Mind, Body, and Soul is sponsored content from Fresh Ground Financial.

Christmas can be such a great time. Good food, friends, music and gifts, but it also costs money.

Does your family have a habit of overspending at Christmas? or do you want to be more intentional about the gifts you give?

If so, here are my 5 tips for affordable and intentional gift giving this Christmas. Follow these, and avoid the financial stress, and debt that often comes this time of year. 

1) Make a Budget

This is your starting point. Be realistic. Know how much you can reasonably afford for gifts this year, and spend only that. No point in going into debt trying to keep up with the Joneses. You don’t like them anyway.

Our household gift-giving budget is roughly $500 this year. That includes gifts for all 4 members of our family. To some this will seem like a large; to others, this will seem like a small budget. What people think doesn't matter because that’s what we feel comfortable with, and we know that everyone in the family will get gifts they love!

2) Buy Gifts that are needed. 

Giving wanted items is great, but giving needed items can be great too.
Think ahead to what your kids or spouse will need to buy soon, that they would also enjoy receiving as a gift, and buy those. This will lower your overall costs because you're saving yourself a future purchase. 

One way to do this is the ‘Want Need’ gift strategy. These are the categories:

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read
  • Something to do
  • Something for the whole family

Buy one gift from the categories you like and will fit into your budget. 

In the past, our family has done Want, Need, Wear, & Read. We've typically been able to buy upcoming needs with the Need, Wear, and sometimes even the Read gifts we gave our kids.

3) Used gifts are still awesome gifts!

There’s often a negative stigma around used gifts and re-gifting, but there shouldn’t be. There are so many things that can be purchased used that will work the same as they do now, or at least significantly lower the original overpriced value.

Here are a few good used gift items off the top of my head: Lego, Knex, sporting equipment, weights, gaming systems, podcast stuff (microphones, lighting), outdoor recreation games (Ladder Ball, Bocce Ball), board games, tools, and books.  
Used is the new Black. I mean…how does that quote go?

4) Dates are also awesome!

This tip takes creativity, intention, and attention and can easily be low-cost. That makes it the best gift idea ever!

Plan a sweet date with your children and/or spouse doing some of their favourite things. Give them an invitation during your gift opening time, and plan the event for shortly after Christmas so you don’t forget, and they stay excited about it.

Get creative by making a scavenger hunt, or a pick-your-own-adventure day.

The date could be as simple as tobogganing and a movie, or skating, board games and ordering in pizza. Nothing I mentioned here costs much money, but putting together one spectacular day makes for a wonderful gift!

5) Plan your gifts and their cost. Stick to the plan.

This is the deal-breaker. You'll likely go over any budget you've created if you don’t plan your gifts and their cost, and track your spending as you go.  Because, let’s be honest, buying gifts is fun and it's easy to get carried away. 

Plus, using tips 2 to 4 can easily be used as an excuse to buy, and do more. So don't do that either.
The point is to lower your Christmas spending. 

Make your budget, plan out your gifts, track your spending, stick to the plan, and enjoy giving gifts in an affordable and intentional way this Christmas!


Written by Brendan Peters, of Fresh Ground Financial.