Giving Gifts That Will Save Money
I love the holiday season. I love being able to bake cookies and give them to my friends, put up decorations and — most of all — give gifts. But with only a couple of weeks left until Hanukkah and a few more after that until Christmas, I'm really trying to buckle down with my gift lists.
With the current economic crunch, I know a lot of people are focusing on items they can make themselves or that they can purchase on sale. I'm taking a little bit of a different route this year, though. Instead, I'm focusing on gifts I can give that will help my friends and family save money in the long run. So far, I've found that my choice of gifts hasn't been any more expensive than gifts I've given in years past — and in some cases, it's been significantly less expense. There's several categories that these helpful gifts fall into:
One of my younger cousins is hoping to buy her first car this year. I know she isn't going to be able to afford something in perfect condition, so I'm thinking a few tools might come in handy. One of our other cousins knows cars inside and out and has promised that, as long as our new driver has a few basic tools, he'll make sure she can handle at least a few minor repairs so she doesn't have to drag her new ride to the shop constantly. The same goes for houses — if you have a few basic tools, you can often avoid paying money for repairs you can handle yourself.
While classes can pay off in the long run, there are plenty of other educational expenses that make for great gifts. One of the most useful presents I received my senior year of high school was a big book of scholarships and how to land them. There are so many different ways to help someone out with their education — and there's lots of warm fuzzies that go along with helping someone else getting ahead. I do think it's worth noting that you shouldn't limit yourself to thinking about college expenses. It all depends on the goals of the gift recipient, and you should talk to him before making a decision.
It's always worth asking what the people you want to give gifts for what they need this year. There's probably something higher up their wish lists that another book or DVD — and there's nothing wrong with giving a useful gift. I've already spread the word in my family that I want a couple of kitchen items to help support my eating-in habit. I bet there's something you'd particularly like to help you out in the New Year — let us know in the section and help us all get a head start on our gift list.