Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gift Giving Ideas on a Fixed Income

Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach
(photo by public-domain-photos.com)
It is not too soon to start thinking about your holiday shopping ... especially if you are on a fixed income.  As the holidays approach, one concern that many retirees have is how they are going to handle holiday gift shopping.  This is one of those extra expenses that is often left off the retirement budget you originally planned.  Before you retire, you need to decide how you are going to pay for all those little extras that can add up to a lot of money.

In our family, we have four grown daughters, three son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren, and we like to purchase gifts for all of them. We have also always bought gifts for my parents, who are still alive, as well as my sister and her family, and assorted other friends and relatives. However, we do not earn nearly as much money as we used to.  There was a time when I could go to the Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach (pictured here), and purchase a nice gift for everyone on my list.  Today, however, that is not as realistic.  The older we get, the more difficult that is likely to become.

I recently read a darling article about purchasing small or fun items and tucking gift cards into them.  Among the suggestions the author made were putting gift cards in underwear, and coffee mugs!  I don't think I'll buy underwear for anyone on my list, but I do like the idea of buying small gifts and inserting a gift card into each one.  For example, all our daughters and granddaughters have pierced ears and they all like silver earrings.  I'm watching for a good sale on silver earrings.  If I can purchase earrings for all the girls on my list, it will greatly simplify my holiday shopping.  I'm still exploring what small gift I can get for the guys.  Funny coffee mugs might be an excellent idea.

For the three youngest grandchildren, I will continue to purchase them toys, and perhaps give them a little cash to go along with their gifts.  My parents have asked that we no longer send them gifts because they already have everything they need.  However, I know they love chocolate, so I'll certainly send them a nice box of candy.  My sister and I have agreed to stop exchanging gifts this year, which is a relief to both of us.

Giving homemade cookies or nut breads is something simple I can do for many of my friends.  I may make my life even easier by picking up some cute, decorated cookies at the store and giving them to friends.

The bottom line is that now is the time in our lives when we need to start saving money on holiday shopping.  The expense has become so large, that I can no longer handle all the purchases we made in the past.  It is almost a relief to begin to cut back on the big holidays we used to have!

If you have some ideas on how you are going to save money on holiday gifts this year, feel free to pass on your suggestions in the comments section.  Who knows how many other people you could help with your ideas!

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