Like many popular traditions, people have been exchanging gifts for a very long time. Regardless of, personal taste, or even what the latest trends are, taking the time to acquire, wrap, and hand over something of value to a close friend or family member, has been a time-honoured tradition that millions of people around the globe have participated in for centuries.
So why a 7-step gifting plan?
Time and money.
Both are resources most of us don’t have in abundance, so if you are planning to spend both of them this festive season, we’ve come up with a little plan you can implement so you stay in your “gift buying lane”. You’ll want to get your purchases done with time to spare, money in your back pocket and thoughtfulness injected into every decision you make.
1. Make a list and stick to it
It sounds so obvious, but you need to make yourself a cup of coffee and sit down at the kitchen table for ten minutes with an exam pad and a pen. Rushing off to the nearest shopping mall and mindlessly hoovering up items into a shopping trolley means you are going to overspend, and that’s the price you will pay for not taking the time to jot a few ideas down.
- Who are you buying gifts for?
- How many gifts do you want to buy for each person?
Those are the two questions you need to answer.
It’s tricky when you are buying gifts for kids (especially small children) because having one teeny tiny little present to open on Christmas day might evoke the type of response that could set a less than savoury mood for the rest of the day 🙂 Maybe consider more than one gift for your kids, but don’t go overboard
2. Set a budget so you don’t overspend
Generosity is a wonderful trait, but unbridled generosity, with no budget constraints, is reckless and it often means we end up spending money we simply don’t have. Once your list is complete, make sure you set up a budget. Your year-end gifting is hopefully a line item in your budget and something you’ve been putting money aside for the entire year. Don’t spend money you don’t have. It’s that simple. No rational person on your gift list would want you to break the bank to show them your appreciation or gratitude.
3. Think about what would make a meaningful gift and maybe an experience is better than a physical item
This really can be done in conjunction with the budgeting step. A meaningful gift doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be an expensive gift. The opposite is generally true. A meaningful gift could be something that doesn’t cost anything except maybe a little time.
Need an example?
Maybe you are a great cook, and it feeds your soul to create wonderfully prepared dishes. Instead of buying random thoughtless gifts for your friends and family, decide that you will go around to their houses and prepare them a tasty meal. So, send them a “food voucher” they can redeem during the year.
4. Give yourself enough time.
Good ideas don’t rain down on us all day every day. If you are looking to make meaningful purchasing decisions that will leave an indelible mark, you need some time to get your creative juices flowing and for these ideas to find you. If your default mode is generally lastminute.com then acknowledge that and start early.
5. Do some research & buy online to save time and money
The internet is a wonderful tool for sourcing novel gifts, and you can often find all types of things online that you simply can’t get in a retail outlet. You know a lot about the people you are looking to buy gifts for, so look online and if you find something that fits your budget, don’t overthink it, make the purchase. It’s a huge “schlep” trawling retail outlets and a compete timewaster. Very often online retailers are cheaper than physical retail outlets because they don’t have the rent and staffing overheads. Use this to your advantage.
6. Avoid self-gifting
How often are we out and about with well-meaning intentions of buying a gift for someone special in our lives and end up with a stack of stuff for ourselves 🙂 It’s happened to all of us before and it’s something to be conscious of. This is not about YOU. This is about the special people in your life. If you don’t check your impulse to quench your retail therapy thirst, you are going to blow out your budget again and feel horrible about yourself the moment you realize five out of the fifteen gifts in your online check-out trolley are yours.
7. Don’t forget to write a card
This is not a time or money-saving tip. It’s just a reminder that we seldom get to express the way we feel and thank the most important people in our lives for the contribution they make to our lives. A meaningful card, expressing how you feel, will probably only set you back R40 and about 20 minutes of time. A gift without a card often feels like a last-minute decision.
We hope that you found this article useful and if you have any tips you would like to share about your gifting strategies, we would love to hear them.
Until next time.
The Wise About Life Team