So, the Christmas lights are boxed away, and the tree is officially back in the shed.
After a very merry holiday season, it's understandable that a lot of people might be feeling the holes in their wallets after all the festive spending.
But the gift-giving must go on - we all know someone with a January birthday and they deserve great pressies too!
But when things are tight, and your budget isn't huge - how can you add value to a cheap gift?
Cheap doesn't necessarily mean low-quality
When I say cheap - that's strictly in terms of price.
You can absolutely get a high-quality present without breaking the bank. You just need to be creative and know where to look!
Cheap is also relative - what's expensive to me might be an absolute steal for you, and vice versa!
I had a Secret Santa arrangement with some friends last Christmas and we decided to limit the budget to £10 per present. I used an online service to upload pictures and create a picture book of us all spending time together throughout the year.
I did go £2 over budget for this present - but it didn't cost me very much overall and it was loved by my friend. I was able to gift a year's worth of memories and something that could be treasured forever - for under £20!
Give a gift that evokes emotions
When you don't have a huge budget to spend on a present, you've got to get really creative.
How can you show the recipient that you picked the gift for them specifically because you knew they'd appreciate it?
In the photo book example above, I chose to buy that for a friend in particular because we'd just taken a holiday and she kept saying she wanted to print the pictures out from it. The problem is, I know this friend and she's been saying that for years! So, this Christmas I took the opportunity to take the matter into my own hands and finally get these pictures printed!
Listen to the conversations going on around you - identify the things your friends and family want, need and enjoy. A present that can solve a problem they have or be useful to them in some way will of course be loved!
Add small touches
Let's say your budget will only stretch to a small gift like a mug. That's a pretty standard present and you might want to give your friend something a little more meaningful, without having to pay to personalize it.
If you know your friend loves hot chocolate with marshmallows, add a bag of marshmallows and some hot chocolate sachets to your mug! These are inexpensive and easy to source. You could also add a bar of their favorite chocolate, or if they're a coffee addict, buy them a tin of their favorite coffee to go alongside the mug (I actually did this for a friend a couple of years ago - she loved it).
A mug and some chocolate doesn't sound like an amazing gift on paper but when it's given to someone in a thoughtful way it will probably be super touching for them.
Use a gift-wrapping service
Most online stores you can buy gifts from offer a gift-wrapping service for a small fee - usually somewhere between the £2 and £4 mark. Make sure you to check to see what this service looks like before you purchase it though - I've paid for some pretty lackluster gift-wrapping in the past, thinking I couldn't do better myself.
You see, I've always been awful at wrapping gifts. But one day I had to buy a last-minute gift for my friend and was determined to wrap it nicely. So, I followed along to a YouTube tutorial and wrapped the most pretty gift you've ever seen in your life, complete with a ribbon tied into a bow! So that's another option if you don't want to splurge on a gift-wrapping service.
Unwrapping a present is part of the experience. A beautifully wrapped present will speak volumes for the effort and thought you've put in - regardless of the budget.
Make your gifts by hand
We've got a full post on hand-making gifts but it has to be included here because it's such a great option for gifting on a budget. From gifting baked goods to a homemade hamper filled with your friend's favorite treats, a homemade present makes up in effort for what it lacks in cost.
And sometimes, a gift like this can be even more touching than something store-bought.
An idea that I really like is to purchase a nice jar and handwrite positive notes and statements to your friend that they can pull out and read after a long and stressful day. These are the kind of gifts that bring joy, happiness and create memories.
So now you have a few thoughts and ideas on how to add value and quality to presents without breaking the bank, you can gift without worry of blowing your budget all year round!