For me this week it is all about Eid. It is an Islamic tradition that one gets new clothes for the Eid after Ramadan. Well for me, Roo only got one back to school outfit that was new, and then we went to Value Village(second hand store) and got a few necessary pieces. She will now get another new outfit. When I shop I always go with a budget and to be honest I never go over. Usually I never spend more then $25 on a gift for any one person. When it comes to things like Roo’s birthday and Christmas she knows there is a price cap and we don’t ask for things like Wiis, or laptops.
So how am I able to keep things in check:
1. I have a birthday book: everyone is in there: along with the things they like: ie favorite color, author, music, and things they like to do.The book has saved me many a day.Ie. for the picky little princess I was able to do up a nice little gift basket with things from the dollar store all in her favorite color and she loved it.
2. For tweens and teens it is all about music and movies. I buy gift cards with points accumulated with Air Miles ( a points program here in Canada). A night out our s0me downloads make a great gift for them.
3. I have a gift box in my closet where I keep a few generic gifts that I can use in a pinch, all were things of good quality that I found on sale for over 50% off. This is were teacher presents often come from as well as hostess gifts when needed.
4. Homemade gifts are loved. I have done such things as hot choclate in a canister, soup in a jar, and canned applesauce to give as holiday gifts. I have also given Roo coupon books. With coupons like: pizza at home, movie marathon with mom, play hookey (1/2 day off school doing what she wanted to do), stay up late, board game night. and she loved it and cashed them all in.For things like Anniversaries or for seniors offer services like babysitting, snow shoveling or garden care. They are much appreciated.
5. Utilizing point programs. I collect Optimum Points from Shoppers Drugs, Air Miles and HBC Points. I often cash in points for gifts on a day when I can get more for my point value. An example of this a few times a year Shoppers has a special where you can get a higher cash value for your points. I do this and usually spend about $100 without any money coming out of my wallet. When I do this I come home with 5 0r 6 gifts. Bath stuff, jewelery, movies, Cd’s and chocolate. I cash in Air Miles for magazine subscriptions, Sobeys gift cards, and movie nights. With HBC I save for something I want.
6.Budget, budget, budget: Know your budget and dont go over it. If you are not working, and many are not this recession you scale back. You do not buy on credit. We all hate that credit card bill after the holiday. For me I like knowing I paid cash. I dont worry about the after effects of overspending or the interest.
All of these help me stay on track when the gift gremlins are at the door.