The average holiday spending in 2017 is expected to reach more than $967, an increase of 3.4 percent since 2016 and more than 20 percent over the past two years as reported by Wallet Hub.
But not everyone is prepared to spend nearly $1,000 on holiday gifts and entertaining. Here are seven budget-friendly items to give this season that are free or almost free that we found at Wallet Hub.
Make Something Yourself: From a high-tech, heart-wrenching video to a knit hat, we’re all capable of making a perfectly good homemade present if we put our minds to it. After all, 53 million people already know how to knit or crochet, according to the Craft Yarn Council, and a pair of needles and some yarn would save you a bundle compared to garments bought at retail. Or a picture – whether painted, drawn or taken – could tell a thousand words while also saving you a nice chunk of change.
Think Sentimental: Try to remember what your friends and family talk about most as well as some of your favorite memories with them. Then brainstorm memorabilia, mementos and other symbolic items that represent those areas of interest or shared history. Your goal is to swap sentimental value for actual monetary worth, and relatively obscure items that don’t mean much to most people can often be had on the cheap.
Give Your Time: Sometimes, all those closest to us really want is to see us more. So, for example, you could make a standing date for lunch with your grandmother once a month or plans to take a day off from work for an outing with your child. This will give you something to “give” over the holidays without actually spending any money right now.
Do Household Chores: The little things really can go a long way, especially when they’re chores that you don’t usually do. Taking the likes of snow shoveling, cooking, cleaning and laundry off someone’s plate gives that person a chance to relax, which can be invaluable.
Gift A Subscription Service: Subscription boxes are all the rage right now, and they have the added benefit of allowing you to spread the cost of your gift over time without incurring interest. Plus, there’s enough variety to satisfy anyone on your list, from Birchbox ($10/mo.) for fans of cosmetics to BarkBox ($20+/mo.) for dog lovers.
Give Tickets To A Far-Off Event: If you know someone who really wants to attend an upcoming concert, sporting event, play, etc., for which ticket sales have not yet begun, you could simply give him or her a picture depicting the event along with a nice note. This could also work with a future vacation. But be careful, though, because this approach only buys you time. That means it will only work if you expect to have more cash available in the near future.
Turn Possessions Into Heirlooms: If you’re a parent or grandparent, anything that’s yours can have a lot of significance to younger family members. So consider parting with something you already have and can live without that someone else might cherish. This could be something fancy like a piece of vintage jewelry or a worn baseball glove. It all depends on your relationship with the recipient.