Wednesday 24th April 2024

Save money on gifts throughout the year

Shoestring Jane top tips on how to saves on gifts all year: plan, budget, DIY, regift, buy second-hand, and get creative with wrapping.

It’s not only at Christmas you need to think about gift-giving. Birthdays, anniversaries, new babies and weddings come throughout the year, and the costs can soon stack up. Here are some ideas to save money on gifts year-round.

Get organised

As with most things, planning ahead and being organised about your gift-giving can often prove a money saver.

By making a list of significant occasions when you are likely to need a gift well in advance, you can take advantage of special offers and sales with the recipient in mind. It also prevents those last-minute panic purchases when you might not find a present that will be appreciated. 

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Keep a list of what you buy, however, so you don’t forget who you have already bought for!

Set a budget

Another advantage of planning prospective gift purchases is that you can work out your budget. Decide how much you can afford to pay and try to stay within budget so your gift-giving doesn’t create financial stress.

Don’t feel you need to buy for everyone you know. If money is tight, it is perfectly acceptable to keep your purchases to a small group of special people.

It can be uncomfortable if somebody insists on buying gifts for you when you don’t want to reciprocate, but most people get the hint if you thank them gracefully but don’t buy for them in return. You can give them a card to show you are thinking of them, but stand firm and don’t give in to peer pressure. 

Get cheaper gift cards

Did you know there are online marketplaces where you can buy and sell unwanted gift cards? You can save between four and 15%, depending on the retailer. Give the cards to the recipient directly or use them to buy presents yourself.

For example, Cards2Cash currently offers Playstation vouchers at 15% off the face value, Cineworld vouchers at 12% off and BodyShop vouchers at 8% off.

DIY gifting

There are loads of inexpensive items you can make yourself without any particular skills to save money on gifts. For example, a memory book works well for a special birthday.

You can fill it with photos, letters from loved ones and stories about the recipient’s life. I made one for my Dad’s 90th birthday. He loved it so much that he looked at it daily for months and kept it on the coffee table to proudly show visitors. 

Other easy-to-make presents include homegrown plants, packets of seeds collected from your garden, homemade cakes or preserves, hampers of toiletries or sweets, framed photographs or photo montages, or an appreciation jar filled with nice thoughts, memories or compliments about the person receiving it.  

If you are lucky enough to possess more skill, you can make soaps, body scrubs and bath bombs, knitted or sewn items, paintings or embroidery.

Homemade gifts require your time and care, which is bound to be appreciated.


If you are given something you know you will never use, why not pass it to someone who will and save money? Just make sure to remember who it came from to prevent any embarrassment!

Buy second-hand and vintage

I am a fan of buying secondhand and vintage gifts for people, as they are more sustainable and affordable. But I also find, particularly with vintage items, that I can locate something interesting and unique that I might not be able to afford if it were new.

Get cashback

Always check cashback sites when purchasing gifts online. In fact, I do this for all my purchases as the money soon adds up and is useful at Christmas time. My favourite is Top Cashback (my referral link).

Get rewarded

Save your reward points from the retailers you shop at regularly to spend on presents. Loyalty cards offering rewards that can easily be converted to gifts include Boots Advantage card, Tesco’s Clubcard, Sainsbury’s Nectar card and Superdrug Health & Beauty card.

Save on wrapping and cards

Once you have made your purchases, you will want to present them attractively. However, instead of buying expensive wrapping paper and cards, get your children involved! They will enjoy making cards from scraps and inexpensive craft items. They can even create some beautiful wrapping paper by potato printing a roll of plain brown paper. 

If you don’t have a troupe of children to exploit, brown paper and coloured twine create a simple and elegant look. 

It is also helpful to keep a stash of recycled gift bags and wrapping paper, bows and ribbon to wrap your gifts and you can decorate small boxes with coloured paper rather than buying new ones. Look out for pretty boxes and baskets in charity shops, too.

Save money on gifts with a little effort, organisation and planning, and your bank balance will thank you!

Shoestring Jane

Mouthy Blogger

Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.

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