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3 Affordable Alternatives to Store-Bought Gifts this Christmas

In addition to being incredibly stressful, gift-buying during Christmas time can also break the bank for a lot of people. Thankfully, if you’re running out of gift ideas and are on a tight budget, there are still easy and affordable alternatives to store-bought presents that can help you save.

Do you immediately think of material items when it comes to picking Christmas presents for your loved ones? If so, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Not only are physical presents pricey, they also tend to miss the mark. According to a 2015 Rakuten Shopping Secrets survey, more than a third of the Singaporeans surveyed didn’t like their gifts, and many people (44%) gave items they received to someone else, or just threw them away. So, this year, rather than spending money on physical goods that might end up being underappreciated anyways, why not consider the following affordable alternatives to store-bought gifts, all costing less than S$100?

Gift Experiences Where You Can Spend Time Together

One of the key reasons people buy material gifts as opposed to experiences is that they think material things last longer than experiences, and therefore, bring more happiness. However, research proves otherwise: our overall satisfaction with material things diminishes with time, while satisfaction with experiences increases. Additional research shows that we can also enjoy a boost in wellbeing from life experiences and consider them a better investment than material goods in the long-run.

Fortunately, there are many experiences you can gift to a loved one that cost less than S$100. In many cases, you may even be able to afford 2 tickets so you can enjoy the experience together

Perhaps more crucially, experiential gifts are also more likely to be social; you can often share in the experience as well–though expenses will be higher since you’ll need to pay for two tickets instead of one. Nevertheless, remember that you’ll also be deriving direct value since you’ll be having fun, too. Those on a budget can still enjoy an experience with their friend by opting for less expensive options, like a culinary lesson at ABC Cooking Studio, where the cost for two people (S$70) is less than the price of a leather-crafting workshop at Crafune for one (S$89). You can also benefit by keeping an eye out for limited time offers on activities on Fave, a daily deals company that acquired Groupon Singapore.

Make A Donation To Charity In Your Loved One's Name

Making a donation to charity on behalf of your loved one can not only restore the idea that the holidays are about caring for and helping others, but also serve as an elegant solution to finding a gift for someone who already "has it all." To ensure that your recipient will be delighted with your charitable donation on their behalf, be sure to pick a cause that he or she supports.

Thankfully, there are many charitable organisations in Singapore, ranging from conservation non-profits (like Animal Concerns Research & Education Society and WWF) to those that support children and seniors in need (like Club Rainbow and Lions Befriender, respectively). Charity donations are also tax-deductible, so if you have your recipient’s personal information, you can help them save on taxes, too.

Set Your Recipient Up With a Thoughtful Gift Card

If you don’t know exactly what your loved one wants for the holidays, consider giving them a gift card to a retail store they frequent. This option is particularly useful for the picky friends and family members; they can now pick out their own gifts, so you can be sure your present for them won't be re-gifted or go to waste.

Popular merchants allow consumers to purchase gift cards with starting values as low as S$5, allowing you to select an amount that fits your budget

Everybody goes to the grocery store, so if you’re really at a loss, the NTUC gift card is a great option. Also, given that you can choose the amount you’d like to gift them with, this gift can be quite affordable. If you're looking for further savings, you can keep a lookout for discounted gift cards (and vouchers) on Carousell.

Make Holiday Shopping a Bit More Rewarding Overall

Whatever you ultimately decide to give as a gift, remember that the thoughtfulness of the gesture is more important than the cost. A very expensive material gift may not be as valuable to your loved one as sharing an experience, or even just giving them the opportunity to choose a present for themselves. Nonetheless, to ensure you’re making the most of your gift-buying, be sure to use a rewards credit card. The miles or cashback you earn can offset the gift's cost. Several credit cards also come with 0% interest instalment plans, which also make it easier to pay for larger purchases over time without added expense.

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