to make your baby and wedding shower purchases.
- Skip the new wrapping paper. Yes, wrapping counts in your budget if buying new. Look around the house for wrapping paper before buying new- including using brown paper bags from the grocery store.
- Recycle gift bags. Similarly, keep those nice gift bags you have received from your friends and reuse them. Hang them in a closet to keep them nice!
- Make your own card. Most people don’t keep the card. If you don’t have room in the budget to spend on a $5 card, make your own or simply write a message on the fun wrapping paper you have made.
- Go in with a friend on a gift. Bundling your gift purchase can help the budget stretch and give the person something they really want that is actually out of your normal purchasing power.
- Regift. As long as you are careful and follow regifting rules, this is a great option.
- Check out yard sales and thrift stores for unique items. With a little time, you never know what you will find at thrift shops or at a garage sale down the street.
- Skip the gift, offer your time. Whether you offer to babysit, cook a meal, clean the house or help in some other way, your time is just as valuable or more so than a gift.
- DIY the gift. Sometimes, you can create the same item yourself with a DIY project. Be sure to price it out before starting so you don’t end up spending more than what you could buy it for.
Shower gifts don’t validate your love or friendship. While it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to give someone something they need or want, don’t do it at the expense of your own finances, causing you stress and needing help getting out of debt.
To speak to a credit counselor today about budgeting and managing your finances, call 800-769-3571.