Save on Gifts Amid Soaring Inflation
Canada may be in a better economic position than most European countries, but 10% food inflation and 18% gas price increases as of October 2022 reflect the fact that many families have been hit hard by rising costs. Here in Toronto, rent has gone up by 23% year-over-year in a city already known for its overpriced apartments, and for homeowners with variable rate mortgages, more of their paycheque may be required to keep the lights on now than when they first bought. And these are just the reported figures; take a trip to the grocery store, for example, and judge for yourself whether the price of food is really only 10 percent higher than last year - especially if you're a carnivore!
All this economic doom and gloom is, to be honest, forecast to continue, and it is causing real pain. That being said, life must go on, and most people who are fortunate enough to have a job (or two) are still springing for the occasional luxury because, well, having nice things is fun and makes life more enjoyable. Personally, I will make household cutbacks and tradeoffs before sacrificing time-honored traditions like entertaining, charitable donations and, of course, gifting. Sure, the frequency/quantity/dollar amount may be lower, but like most people, I refuse to outright break this simple rule:
So if everything is going to be way more expensive for the foreseeable future, but your salary hasn't increased, how can you get the biggest bang for your buck without compromising on that mainstay of etiquette, gifting? Let's look at some ideas.
6 Pro Tips For Saving Money on Gifts This Year
Inflation doesn't have to turn you into Scrooge! There are great ways to save on buying gifts - some of them you already know, but some of them may be unexpected.
1. Don't ship anything larger than an envelope. We go to the post office a LOT, and it's always depressing to see someone trying to send a sweater to England and being told it will cost $120 in postage and take 4 weeks (real figures). Shipping gifts these days will severely cut into your gifting budget. Freight costs have soared; you are only accustomed to free shipping because companies like Amazon own their own carriers. Our average shipping cost is $19 per parcel, of which we pass a flat rate of $14 on to you - without artificially inflating our product prices to cover the shortfall.
2. Now that you've covered all your long-distance gift recipients with gift cards or digital gifts that do not require shipping, you can focus on the locals. And nothing shows you care like making your own custom gift basket based on your loved one's likes. I started banging on about this years ago when grocery stores began stocking gourmet holiday gift baskets containing a few tasty treats. You can make your own using just about any container, including a salad bowl or serving platter, and stuffing it with non-perishable items like really good Italian oils and vinegars, Colombian coffee or French chocolate, at a fraction of the price. It doesn't have to be food or spa-themed, either, though these are the most common types of baskets. What about an activity basket for someone who likes reading, drawing and puzzles?
3. Find a closeout store. I live in Scarborough, where warehouses and outlets abound. Sure, these stores aren't necessarily aesthetic to shop in - long lineups, chaotic aisles, tons of cheap things you don't want or need - but that doesn't mean they don't contain plenty of diamonds. It may be awkward to buy kids' toys, puzzles and activity kits when there's a tower of hideous clocks to your left and several clearance wood chippers to your right, but the deals simply can't be beat.
4. Share a subscription. While a subscription box to a quality retailer may indeed be the perfect gift, it's also really pricey. But what about the subscriptions you already have? You can download and print out a pretty gift certificate with your Disney Plus number on it for a family with young kids, divvy up your monthly haul of specialty coffees or high end cosmetics, or even give a free Hello Fresh box to a friend - it was the best gift I ever got in 2021, and it didn't cost my friend a dime (yes, I'm a Hello Fresh convert now, and never would have indulged if not for the initial freebie).
5. Re-gift with abandon. Did your girlfriend just admire a fascinating book on your shelf, your exotic seashell collection, or a gorgeous dress in your closet you wore once at a boat cruise and haven't been able to fit into since? It may be a stretch for some people to countenance giving away something that's technically used, but using your judgment, it's entirely possible if it's in mint condition. The key is to not pretend the gift is new off the shelf. When your friend expresses delight at her new necklace, fess up that you paid attention and are gifting her a cherished item she now loves more than you do.
6. Give an experience, i.e. a memory. Plan a special movie night with great snacks and wine, pack a picnic basket with their favourite foods and book ferry tickets, try a breakfast boat cruise (hot weather activities are fine in winter, now you have a standing summer date!) spring for the skate rental and hot chocolate at a beautifully lit rink... the possibilities are endless. You can make a photo book of the experience after using a service like Shutterfly, so they never forget your special friendship.
Ready for Easy, Affordable Gifts?
There will always be a time when you just need a really nice gift, delivered on time, without breaking the bank. Our wellness gift baskets, full of great handmade natural products like bath salts, bath bombs, rich creams and body scrubs, remain affordable despite inflationary pressures, and offer a high degree of customization. Or you can buy individual items, like artisanal soaps, a la carte and package them yourself for even more savings. We even have spa accessories like Himalayan salt tea light holders for the ultimate relaxation, at great prices!
Hang in there. Inflation is temporary, but your generosity of spirit never goes out of style. Happy gifting, 2023!