Cheap Gifts for kids – money saving tips

5 Tips to Picking Great Kid Gifts on a Budget

By Alicia Rivera

The Holidays are approaching and although most parents would love to grant their child’s every wish, the reality is that most families are tightening their economic belts and are stretching their dollars as far as they can already. That doesn’t mean you can’t still grant some holiday wishes if you prioritize, plan ahead, and use a little creativity.

Have Your Child Make a Wish List

If your children are young, and if Santa is part of your holiday traditions, have them write a letter to Santa. Have them cut out pictures of their 2 or 3 “must have” items. This helps when they want something that Santa has never heard of. (I had no clue what a “My Meeba” was when my daughter asked for one earlier this month.)

Use this wish list to zero in on those gifts your child wants most. If they insist on mailing it to the north pole, make a copy for yourself first; when no one is watching of course.

Make Your Own List of Your Child’s Favorite Hobbies, Toys, and Things to Do

No one knows your child better than you do, but by making a list you can zero in on subtle things that can translate into great, inexpensive gift choices. For example, my 6 year old sons loves Dr. Seuss books. He loves the silly rhymes but he has that whole collection. However, that made me think that he would also enjoy reading children’s poetry written by other authors. Our local book warehouse store sells a great collection of children’s poetry books at big discounts.

Try to keep a running list of things that your child mentions.

About two months ago my daughter came home from school raving about the polymer clay her teacher had given them that afternoon. I happened to make note of it as her birthday was approaching. A few blocks of the clay in a variety of colors (that I managed to find on sale), plus some plastic sculpting tools made for a very inexpensive birthday gift that she absolutely loved. I thought ahead and bought extra clay that I have stashed away ready to put in her Christmas stocking.

Does your child like to help you in the kitchen?

Why not pick up a childs apron and a great kids cook book? They can be found on sale in almost any book store and can be a very exciting and personal gift for an aspiring young chef. Get them their own measuring spoons and brightly colored oven mitts and toss those in the box too.

If your family enjoys family game night consider purchasing board games and labeling them to “The whole family”. This adds gifts that everyone can enjoy and even open together.

Search for Big Ticket Items Early

Lots of kids these days want expensive electronics. Video games, iPods, hand held games and other pricey items can really make parents feel under the gun at holiday time. Especially when money is tight. If you’re being asked for several big ticket items the first thing to do is be realistic. Determine which items you can buy, taking into consideration your budget and those things that seem really important to your kids. Remember, there is no rule that says kids have to get every single thing they ask for, so be selective and don’t get yourself in a financial bind.

Browse through store fliers for holiday bargains keeping mind that some stores offer Layaway.

You make a small down payment on the things you want to purchase. While the store holds your items, you make weekly payments over a set amount of time until you’ve paid the balance in full. There may be a small surcharge for using this service so make sure you take that into consideration when working within your budget.

If you find you need to use your credit card, have a plan in place for how and when you’re going to pay it off and try to do it within 60 days of making the purchases. Otherwise any money you’ve saved will be offset by high interest charges.

Network with Family and Friends to Find Deals

If there are grandparents, aunts, uncles, extended family or friends that usually buy gifts for your children, let them know what kinds of things your children are asking for. Most people will appreciate this kind of information as they will spend money on a gift they know is really wanted and will be used.

This will also take some of the burden off you to make all those holiday wishes come true. If you’re buying a game system, let grandparents and relatives know what games would be compatible as well as even less expensive accessories and where they can be found at rock bottom prices.

Also use your network of family and friends to find the best prices on those big ticket items.

Send out an email asking everyone to keep an eye out for your item while they’re out doing their own shopping and to let you know if they find a deal. Offer to do the same for them. My sister-in-law lives about an hour away from us. I let her know which items I’m looking for and she will look for bargains in her area. If she sees something at a good price she gives me a call. Sometimes you can even arrange to have someone pick up an item for you and settle up with them when you meet to get the item.

Use the Internet

With retailers needing to compete more than ever the internet can be where you find rock bottom prices. Price changes on the net can be fast and furious but can get you big discounts and free shipping. Use sites like and to find the things you need and compare prices across many different retailers in your area.

Don’t forget to be creative with inexpensive stocking stuffers, handmade items, or even tins of favorite sweet treats to add to the holiday fun and keep your spending under control. Most important, don’t stress this year over what may or may not be in that holiday gift pile. Be realistic with your budget. Be creative with your ideas, and use every resource available to get the lowest prices possible and everyone, including you, will have a great time this year.

Alicia Rivera is a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) of three lively kids. An entrepreneur who designs her own line of handcrafted jewelry, Alicia has also created a growing and ever-changing online resource for moms who want to learn frugal ways to nurture the fun-loving rhythm of their families.

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Top 10 Ways to Save Money Buying Gifts

Ten Gift-Giving Tips While You Save

By Christiene Villanueva

Summer Fun GiftsWhen thoughtfulness meets practical sense, you have a sure-fire formula for sound gift-giving. No matter how good it feels to make someone else happy, the value of gift-giving should not be measured based on the amount fetched for it, but on the intent for which the gift is given – and the purpose it will serve the recipient. A gift worth a thousand dollars can spellbound for a while, but just like any spell, the magic will soon ebb away. In the final analysis, the gift that matters is one that touches a chord on someone’s heart, pastes a smile on the lips and lifts the spirit.

You have the power to make a difference in your gift-giving, in fact, it does not take much to make an impression. Below are tips gathered from various experiences, those that have succeeded to please – without putting so much dent on the wallet. For isn’t it, that most of life’s pleasures come free, they only become difficult to achieve when we put a price tag to it?

  1. Save on time.
    Choosing a gift should not be done in haste. “Haste makes waste” is a popular adage, and it applies on gift-giving, too. Before you set foot outside of the house, you should have a mental image of the gift you want to get for a specific person, otherwise the running around will tire you needlessly, and will rob you of the fun and excitement that go with gift-giving.

Shop Back to School on Zazzle

    PLAN AHEAD OF TIME. This is perennial as the sun that rises in the east. Nothing saves more time, effort and resources than planning.
    The internet hosts a wide array of online stores that will serve as your best stop, without leaving home. Make use of technology to deliver to you the gift that best describes your emotion, in your utmost convenience, and at a price you can afford.
  1. Keep a list.
    Maintain and regularly update your list of people – family, friends, relatives, close associates that you prefer to give gifts to. Keep a calendar of family events like birthdays and anniversaries, as well as milestones in other people’s lives, whose happiness you treasure. This will help you plan in advance the best gift for the occasion.
    Additional tips:
  • Choose an item that comes in a variety of colors or styles and give this to several people; buying in bulk can save you dollars.
  • For families, one item that they can collectively enjoy such as a board game, an appliance, or an exercise equipment will go a long way to making everyone happy.
  1. Find a substitute.
    When a particular gift you have in mind is not available or is costly, find a suitable but cheaper replacement or substitute. Exercise your imagination without loosening your grip on your purse strings.
    For a housewife, an occasional shopping spree, may sound just as costly as any kind of shopping. But a candlelit dinner for two may not only sound romantic, it can also put fun within the budget.
  1. Create a “fit”.
    The receiver and his gift. Gift-giving is all about the other fellow who receives the gift, what he likes. This is the charm of gift-giving: nobody is old enough to appreciate the gift, or young enough to take it for granted. Everyone just loves a gift! The trick is on how to make a “fit”.
    To effectively give a gift, be genuinely interested in the person for whom you wish to give a gift: what does he want, or need? Oftentimes, this information is communicated to us when we least expect to listen to it, or acknowledge it. Jot down any information or detail you can gather. This will serve its purpose later.
  1. Create a budget.
    Gift-giving need not be expensive if you know how to face up to the challenge of buying gift items, within your limits.
    To ease up the challenge, a list of gifts to buy can set up your focus, and an estimate of how far your budget can stretch. And stick to it!
  1. gifts for grads

    Shop regularly.

    Perennial gift-givers have a novel and practical approach to gift-giving. They refuse to be smitten by the “spur-of-the-moment” bug, instead they shop regularly, and in constant look-out for bargain items they can


    save up until the moment comes.
    This is the more subtle way of “gathering up” for bigger celebrations like Christmas and birthdays. Buying items this way does not impose a load on the budget, instead it sets up the discipline of saving for the long haul.
    • 8.

Set a gift-giving fund.

“A penny saved is a penny earned”, that is one of the many credos

we grew up with, and soon forgot. Setting aside an amount for gift-

giving, on regular basis, will guarantee that when an occasion

calls for it, we are ready. A small amount saved each month will

add up overtime. With a budget to work with, gift-giving becomes

a more pleasurable exercise.

9. The shortest way to anyone’s heart is still through the stomach.


    There is something comforting in a good meal. No wonder, people from all walks of life appreciate a home-cooked or personally prepared menu. Discover your loved one’s favorites and whip up a meal that suits his tastes. Few men can resist the temptation of good food served in a platter of feminine charm, laced with intelligently carried-out conversations.

10. It’s the thought that counts.

    When you are given a gift, show courtesy by sending back a “thank you” card. Oftentimes, the thought counts just as important as the gift itself.

Don’t be fooled by the notion that the gift encompasses everything

there is in gift-giving. The gift is only the physical manifestation;

what is more valuable is that which is unseen.

Happy gift-giving!

Christiene Villanueva

Birthday Gift Idea

Christiene Villanueva –

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