How to Be a Minimalist Gift Giver this Christmas
Christmas is often a time of excess and over indulging, but have you ever noticed how that can sometimes make you feel kind of flat afterwards? Especially when your next credit card bill arrives!
The post-Christmas period is the number one highest period of debt for Australians. Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) data reveals the nation borrowed $29 billion on credit cards last December - the equivalent to $1,727 in purchases per card.
“People go way overboard at this time of the year, especially when it comes to buying gifts for kids, grandkids and family members,” says Deborah Southon, from debt solutions provider Fox Symes. “If you’re sick of spending a fortune, and don’t want extra credit card debt, why not attempt to really trim your budget. Re-use, re-purpose and give experiences instead of things for a less consumer-driven Christmas. Going minimalist doesn’t mean forgetting about gifts entirely. It just means spending a little less and more mindfully.”
Here are some suggestions below.
Although experiences also cost money, at least you know a voucher for something is likely to get used, unlike a token which may get lost, broken or forgotten about. Buy a voucher for something the person is really interested in, such as concert tickets, passes to the zoo, a night at a restaurant, or pay for a cookery course.
A gift that grows will be treasured
A gift for the garden like a potted plant is something that will be appreciated by both young and old alike. You could even repurpose one of your old pots and paint it in bright colours. Include some potting mix and a packet of seeds or a cutting from one of your existing plants. Kids in particular will love this sort of gift and will delight in watching something grow and remembering you each time they look at it.
Make it practical
If you have an adult offspring who is having it tough, then you could always offer to pay a bill for them as a gift. Just enter the Billpay code and reference number from their bill and your own payment details for a one off. For kids opt for an inexpensive clothing item – but also include a small and fun stocking stuffer to keep them happy.
Anything you can keep re-using will save money down the track. Beeswax food wraps are great gifts because the person can use them again and again after washing and you can skip buying so much clingfilm. The same goes for microfibre cloths and silicone baking sheets. Give them to your partner and you’ll be making a saving in your own home!
Wrap it in cloth
Everyone knows about the saving wrapping paper trick, but why not go a step further and wrap presents in cloth? If you have old tote bags or scarves you no longer use, pass them onto someone else by wrapping their gift in it and tying it with some ribbon. Scraps of fabric can also later be used as cleaning cloths.
Choose a household item
Although some people roll their eyes at the thought of soap and company, at least certain household items will get used at some point and won’t cost a lot. Cheap doesn’t have to mean nasty – there are more artisan, upmarket versions of handwashes, kitchen sprays, dishwashing detergents and air fresheners available. You could even look up recipes online and make your own.
If you’re hanging onto something that’s lost its lustre – like an old toy, worn out wooden chair or used books, consider turning it into a present. Sometimes all you need is to wipe something off and do a bit of a spruce up and it’s good to go again.
It’s true that some people already have everything they need. They’re often the hardest to shop for. However, if you know the person really loves everyday things like potato chips, chocolate bars and a certain can of soft drink, why not put together a fun box of all these treats? Not only will it be relatively inexpensive, they’re likely to get a big kick out of it!