Official Credit Union of UMass Athletics

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3 Ways to Save Money On Gifts During the Holidays

by Sean Capaloff-Jones.

I know that to some this may sound like an impossible feat. Beyond the challenge of gift giving, there are countless other opportunities to spend money, like in bringing a dish for a holiday party, or giving money to a charity of your choice. It seems like a time of year when money just burns through my pocket.

These last few years, I've tried to become more careful with where I spend money and how.

1. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - Oliver Platt.
If you are a regular reader then you have heard me bang on this drum a few times. The point is that just because you like a gift doesn't mean the gift receiver is going to like it, and studies back up the concept that the gift receiver cares a lot less about the cost of the gift than the gift giver. That even goes for a gift costing hundreds of bucks. If you're short on affordable gift ideas, take a look at our 53 Easy-on-the-Wallet Gifts. The most important thing is to set a price point that is within your reach. In the end, you can come up with a thoughtful gift at any dollar figure.

2. Start a Holiday Club Savings Account.
OK, this one won't actually help you this year. But if you start it now, by next year, gifts and other expenses will be taken care of and there will be no need to whip out a credit card. If you have charitable donations you regularly give over the holidays, make sure you factor that in to your budget somehow... Your Holiday Club could be a good place!

3. Offer Skills
We all bring something to the table in our skillset. If a friend or family member is in need of help moving, with yard work, gardening, or pet-sitting, this is a way to give a gift that is based on spending your time rather than your money. Times are hard, and for many of us, we have more time than money. Looking for something tangible to give? A thoughtfully picked out (or hand crafted) card could be a great pick. If you're not the creative type but still want a personal touch, try websites like Shutterfly. You can even design a gift certificate if you have a computer and a printer.

What have you found to be great ways to save money on gifts? Please share them, I'd love to get more tips!

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