10 practical tips for saving on gifts
From Alvin T. Tabañag
1. Prepare a gifts list, review carefully and remove unnecessary names from the list.  Include in the list what gift you will give to each person and how much is the budget.  
2. Don’t feel obligated to buy gifts if your budget is really tight.  There’s no rule that says you have to give gifts to enjoy Christmas.   A warm and sincere greeting will be as meaningful as a material gift.  
3. Create your own gifts instead of buying them.  It’s usually cheaper, a lot more special and personal, unique, and the recipient will greatly appreciate your effort for taking time to do it.  Examples of gifts you can make on your own are cookies, salads, basket of fruits, bracelets, name tags and photo collage.
4. Agree with family and friends to observe a reasonable amount for gifts.  And everyone should follow it strictly.
5. Give one gift to each family instead of giving a present to every member.  Consider giving one “group gift” (say, from your team or department) to the boss.  
6. Buy gifts that people need or have beneficial use.  For example, if your kid needs a new bag for school, don’t buy him a toy for Christmas.  Give him the bag.   Otherwise, you will spend twice – for the toy and then for the bag.
7. Don’t buy expensive gifts, especially if you’re just trying to impress.  A gift doesn’t have to be expensive to be valuable and useful.  Hunt for simple, unique and inexpensive presents. 
8. Don’t buy gifts that will make you or the recipient spend more.  For example, toys that require batteries.  With continuous use, battery-operated toys will need fresh batteries often.  You can save somewhat if you use rechargeable batteries, but still, that’s additional spending.  
9. Give the gift of service.  Donate to charity.  Volunteer your time, talent and treasure to a service organization or charitable institution.  If you get exposed to the poverty and misery of other people, you will probably learn to spend less.  Indulging in luxury will be more difficult when you aware that others have almost nothing in life.
10. Give the gift of knowledge.  A book is relatively inexpensive and it’s one present that the recipient can open again and again.  Sometimes a really good book can be life-changing.  Give them a book that will teach them how to save and manage their personal finances.  Consider giving local books on money management like the bestselling book “Kaya Mo, Pinoy! 12 Steps to Build Wealth on Any Income.”
It may be a cliché, but it will always be true – in gift giving it’s the thought that really counts!  Enjoy your gift shopping!