Give more, spend less

A guide to savvy spending without breaking the bank

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Photo by Tribune News Service

Story by Lois LeFors, staff writer

A lot of people find their wallets empty around the holidays. As a result, the loved ones in their lives that are deserving of gifts like diamonds, private islands and encapsulated sunshine instead receive macaroni necklaces and 10% off laundry detergent coupons. This step by step process is for all those poor souls out there helplessly struggling with the art of affordable and sentimental gift giving.

Step one: Do your research

Know precisely what the person you wish to provide a gift to holds near and dear to their heart. Listen for casual remarks about something he or she may want for Christmas; oftentimes people drop hints without even realizing it. Pick something that they passively mentioned, latch onto it and run with it. For example, my best friend once heard me offhandedly mention that I was going through an obsession with Welch’s fruit snacks. She also was already aware that I love cute little notes. Perfect.

Step two: Get creative

This is where creativity comes in. Find an original way to incorporate what you already know about your person and what they mentioned wanting. This is where you take your gift to the next level. This makes the gift seem more personal. Going along with the fruit snack and note research from step one, my friend found a way to incorporate the two seemingly unrelated aspects. She decided to buy me a box of fruit snacks and put a sticky note with a cute message on each individual fruit snack in the box. Boom. Creativity.

Step three: Sentimentality

Add some kind of sentimental aspect to your gift. Basically, incorporate something touching and sweet that will make your present just that much better. My friend used her sticky notes to encompass this step, but any kind of simple little note/letter that expresses gratitude or appreciation for the person you are giving a present to will work. In doing this, you will add a little something that will not only increase the sentimentality of the gift, but also express adoration and make your gift seem much more meaningful.  

Step four: Presentation

How you choose to present your gift is extremely important. You can have a really great present but if you don’t present it in a way that enhances its greatness, then the quality of your gift can exponentially decline. Likewise, if you have a adequate or less than satisfactory gift, amping up its presentation can make your gift appear to be a whole lot more superior than it actually is. So make sure you have a presentation plan, even if it just means putting the gift in a really nice box or bag and finding a way incorporate some variation of a kind word or note that goes along with your present. My friend, for example, ended up wrapping up the gift really nicely and putting more cute sticky notes on the outside. The presentation technique she chose really wrapped up (no pun intended) the gift she decided to give me and it ended up being a really cute, sweet, and most importantly, cost-efficient present.