Last minute gift ideas that won’t break the bank!

kids and moneyGuest column by Sara Gilbert, GreenPath manager for Colorado and Wyoming

The gift-buying season is in full force, with under a week until the big day!

If your budget is feeling the strain and you still have a few more gifts that to buy, these ideas might help keep your spending in line while you provide creative gifts without spending a lot of money. I’ve spent the last couple of days asking local financial experts about their inexpensive holiday ideas. Here they are.

First I asked our local Certified Credit Counselors at GreenPath. Teri Slater had a great suggestion for piggy banks that have a budgeting lesson incorporated.

“I have a great one I’m doing for my girls,” she said. “I went to the hobby store and bought canning jars for $1 each. I’m going to decorate three for each of my kids and label them ‘Spend,’ ‘Save,’ and “Give.”

Julie MacDougall loves this inexpensive family gift-sharing activity: “For the last few years, my family has implemented a white elephant gift exchange at Christmas for the adults. We all bring something funny or weird for less than $10 and wrap it up.
“We play a trivia game and hand out prizes until everyone has something. Then in the ‘knockout round’ you can steal gifts from others.”

Katie Pague, another GreenPath counselor, suggested giving gift certificates for services you’ll do, such as babysitting or cleaning. Katie, a gardener in her free time, also suggested certificates for food from next year’s garden. I hope to receive one of those.

Another idea is buying used frames at a secondhand store, painting them, and providing them as gifts with a meaningful picture.

Finally, Nancy Patton, business development officer for Public Service Credit Union, shared that it’s most important that the holiday reflects what’s most important to you. Maybe that includes faith activities, baking, singing carols, or spending time with family.

You can reduce or even skip some of the activities that cause you more stress than enjoyment. Most of all, find reasons to enjoy the season.

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