Cheap Beets Gifts Tip #1: Give a Gift That Can Make a Difference

We didn’t do a lot of gift exchanges last year. The layoff happened only four months earlier, and we were still feeling a little uneasy about how to celebrate the holiday season.

People around us understood. In fact, when I tell people about why I started this blog – to share my stories of our fiscally responsible food budget in the wake of an unforeseen layoff – everyone nods and often replies that their roommate, sister, uncle or they, themselves, just went through, or are going through, a similar ordeal.

Over the course of the next month, I hope to share with you some of the ways we were able to celebrate the holiday season and hopefully inspire you to also think outside the proverbial gift box.

Here’s tip #1: If you would really like to still give a gift this year but your budget is very small, consider making a small donation, in whatever amount you can afford — $5, $10, $18 — to an organization your friend or loved one cherishes. There are so many non-profits and charities that are really hurting in this economic downturn, from your favorite public television station, to your local food kitchen, or Federation, to international organizations like the AJWSOxfam, and the Red Cross. Maybe there’s a synagogue or church your friend loves attending. Maybe they’re very active alumni and would be thrilled if you made a donation in their honor to their university. Whatever the amount, it’s a wonderful way to spread holiday joy without breaking the budget.

My advice is to give it over the phone and insist the organization spend as little as possible on the mailing. Ask if they can send an acknowledgment of the gift over e-mail to cut down on office costs.

Stay tuned to Cheap Beets for more tips for ways to save money during what can be the most expensive time of the year.

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