Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gifting on a Budget

Gift giving on a budget can be a tricky thing to master.  When economic times are tough, big ticket items are the first things cut out: cars, houses, vacations and recreation, etc.  However, small ticket items can flourish: rental movies, low-cost toys, fashion accessories, home accents, etc.  The reason people buy more of the little things is that people want to feel like they can still spoil themselves, even in a small way.

When gift giving on a budget, a lot of people will scour the sales bins and clip out the weekly coupons and cash in rewards points (one of my favourite things to do!).  Instead of shopping cheaper, try shopping smarter.  One of the selling points of handmade goods is that you can talk to the creator and tailor your gift giving to the recipient.  In addition, many of the budget friendly shopping conveniences can be duplicated online (like rewards points and gift wrapping, to name just a couple).  Here are a few  ideas to help you look for budget friendly handcrafted goods on any of todyay's handmade retail sites:

Direct ship:
One of the beauties of buying handmade online is that you can directly message the seller.  If you are buying a gift item, ask if there is a direct ship option.  Most Creators would not be adverse to also wrapping the package up for your recipient and enclosing a little "to / from" gift enclosure.

Double Duty items:
Gifts that are two-in-ones are the best!  Refillable items are gifts than can keep on giving!  I have an example in my shop of a refillable card case.  Any standard sized cards can fit, so you aren't limited to the refills from my shop only!

I have even seen some cards where a removeable bookmark or earrings make up part of the card's display.  Also consider buying a more artistic card that you can later frame for room decor.
Another good double duty item is this fabric pocket coaster by BoutiqueKarma which allows you to insert a gift a long with the coaster, whether it be a packet of tea or coffee, the fixings (sugar or sweetner packets), or the finishing touches (a small bag of mini-marshmellows for cocoa or a couple of chocolate dipped stir sticks / plastic spoons).

Unique items:
The great thing about handmade gifts is that they are unique.  Your gift will stand out from everyone else's.  (I'm not saying store-bought gifts can't be unique or inventive; I'm only saying it is less common in a manufactured environment so you might spend more time looking for it.)  When you can't afford to buy a big, fabulous gift, give something small, but unique.  Such an item says, "I think you're special" and not "I think you're worth $X".  (How many of us do that?  For a family member's birthday you spend a certain amount but for a friend who isn't your best friend, something of  lesser amount?  Maybe you won't say it out loud but you're nodding your heads, aren't you?)  Time to stop thinking, "What can I get for $X?" and start thinking "What would So-and-So like, really?"

A gift tailored to the recipient is much more meaningful than a generic gift.  Being connected to the Creators is a plus because you can ask for something to be a little altered.  Maybe it's not always possible, but you'll never know if you don't ask!  It might be only a small change to tailor an item for your recipient.  (And won't it sound luxurious when you say you had the item custom made for them?)

If you can't think of what really suits a person, you can still get something that is just unique in its own right.  These items will stand out because they're different.  For example, these paper cut cards by Woodwright:

Many online venues are willing to redeem coupons and giftcards.  Again, all you have to do it ask.  All the Creator has to do is give you a unique coupon code.  It is always best for the buyer to indicate that they have a coupon or giftcard and what product they woud like obtain with it before adding the item to their cart.  The Creator can make a custom listing for the buyer and take the discount or giftcard denomination off the top.  (It's not very different from a restaurant.  They usually ask you before billing whether you plan to use a coupon or giftcard!)  This way, your recipient is SURE to get something they like, because they can choose it themselves!

I hope these ideas help you with your shopping.  Handmade gifts don't have to be budget busters.  If all you can give is something small, then make it count!


1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your post. It is well written with lots of good ideas. A handmade gift taylored to the recipient is always appreciated.



Thank-you for sharing your thoughts.