Santa’s low cost gift giving

We all know what you buy at the supermarket has a major influence


Another month year is about to come to an end, which means oily rag households will be getting busy planning for the special day. Fortunately the oily rag community has sent through lots of ideas about low-cost gift giving to make Christmas frugal without taking out the fun. Here is a selection of suggestions.


LM from Paraparaumu writes, “A lot of my Xmas gifts came from dollar stores. No one needs to know the price. I bought men’s and women’s perfume for only $6. It was well worth my time and money when you are on very tight budget.”


MD from Auckland says, “We have decided this is the best way to go this Christmas: I have made beach bags for my grand daughters. Cost nothing as I have material scraps at home. As they are teenagers I have included an inexpensive hair bush, lippy, hair grips, and mascara. One granddaughter has made an apron for mum and painted a picture for dad and has hand made pressies for her friends at school. I do all the Christmas baking which includes the cake, mince pies, truffles and stuffed dates. The girls bake biscuits for the neighbours.”


A Wellington reader writes, “I have recently been trawling galas, garage sales and op shops for Christmas pressies for the kids. You can buy fantastic gifts at very reasonable prices. I have bought all my nieces and nephews puzzles and games of their favourite cartoon characters for 20c each and they are still in almost new condition. My nieces are also getting jewellery boxes that were less than 50c each and my son is getting a huge box of Lego we found for $5. Cannot believe how little we have spent so far and the fantastic toys and gifts the kids are getting this year. Have also saved some presents for birthdays too!”


A reader from Whangarei writes, “I save up the rewards on my credit card and only redeem them at Xmas time. So far I have saved about $300. I use them to buy vouchers so whoever receives them can use them in the Boxing Day sales so it’s a win-win.”


M.G. from Hastings says, “Our wider family got together and decided to limit Christmas gifts to a few dollars per person. That way nobody is too disappointed when they don’t get anything flash. So what can you give for a few dollars:

  • Photos with a message printed across them, from digital machines.
  • Photo frame, brought or home made.
  • Plants grown from seed or cuttings.
  • Home made biscuits, cakes, drinks, etc
  • Personalised pens made by printing names (or something more imaginative), on stickers in a small font. Also make a pen holder to go with them.
  • Glue give-away fridge magnets to the back of a small notepad, maybe att ach a photo or calendar to the top to personalise it. You now have a handy shopping list to keep on the fridge.
  • A family favourite is chocolate. Look for a mould that has about a dozen deep individual shapes. Slowly melt chocolate in the microwave to coat the sides of the shapes. When they have set fill with a cold ganache, made by heating 100mls of cream and dissolving 100grms of chocolate into it. This can then be flavoured with peanut butter, liqueurs or honey.
  • Kids love to get a plastic glass full of lollies or lolly kebabs.”


Lots of families have a “make or bake Christmas” – only exchange gifts that have been made or baked by the giver. Start making now – pottery, a painting, a calendar featuring family photos, or print a photo annual (the best photos for 2014 for example), make a family recipe book featuring each person’s favourite recipes, or record your favourite children’s book digitally and send to others to enjoy the story and your narration.


Another favourite is a kids-only Christmas. A reader says they got tired of having the pressure of buying stuff for their adult family members and money was a bit tight so in the interests of keeping things simple and frugal they had a kids-only Xmas.


Check out the various online sale sites. There are lots of sites offering all sorts of cut price things – just google “great deals” or something to that effect and see what appears. Grabone is a popular daily deal site with a minimum of 50% off.


Please send in your favourite tips for frugal gifts so we can share them with others.