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Around 61% of Americans say they receive at least one unwanted gift over the holidays, amounting to a total of $15.2 billion wasted on gifts per year. The figures aren’t only worrisome in terms of financial loss but also in terms of sustainability. As a wide array of sectors focus on creating a circular economy and reducing the ‘use once and throwaway’ mentality that is so harmful to the environment, many consumers are still engaging in unmindful gift-giving. If you wish to strike the right cord with friends and family and you also wish to save, consider a more creative approach to gift-giving and strategize your spending carefully.
Creating a Recipient List and Budget
Gift-giving should begin with a list of the people you need to give gifts to. This list may include family members, friends, teachers, colleagues, and more. It is a good idea to keep your list in a digitized format (for instance, on Google Sheets) so that you can decide on a total amount and visibly see how much will be allocated to each gift. According to the National Retail Federation, the average yearly expenditure on Christmas gifts in 2020 stood at around $629. A MagnifyMoney survey, meanwhile, showed that the average shopper became indebted (via credit card) to a tune of $1,381 owing to Christmas expenses. Try to avoid borrowing any money at all, adapting your list instead to your existing budget and being very strict about not going even a few dollars over-budget.
Taking Advantage of Black Friday and Other Sales
Black Friday sales may be a bit of a bugbear if you don’t like advertisements announcing them, but make no mistake—you can make big savings, with average discounts of 37% off during this special day of the year. If you miss it, conduct research into promotions offered by retailers, using coupon codes to potentially cut hundreds of dollars off your purchases at a single store. Most savvy retailers actually have sales all-year-round, which you can find in the Outlet or Sale section of their site. Check out the websites of the retailers you are interested in since many offer promo codes that enable you to bring gifts easily within your budget. Start shopping early, way before November, listing down prices of items your loved ones have expressed a wish to own. Compare Black Friday prices to make sure that promised discounts are authentic.
Embracing Zero-Cost Gift-Giving
If you love arts and crafts, this is the perfect season to make loved ones happy with bespoke creations. Everyone welcomes décor items, charms to put in their tree, pretty cards to decorate the fireplace, DIY fairy wands, winter snow scene décor, and more. When creating arts and crafts, try to bring your cost down to zero (or close to it) by using items like old toilet paper rolls, recycled CDs, leftover pipe cleaner, buttons from old clothing you no longer need, and other items that can embellish arts, crafts, and sewing projects.
It is amazing to think that over $15M dollars are wasted on unwanted Christmas gifts every year. It is easy to make others happy with gifts they truly need or want. The key to acing your gift-giving strategy is to create and stick to a budget. Those into arts and crafts can additionally rely on their talent to make gifts from recycled and upcycled materials that can give an art or sewing project a whole new look.