Holiday Gift Ideas to Save You Money

Whether you are willing to admit it or not, the holiday shopping season is upon us. The malls are getting packed with people, desperate to find the “perfect present” for each and every person in their lives. What are you going to buy mom this year? What gift would be most appropriate for little Timmy?

Many of us would agree that it is better to give than to receive, but this can put a serious dent in our wallets. Without switching to the aluminum pole of Festivus, how can you keep your finances in check and your spending reasonable while still being able to spread some holiday cheer? Here are five ideas for you to consider.

  • Trade In and Save: I don’t know about you, but I feel like of weird giving someone a used video game as a Christmas present. However, there is a way for you turn those games collecting dust on your shelf into a great gift. In Canada, you can take your used games to Rogers Plus, Blockbuster Video, Microplay, Future Shop, Best Buy, EB Games, and GameStop locations and they will give you store credit in the form of a gift card. This way, the Xbox 360 games that you don’t play anymore can be made into a gift card at these stores. To check the trade-in value of your games, a great resource is It’s not always 100% up-to-date, but it’s still a good guide.
  • Use the Price Guarantee: Why pay retail when you can get a better deal? Many stores offer price match policies that can save you some serious bucks. For example, Future Shop will match any competitor’s advertised price and give you an additional discount equivalent to 10% of the difference. Over the weekend, Walmart was selling Guitar Hero: Smash Hits for $18. Future Shop still had it listed for $70. You’d think that you’d go to Walmart to buy it, but if you bring in the ad, you can get it at Future Shop for $12.80 since there is a $52 difference (hence additional $5.20 discount).
  • Make It Yourself: No gift is more personal than the one that is personalized. This will vary widely based on your specific skill set, but it is very possible to give a fantastic present that you make yourself. This can be as simple as a framed photograph, a piece of artwork, or that infamous knit sweater.
  • Organize a Secret Santa: It can be expensive to buy presents for everyone in your life, so you could try to save some serious money by organizing a secret Santa exchange instead. This will obviously only apply within each of your social circles, since it’s unlikely that Aunt Beatrice will want to buy a gift for Jim from the accounting department at work. You can go digital with the Secret Santa using an online service like Elfster. This way, all parties involved do not have to be physically present to participate.
  • Go Off the Beaten Path: The natural inclination is to go to the biggest mall in town and join the marketing blitz along with everyone else. However, you can find some great gifts in smaller boutique stores and other locations that other people may not necessarily consider. This can go hand-in-hand with the third gift idea, since you can pick up an inexpensive trinket and then personalize it.

It is better to give than to receive, and you may enjoy seeing the expression on Jimmy’s face when you buy him the newest Transformers toy, but don’t forget to give back during the holidays too. There are many people who are less fortunate and they could all use our help.

Do you have any other tips on how you can save some money while shopping for Christmas presents? Feel free to share them with the Beyond the Rhetoric community via the comment form below.