Families who live frugally find that their perception of needs is minimal. This makes frugal families naturally inclined to be philanthropic. Furthermore, it is also second nature for them to consume far less and have a heightened awareness of the damage done to the environment by our collective mindless consumption. The list of gift ideas for frugal families below focuses on charity/causes related, environment, family, health, and money:
- Gift Cards to Charity: If there is no desire for further material things, in addition to having made the frugal living choice, one way to redirect the generosity of others in the direction of your choosing is to publish the fact that an ideal gift to you is gifts/gift cards made to your favorite charity.
- Environment: If you have a strong stance on unnecessary consumption as a major problem, by all means be bold to gift the DVD “An Inconvenient Truth” to people whom you think are especially unaware of the damage we are causing.
- Health: Family health is generally high in the list for all families and a gym membership is a good choice. The downside though is that it is a subscription style expense and goes against the frugal definition. However, choosing exercise equipment such as treadmill, home gyms, exercise bike, and/or elliptical is a great choice over the long-term. Alternative health remedies is an area that was vastly overlooked as the medical insurance provided by the employer covered basic needs leaving not much incentive to look into the benefits of such. With healthcare costs rising and support from employers diminishing, such options are worth more than a passing glance – Yoga and Tai Chi for general wellness, Acupuncture (pain), Resperate (blood pressure reduction without medicine), Massage Therapy to mention a few have proven benefits and surely there will be someone that you know of that will gain from such a gift.
- Money: Any gift that would increase the value of the item over time would qualify. One idea is to give stock certificates – our previous post details on why it is a great frugal gift. If the recipient has a keen hobby interest (stamps, coins) they would be eligible too. For folks in your family, savings bonds and other fixed income certificates will also work.
- Consumables (Candles, Confectionery, Wine, Flowers etc.): In social situations where it is not appropriate to choose any of the ideas above, gifting something that is consumable is always a safe bet.
- Prepaid Cell phone and VOIP: Prepaid cell phones are a good option when pitted against subscription style services like public telephone service and 2-3 year cell phone subscription plans. The one caveat to look out for is term-limits to cell phone pay cards – typically, if you buy a higher-amount card, you get a higher term limit up to a year. Another option to consider is replacing your landline with VOIP from manufacturers such as Ooma that lets you have unlimited calling in the US for free with no contracts.
- Event Tickets: These are decidedly an environment friendly option especially if you have a clear idea of what the recipient likes and if you can join them it is the icing of the cake.
- Media: DVDs, CDs, etc. are good options for one’s family. The frugal approach however will be to have an expiration date – six months is a good ballpark figure as the odds of enjoying it is inversely proportional with time. There are frugal ways to save money at both ends of the ownership time line –
- Make a choice to purchase media a year after its initial release – on the average, more than 85% of the value of media products is lost in its first year and so you get a big discount upfront, and
- Make it a point to get rid of it by either selling it on Amazon.com or Ebay, or by donating it to a charity or the local library. Doing so, helps the environment and provides an opportunity to realize a little bit of income, and above all helps with limiting the accumulation of useless stuff that is the bane of average American families.
- Technology: Should you decide to make one extravagant gift to your own family this year, buying the buzz in the technology area provides a high. For frugal families who tend to wait out new stuff until they have acclimatized, once a year or so, gay abandon is a necessity to avoid the feeling of always lagging new technology. Buying a Computer, GPS, Video Game Consoles, PDA's, Digital Cameras are all options to consider in this regard.
- Frugal Living – Ten Great Gift Ideas for Frugal Families (Christmas Holiday Shopping Tips).
- Frugal Living – Skiing Story.
- Frugal Choice On Gifts - Giving Stock Certificates.
- Frugal vs Cheap – A definition to go by.
- Frugal Living - Top ten frugal living tips for families.
- Reducing Expenses.
Last Updated: 01/2015.