By: Charlestien Harris
It’s crunch time for gift-giving, and the race is on to find that perfect gift for that special someone (or a challenging family member). You don’t have to go overboard or break the bank to give great gifts or save a little money while enjoying this season of giving. Hopefully, the suggestions I mention below will help you stay within your budget and still manage to get all your shopping done with money to spare, starting the new year off in the black!
- Give a Programmable Thermostat
I know this might not sound like a good gift, but it’s actually a great one because you’ll be helping the gift receiver save money well past the holiday season. The idea might sound far-fetched, but keeping house energy use in check can help save cash throughout the year. Give your friends and family warm wishes for the holiday season (and cool tidings for summer) with lower energy costs. Also, don’t forget to give one for yourself if you don’t have one.
- Give a Reusable Water Bottle
You can easily spend a ton of money on bottled water without even realizing it. According to Consumer Reports, that bottle-of-water addiction can cost Americans $16 billion every year on disposable water bottles. That’s HUGE! Why are we spending that much money on WATER? Grab a reusable water bottle with a filter and save all that cash from purchasing. Not only does this gift idea help the environment, but it also helps with savings by avoiding that extra spending on bottled water.
- Give the Gift of a Membership
This can be a great gift idea for someone who makes large purchases regularly, and the convenience of buying in bulk will save them more money in the long run. Several “big box” stores offer a membership card that can save your friends or family on food. Groceries are obviously one thing we can never live without, and you may be surprised at how many other essential and fun things these stores offer. Most offer their own savings advantage by slashing prices and offering special discounts to their members.
- Give the Gift of Free Classes or Tickets to Free Community Events
This one might require a little research to find those hidden gems, but it will be well worth it. Check your local community colleges for free class offerings. I once took a computer skills class offered by the local community college to improve my skill level. It was easy, very basic, and best of all, it was FREE. One of the best ways to save money is to learn skills so you can do things for yourself. Whether it’s cooking, car care, woodworking, or something else, gift certificates for classes are a great way to give the gift of money-saving skills. It’s also very practical.
- Give the Gift of Rechargeable Batteries
You already know that many Christmas gifts and gadgets, in general, require batteries these days. It just makes good money sense to give the gift of a battery charger and some rechargeable batteries. It also provides the opportunity to always have electricity when needed. The last thing you want is for a child or an adult to open a gift that requires batteries and think, “I will be buying batteries for a long time to come.”
- Give the Gift of Wool Dryer Balls
Never heard of them? Neither did I, so I did some research. Wool dryer balls are considered a natural fabric softener. When it comes to drying laundry, opting for single-use dryer sheets or liquid fabric softeners to make clothes feel soft and fresh is common and can get quite expensive. For most people, it’s easy to purchase the first option because that is what is most advertised or there may be a lack of knowledge about wool dryer balls. Give everyone on your list the benefit of your knowledge and give them a set of wool dryer balls. You might just wow them with soft, wrinkle-free clothes in less time. No more purchasing fabric softener. This is a one-time purchase with the durability to last for a long time; the average lifespan for the balls is five to six years. What a way to save money!
Now I may not have covered all your bases, but at least I got you started. I bet you could come up with some additional “money-saving” gift ideas that actually save you and the gift receiver quite a bit of money not only during the gift-giving season but throughout the year and beyond.
For more information on this and other financial topics, you can reach me by email at Charlestien.Harris@banksouthern.com or call me at 662-624-5776.
Until next week – stay financially fit!
Charlestien Harris is a financial contributor to DeSoto County News. She is a financial expert with Southern Bancorp Community Partners whose articles are seen in a number of publications around the region. You’ll be seeing her columns weekly on the DeSoto County News website and our social media channels.