The holidays are poised in the doorway — Thanksgiving is close by, with Christmas hard on its heels. Holly wreaths, snowmen and bells…oh boy. And presents.
Along with the ham, turkey and pumpkin pie, you’re bound to have to buy, make or otherwise come up with a token of your love, affection and acknowledgment for at least one person…probably more.You don’t have much time — or you would have done it already. Your pocketbook’s probably a little low. (After all, that turkey...) And Daylight Savings Time’s taken all your energy.
How in the world are you going to gift the people you care about, without going nuts or tearing your hair out when the January bills arrive? Here are five tips that may help.
*There’s no such thing as the absolutely perfect present. But you can come close by paying attention. What are your recipient’s favorite foods, colors, activities? Use those answers as a starting point, and you’ll rarely go wrong. It’s not the money spent, so much as the thought put into the gift.
*Find the best bargains…fast. ‘Black Friday’ and other holiday prices are already posted online for several store chains, including Wal-Mart and Target. One site for finding Black Friday sales, as well as every kind of bargain from shoes and clothes to jewelry and electronics: Techbargains. This site often gives additional discounts to already-low sale prices…and often throws in free shipping, as well. Sign up for their e-mail list, and you’ll get the best deals in your mailbox every few days.
Free shipping adds to your savings — many companies offer it during the holiday season. Amazon is famous for it all year long, as long as you spend $25 or more. (Deal of Day is one good spot to find free shipping deals, as well as other discounts.)
*When in doubt, or feeling broke, go for the best — in small amounts. The best imported soap; a small jar of caviar or pesto; cashmere socks. If possible, choose an item your person would never buy for themselves ‘because it’s too expensive.’
*Use reward points to help pay. If you’re using credit cards, they should be working for you — including generating points that you can use to help pay for plane tickets (Southwest is giving away 2 round-trip tickets!), gift cards and merchandise.
Another great rewards program nets you ‘bucks’ (actually, Swagbucks) every time you do a search online. The Swagbucks program is easy to use, gives you extra bonuses and discounts for shopping or tasks. It’s not uncommon (or difficult) to earn one or two $5 Amazon gift cards every month; those Swagbucks really add up. (Go here for more info— you’ll even earn 30 Swagbucks, just by signing up.)
*The people who love you want you — not stuff. Give them a gift of yourself: coffee out some cold morning; an afternoon together at the ballgame or museum; supper made with your own two hands. (The latter is especially effective for girlfriends and wives – guys, take note!)
The thought and attention that expresses will mean far more than any fancy present this holiday season.