When I was a bit younger, the item at the top of my Christmas list each was cash. For many years, it was the only thing on my list (although few actually fulfilled my request). Alas, as I grew up, I decided to try going a different route with my wish list: offer no ideas and just get what I got. That worked fine enough, I suppose, but after reading this article from Two Cents, it may be time to change strategies once again.
In the post, Alicia Adamczyk highlights a few practical gifts that can serve to save you money throughout the year. For example, asking for an Amazon Prime subscription will entitle you to free 2-day shipping throughout the year and could also allow you to save on music and video streaming, replacing the likes of Spotify and Netflix. Speaking of subscriptions, I think my wife and I would make good use of a service like Blue Apron that would allow us to mix up our menus without eating out, although those aren’t exactly cheap themselves. Similarly, cooking at home means utilizing pots and pans that can really add up if you’re purchasing them yourself.
Another idea Alicia doesn’t mention but that occurred to me as I sit here with a blanket over my lap is a space heater that can help you save on utilities. I might also recommend flannel sheets for this time of year along with some warm outerwear, of course. For the summer and for places like Southern California, tower fans (and portable fans if it’s really hot) are a great idea as are durable, filter-equipped water bottles with you can utilize to stay hydrated instead of buying bottled water.
Then there are always gift cards. Alicia notes the increasingly popular MoviePass option on her list, although a regular cinema gift card can also provide a nice night out for relatively cheap (PSA: The Last Jedi is worth your time). Meanwhile, others handier than me might appreciate a gift card to Home Depot or Lowe’s so that they can get what they require for their DIY projects and fixes. You might also want to ask for gift cards to retailers where your money will go further. In other words, perhaps a HomeGoods gift card would serve your better than a Crate & Barrell one.
With Christmas less than two weeks away, it may be too late to send out your practical gift wish list for this year, but it’s certainly something to consider for next year and after. Furthermore, as the gift recipient, you might also want to be strategic in how you can utilize the various gift cards you receive in order to get a greater benefit. This could mean not rushing to redeem that restaurant gift card until its a special occasion or using your Target funds for household necessities instead of electronics and Blu-rays. But, whatever you do, I hope you have a happy holiday and a frugal new year.