6 Gift Buying Hacks For When You're On A Budget, Because Special Occasions Don't Have To Be Expensive

If you're someone who loves giving gifts, there is nothing better than seeing someone's face light up when you know you've absolutely nailed it. But even if you're tight on money, you don't have to lose out on making someone's day with the perfect present; there are plenty of gift buying hacks for when you're on a budget that will keep you, your recipient, and your wallet happy, all at once.

It's true that money doesn't buy happiness, but there are definitely times when you can feel pressured to splurge on fancy presents or expensive nights out. While everyone should absolutely spend their money the way they feel the most comfortable, sometimes the pressure to spend a certain amount of money in a certain way can bring about a lot of extra stress — especially when the money simply isn't there to spend.

But that's what these budget friendly gift buying hacks are for. If you're willing to do some planning, put in some research, and be creative, there is absolutely no reason you need to skip out on making someone feel special or celebrating a loved one because you are low on money. In fact, being creative with your gifts may just make them feel even more special. And at the end of the day, isn't that what gift giving is all about?

1. Plan Way Ahead For Holidays

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As with pretty much everything to do with money, planning is key. If you know you have major milestones coming up, like a graduation or an anniversary, it's well worth it to plan ahead on your gift buying. This gives you more of an opportunity to do price comparisons and find sales and coupons. It also gives you more time to assess what the person already has, so you don't end up buying an item they don't really need in a moment of panic.

2. Explore Your Local Thrift Stores

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Thrift stores are basically a gift buying goldmine. I'm serious: Thrift stores tend to sell all sorts of things, ranging from clothing to accessories to books, movies, and home decor. While what you buy for someone varies on multiple factors, such as if you know their size in a certain item, you can definitely still find lots of cool knickknacks and eccentric decor if you mill around a thrift store for long enough. Personally, I love finding cards and cute stationary at thrift stores and using that along with gifts. Unique little touches can go a long way!

3. Create Your Own Scavenger Hunt

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Whether you're gift planning for a family member, friend, or partner, if someone has an adventurous spirit, a scavenger hunt can be the perfect gift. Plan one that goes around your city, or strategically create one to fit at a local museum or aquarium when they have free or low admissions days. You can really go all out, including making a map, writing out hints, and creating prizes.

4. Research Your Discount Options

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Do you have a student ID? If so, you probably can get a discount at a lot of places in your area. If you're a member of the armed services, the same rule generally applies. Heck, sometimes you can even get discounts for events or purchases because of a certain credit card you hold. When you're looking to make a purchase, it's never a bad idea to do some background research and determine where you can get the best deal.

5. Cook Your Favorite Restaurant Meal At Home

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If you want to treat someone to a nice meal, but their favorite restaurant is a little pricey for you to splurge on, there is nothing wrong with making something at home. Depending on your relationship, you could even invite friends or family members over to enjoy a nice meal as a group celebration. Or, if you're looking for romance, cooking at home may allow you to strategically grab a nice bottle of wine or ingredients for a decadent dessert while you're at it.

6. Go To Your Local Flower Market

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Want to treat someone to a lovely bouquet of flowers? Check out your local flower market. Depending on your area, this might its own thing, or it might be combined with your local farmer's market. Flower sellers tend to have fresher flowers than the supermarket, and many sellers will allow you to customize a bouquet to your own liking. This is also a great way to support local businesses!

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