Saving for gifts can be a struggle when you are also saving for a home. Here are some of my best tips to save for gifts -- including Christmas or birthdays. Even for kids when are at their least loveable like 18 year-old-boys.
1. Have it taken out automatically? You can have your paycheck automatically put into a savings account that you can use for gifts (or, even for saving for a home). When it happens automatically, you're less likely to mess with it.
Of course, you will also want to use any employer match for a 401k, etc. Using your paycheck wisely is a smart thing to do -- so be thoughtful what accounts you're diversifying it into!
2. Decide how much you want to save. Are you going to use that savings JUST for Christmas, or are you going to use it for birthdays, weddings.... or even gifts for nurses when you're at someplace like a hospital?
There are lots of occasions you need to consider:
- Other religious holidays
- Mother's Day
- Father's Day
- Gifts for people who go the extra mile
3. Think outside the box. When you're looking to save money on gifts, it's important to give things they will love -- not something that costs a lot.
When you're giving a gift for a 4-year-old, instead of thinking of something that has the right character, or something a girl SEEMS like she'll like -- get something she really likes.
For me, I always thought my little girl NEEDED an American Girl doll. BUT, she's a crafty girl. She'd much rather have a ream of paper and some crayons -- which would not set me back much at all.
Her enjoyment would be higher, and my cash spend would be lower. That's a win-win.
Of course -- I still thought I should buy her an American Girl Doll...
Which was dumb. I think we're all often that way with money -- but that has always been a good example for me.
4. You can always stock up on gifts. This is especially awesome when you're pre-shopping for your kid's friend's birthday presents. They're easy to buy and it saves you a trip to the store with kids when they can just pick something out of the birthday bin.
It can also work well with wedding gifts, baby gifts or even friendship gifts. Of course, if you have someone hard to shop for -- I grab them a gift when I see something perfect because it saves the stress of having to think of it on a timeline.
Saving for gifts, as well as thinking of them ahead of time will help you still save for your important savings goals -- AND giving something nice to those you love.