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Cash-Strapped: Solutions for Holiday Gift Buying

Vicki Hinze, My Kitchen Table

Written by Vicki Hinze

On December 8, 2015

Vicki Hinze, Cash Strapped, Gift buying solutions

Cash-Strapped Solutions for Holiday Gift Buying 


Vicki Hinze


It’s the holidays and that means along with the traditions, it’s gift-buying time. Family and friends and co-workers and clients; teachers and church leaders, the postman and hairdresser, and all others who work for us all year. The list grows faster than Santa’s beard and that is a problem because many of us are seriously feeling the money pinch.

When we’re strapped for cash, we can still participate. We just have to get creative.

Here are my three favorite tips for meaningful gifts that won’t bust a stretched budget:


  1. Coupons. This is one of my personal favorite gifts. Years ago, my daughter (who had no budget), gave me twenty coupons for Christmas. Each one was good for fetching one cup of coffee on demand. (My office was upstairs and the coffeepot downstairs, so this was a huge gift. I LOVED it.)

santahatCreate coupons for some thoughtful gesture. Something important to the other person that saves them time or money or energy, or relieves them of doing some task they don’t relish. Here are some coupon suggestions:

  • Good for emptying the dishwasher.

  • For doing the laundry.

  • For running to the grocery store.

  • For picking up the dry-cleaning.

  • For mowing or raking the lawn.

  • For gathering the trash.

  • For vacuuming.

  • For cleaning out the fridge.

  • For cleaning the bath or the kitchen.

You know the tasks that this person avoids. Choose one of them, or several.

Coupons are great for co-workers, too. Think about a mundane task your co-worker doesn’t enjoy or would love to not have to, and coupon it!

Remember, you can give a number of coupons, and they can be the same or each one good for a designated task.

Coupons can be as simple or fancy as you like. From note squares to dressy paper you decorate or postcards. What they are on won’t matter as much to the person who receives them as knowing you noticed something personal about that person and did them a kindness.

  1. Group Secret Santa. Suggest your group do Secret Santa gifting rather than everyone buying a gift for everyone else.

    santagloveDraw names and buy one gift each, setting a reasonable limit. Some suggest a theme: Whatever the gift is, it must have an angel on it. Others limit the variety. All gifts must be chocolate. All gifts must be socks.


The variety is amazing—and fun.

  1. Craft item. A pretty jar filled with nuts or candy or potpourri or soaps.

    santabootA small basket filled with any inexpensive item that useful to the receiver. Writers, for example, love office supplies. Post-it notes, flags, colorful clips. Try an inexpensive box of stationary and a paper punch that does cutouts in neat shapes. There are literally thousands of ideas for craft projects that are easy and inexpensive that will mean a great deal to the person receiving them. Peppermints in a jar with a bright red bow are a big favorite.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the practical. Gift cards for groceries, gas, or the drug store. Things we all use all the time.

Or if the thought of being practical doesn’t appeal, consider contributing toward a treat like a movie ticket or dinner out. A manicure or a haircut.

Remember, it is the thought that counts. If you pause and think, you can be creative and come up with specific gifts for specific people that will be meaningful to them. That’s the objective. Not the price of something or breaking your budget.

And the generosity of spirit in doing a thoughtful kindness for another is truly a gift that will be remembered long after the season has passed. Maybe, forever, because it was special to them from someone who took time to know what was special to them.


Vicki Hinze, The Reunited Hearts Collection, USA Today Bestselling Author

 © 2015, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Bride, Shadow Watchers, Book 1. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Subscribe to Vicki’s Newsletter.


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