December Reading Roundup

By: Kaitlyn Farley · December 05, 2022 · Reading Time: 4 minutes

Getting ready for the holiday season can be stressful. And the most stressful part for many of us? Deciding how many people you can actually afford to give to … and then what to actually give those folks! No matter if you’re stumped on how to give to family members, friends or even a charity, we’ve got ideas on how to narrow down your gift-giving list and decide exactly what to give, all while protecting whatever (and however!) you decide to give this year.

Deciding whom to give to

Holiday gift-giving budgets can add up, and fast! The best way to control your gifting when you’re celebrating the holiday on a strict budget
is to make a list of people you plan on giving to this year. Making a list can save you some holiday stress since you won’t have to rush at the last minute, and can help you avoid overspending and starting the new year in deep holiday debt.

If your giftee list is starting to look a little pricey, take a deep breath, step back, and re-evaluate. Will your co-worker truly be offended if they don’t receive something? Should you focus just on immediate family? Can you choose one less charity this year? Or perhaps you could save money by splitting the cost (and credit) of a gift with a mutual family member or friend. And if some of the people on your gift list happen to share a home, you can even consider purchasing a single “household” gift for everyone to enjoy.

Selecting what to give

Once you have your giftee list, the real work begins: deciding what to give people. Setting a budget that works for you and your money situation is key. And then you must decide whether to purchase simple items like keychains or hunt for more thoughtful gifts such as personalized drinking glasses. Let personal relationships and circumstances guide your shopping decisions, such as purchasing something for a white elephant gift game
versus buying something for your mother. The best gifts are often those purchased with much thought and effort, but don’t discount the ease of simply purchasing a gift card.

As you decide what to give, you may also want to consider more non-traditional gift ideas. For instance, you could spend time with family and friends by hosting a party
instead of giving gifts. Or you could even make it a potluck and have the dishes your guests bring be considered as the “gifts.” Another route may be to gift stocks
, which may end up paying dividends (literally!) for your giftee in the long run.

For many, charitable giving
is a holiday tradition. You could also consider gifting money in their name to a charity close to your giftee’s heart. Or you could budget to give to charity yourself, adding the charity to your giving list as well. If you opt for the latter, note that if money is tight, there are other ways to pay it forward
by spending time volunteering rather than actual money.

Choosing how to give

If you’re giving physical gifts, you may want to consider how you plan on presenting that gift. Splurging on expensive holiday cards and wrapping paper could really break your gifting budget. To save some cash, you may want to consider either hitting up your local dollar or discount store or buy items in bulk for a discounted price if you have a lot of wrapping to do. Gifting gift cards? You may be able to get some serious cash back if you purchase them with your credit card.

For those looking to give to charity, it may be worth your while to set up a fundraising bank account. This is especially true if you’re getting donations from multiple people or if you plan on saving money over time and need somewhere to park your savings. If you plan on giving physical goods, you may want to consider searching your home for useful items in good shape. For instance, you could consider donating some gently used clothes
to a local homeless shelter.

Protecting your giving

Whether you’re planning on purchasing gifts online or giving to charity, it’s essential that you protect your gifts from fraud … and taxes! During the holidays, bad apples often come out and try to rip off unsuspecting online shoppers with fake e-commerce websites and other scams. You may want to familiarize yourself with common tricks so you don’t become a victim this holiday season.

If you’re giving to charity, you should double-check if your end-of-the-year charitable donations are tax deductible
or not. Doing so can help you get your own gift back come tax season! And if you’re gifting a large amount of money, stocks, or any sort of donation, you may want to triple-check if you’ll be required to pay a gift tax. Having knowledge of tax rules and limitations can help you avoid any surprise tax bills in the new year.

Around the Web: Prepping for the New Year

Already thinking about 2023? We are, too! We searched the web for more tips on dealing with holiday debt, how to keep your new year goals, and even more holiday and new year tips:

•   Why Hair Dryers, Other Popular Gifts Are Surging In Price This Holiday Season

•   The Cure for your Holiday Debt Hangover

•   How to Make (and Keep) Your New Year’s Resolutions

•   How to attack your holiday debt: 8 strategies to get you back on track

The Takeaway

Planning who to give to, what to give them, and how to give can be a daunting task. However, putting in enough thought and effort can help ensure you keep your budget while spreading holiday cheer.

Need help building up your holiday gifting budget? SoFi Insights®, is a budgeting app that can track your income, set up financial goals, and help you keep tabs on your spending.

Learn more

Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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