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Impressive & Inexpensive: This Year’s Guide to Gift Giving

We all need one this time of year – a guide to gift giving so we can wow our friends, family, boss and co-workers while scoring the best deals to save a little cash. Of course, there’s no perfect list, unless you’re Santa Claus, and everyone’s got their own field of recipients. But when someone else does the legwork for you, its a big help.

Everyone needs a guide to gift giving that includes affordable, last-minute ideas.

We all want to find cheap gifts – the trick is to locate the kinds of presents that either: look more expensive than they are; actually are more valuable than what you paid for them; or are so unique that nobody has any idea what the price tag was.

The affordable guide to gift giving is a different priority than just a clever gift guide. Sure – you can go to Neiman Marcus, but will another down vest or faux fur boots really impress again this year?

The key is to shake it up a little, maybe get away from ordering off your daughter’s Amazon Gift List and put on your thinking cap.

Good news! We did it for you.

For the Family: It’s not just a club membership for cheap toilet paper anymore!

There are big advantages to membership warehouse stores, according to an article on the site Money Crashers, beginning with how easy it is to make up the membership fee – usually around $50. You get it back from the savings you get on everything from low-cost household supplies to cheap gifts for everyone year-round. According to Kiplinger, most retail stores have a 25-50% markup, which is why warehouse stores can offer lower prices – because they’re collecting membership fees.

This kind of business model uses a no-frills approach to pass on the savings to the public – which is why you can get affordable gifts for him and gifts for her. FedMart was a discount store in the 1950s, sort of a precursor to places like BJs, Costco and Sam’s Club today. They just keep growing too. Whereas they used to be known for cooking supplies and household paper goods in the ‘80s, now you can purchase travel, tires, and even insurance, through such stores as Costco.

The guide to gift-giving through a membership warehouse store would certainly include discounted movie and amusement park tickets https://www.costco.com/gift-cards-tickets.html Costco sells cheap movie tickets by the bundle, and discounted tickets to parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios and Legoland.

And it’s not just a few single amusement parks. The Costco site has categories of discounted tickets and passes:gift5
• Movie Tickets
• Theme/Water Parks
• Tourist/City Attractions
• Gyms/Spas/Weight Management
• Restaurants
• Skiing/Winter Activities
• Sailing/Water Activities
• Jewelry/Watches
• Helicopter Tours
• iTunes Gift Cards
• Gift Baskets

Prepaid gift cards are a popular gift for him or her, because your gift recipients get to spend the credit cards at their leisure. There’s scarcely anything more practical, considering they can buy gas with it, dine or shop with a card.

For the Kids: Under the category of “clever, though affordable guide to gift-giving,” a Surprise Activity Box subscription would be a keeper. 

Every month the company sends the recipient activity boxes filled with all the supplies needed to spark creativity and enrichment. It’s a creative idea hatched by Donna and Rosy Khalife, who aim to inspire kids to do more than spend the American average of 7 hours a day in front of a screen.

Donna Khalife has a Harvard MBA and a background studying non-profit entrepreneurship. Rosy has a marketing degree and worked in advertising and media buying for companies in Europe and the U.S.

These two women offer parents the chance to get their kids doing off-line, hands-on play activities.

For the Traveler: This wallet has more pockets than your old purse and wallet combined. A waterproof wallet will keep your passport, cash, and tickets safe from all your adventures.

There’s nothing worse than sitting on the sand and either forgetting to take your wallet out of your pocket or not feeling secure to leave your ID with your towel on the beach. This makes it possible to hang ten while hanging onto your identity.

For the Beard Grower: To some, the Civil War is never out of style and today that’s true for a lot of men! Gifts for him aren’t always easy to find, but this one is a no-brainer if he’s got facial hair. A beard grooming kit includes: beard wash, beard lube, beard conditioner and a comb. 

For the Beauty Guru: A number of beauty industry companies offer a subscription service these days, which can be great gifts for her. Like a wine club, you let them know your preferences and they send out products to your door, which means these are gifts that keep gifting. Monthly beauty services are a newer phenomenon, though they’re much like the Avon Lady from the mid-1900s.

One of those is Birchbox, which is an app you can use on your phone to set up a subscription for five monthly beauty treats. You get a box of both prestige and niche brand beauty supplies, which is a way to sample different products and see which ones you’d like to use on a regular basis.

 When you find a favorite, you can purchase a full-size version of the product and the company ships for free.

 You can also send personalized beauty products through Ipsy, which was founded on a mission to “inspire individuals around the world to express their unique beauty.” The purpose is to customize options, so clients are getting exactly what meets their needs.

The company began in 2011 with a name derived from the Latin “ipse,” which means “self.” If your guide to gift giving has the individual in mind, Ipsy is probably a good bet. The Ipsy Glam Bag includes five products personalized for the “ipster,” and there’s more information available on the website, including videos and articles. It’s a way for the shopper to try more beauty options in the process of defining their beauty style.

 gift4For the Coworkers: If Secret Santa is a “thing” at your place of business, you need to come up with new ideas every year that outdo your last. But depending on the size of the company, it can be expensive! For cheap gifts, turn to the lottery. One idea is to buy scratchers in bulk for your fellow employees, because a cheap scratcher could be a $100 gift for a lucky coworker.

  Visit Brostrick for more last-minute gift ideas if you’re still stumped.

The site has some unique ones on the market this year, which are hot-linked to Brostrick. If you’re hunting cheap gifts for a child, you can check out the balloon animal night light. For the other end of the spectrum – a drinker (hopefully an adult) – there’s the Micro Brew Beer Gift Basket or the Whiskey Ice Wedge.

Your friends will think of you all year with gifts that keep gifting.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the present you pick out serves them beyond the 25th of December? The greatest gift of all is a gift that keeps on giving, which in many cases includes helping some of the thousands of charities that need donations this holiday season.

Animal Charities

If the sad eyes of a puppy needing a home is what pierces the heart of your friends and family members, chances are a donation to an animal charity would please them this year. There are many ways to buy gifts for animals – and if you do it in an individual’s name, he/she gets the satisfaction of saving a dog, cat or other animal.

And the good news is, it fits the bill in the case of gifts for her or gifts for him.

Pasadena Humane Society
You can send someone a contribution to the Pasadena Humane Society and express it to them in one of many ways. You can pay for the donation and obtain the receipt, which you send to your gift recipient in a holiday card. You may also create “tribute giving,” where donations are purchased in memory of someone who has passed away.

 What animal donations can provide is food, shelter, blankets and medical care, plus more opportunities to find adoption families. Many animal shelters and rescue centers have wish lists that you can access online if you’d like to donate items for care. 

 You can also donate a car to an animal charity through Cars2Charities. It’s an option in any cash-saving guide to gift giving, because you don’t have to pull out your checkbook! You’re simply turning the value of your vehicle into support for animal charities. 

 Golda’s House
Golda’s House accepts online donations, plus you can shop from their unique merchandise at their store, which is located at 67802 E. Palm Canyon Cathedral City, California. The hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Check their wish lists online; and know that every purchase goes to support animal rescue, volunteering, and adopting.

 Because it’s a 501(c)(3), all donations to the organization are tax-deductible. You can also donate your vehicle to Golda’s House and receive a tax break.
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

If someone on your list loves environmental causes, you may want to do some “green gifting.” One idea is to donate to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in the Coachella Valley. Not only is it a worthy cause, it’s a way to show your friend or family member that what they care about is important.

 Whether you make an annual donation or a one-time gift, it goes to keep animals fed and housed. Even a minimal gift makes a difference. For instance, $5 feeds a snake for a month; $50 provides a week of carrots for the entire collection of animals; $200 purchases one month of meat for a cheetah; and $1,000 takes care of one month of supplies for many of the animals.

 If that price tag sounds high, what about a car donation to animals through Cars2Charities? It doesn’t involve scraping up cash, and you get to write it off of your taxes.

Support local firefighters through gifts that keep gifting.

Both fire personnel and victims of wildfires need help. You can donate a vehicle through Cars2charities, and again, it gift2offers disaster relief to those in need and improve your tax situation.

The Monterey Firefighters Charitable Foundation per Community Foundation of Monterey can offer you that benefit to your bottom line. If your car donation to disaster relief is made in the name of a person on your gift list, he/she will be proud to be a part of the cleanup effort.

You can donate your vehicle through Cars2Charities to support these charities and many more.
It’s the gift that keeps gifting, while putting in no cash on your part, and minimal effort. We tow away the car you no longer need and handle the entire process for you.

There aren’t many options in the guide to gift giving that are this easy. And you can choose the charity of your choice!

See the site for video details.