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Gifting Wisely

“Calculate karo, Khush Raho” – States an advert for one of the ICICI products, I dont remember which. Not very far from truth, that statement. Its always easy to manage your finances when you calculate and budge well in advance. All of us remember birthdays and annivesaries only when we see updates on FB or orkut. Then there is harried running around to buy gifts. In the end, it usually will be an expensive useless gift.

Like i always say, lists are the key. Make a list of all the people that you want to gift and the occasions that you would like to gift them for. Remember you dont have to give gifts for every occasion for everyone. You can choose one special occasion, like an anniversary, a birthday or any other special day.

Plan in Advance – Identify what gifts they would like in advance and make a note. Every June and December, you have various departmental stores selling their wares at a heavy discounted prices. Take advantage of them.

Be creative – You dont have to repeat the same things for everyone. For example dont buy a pack of 10 tees and gift it to all your family. Buy different things for each one.

Personalise – Can you buy a nice coffee mug with the picture of two of you? or their children? I got photo calendars made for each home in my family with some special pictures that i had. It costed me about Rs. 200 per calendar and it will give them happiness through the year.

DIY – Can you make photoframes? Candles? or bags? – is there a great picture that you took? you can print them on the canvas and frame them. Handmade gifts are special. People really appreciate and cherish them. It will make you feel good about giving a piece of you to someone else.

Think Differently – Gifts dont have to be tangible. Can you cook a great dinner? Invite the birthday gal with her closest friends over for dinner. Throw a great anniversary dinner for your friends. Another great idea would be to bake a cake if you know how. I am sure your friends will appreciate the efforts.

Be Unique – Pick up gifts from your travels, you can get some great bargains in flee markets and small craft stores and keep them in your closet. Most of us give out all the gifts once we come back from our travels. Its a good idea to save these gifts for special occasions. It helps to keep an inventory, so you dont give the same gift twice.

Re-gift – There are several items in your closet which you will never use or used before. I recently gave a few sarees that i have never worn to my mother and my Sister in law and was pleased to see how much they liked the stuff i would have never found the time to wear. Jewellary that you no longer wear, or the gifts that you have received, but have no place in your house to keep – Re-gift them wisely for the person who may have a use for it.

Buy Online – Online shopping is definitely cheaper and wiser. For one, you are not getting into an impulse shopping (hopefully) and you will get that delivered at home, saving your gas and other expenses. There are quite a few sites that offer great deals. My personal favorites are perfume2order.com, ebay.in and sifymall.

Sell online – There are many things in your closet, that you bought for someone and it cant be gifted to anyone else? or are there things that you received as gifts that you cannot use? Sell them on ebay. You can make a tidy sum of money that you can add to your gifting budget.

Gifting, one of my friend says, is a necessary evil. I disagree. Gifting is for those warm fuzzies that you get when someone appreciates your gifts. Gifting is fun and you dont have to burn a hole in your pocket to gift all your loved ones.

Wise-Gal’s guide to saving money

I have always been a bad money manager; making un-wise decisions about money is my second nature. “Eternally broke” were the two words that described me perfectly.

Over a period of time, however, i have discovered, you dont have to live frugally or be a miser in order to save money. Its just about making few minor changes in your lifestyle- By that i dont mean, give up on your eating out or stop having fun, like most of the money saving tips suggest you.

Over the period of next few days, i would like share, what i have learnt about money and how to save it without having to give up your little indulgences.

This week, lets look at how to save money while going grocery shopping in Bangalore.

  • If you are in the habit of buying groceries as and when you need it, or weekly, stop that immediately. It is advisable to buy all the groceries you require once a month, except perishables which can be bought weekly.
  • A grandmother’s advise, but time tested and true. Dont go grocery shopping when you are hungry.
  • Make a list of all the things you will need and stick to that. If you must buy something that is not in the list, then check if it is a necessity and it must go in the list for the next month.
  • Save these lists and bills. It will help you compare your expenses month on month and helps budgeting too.
  • Check your grocery lists carefully. Does it contain things like maggie and ready-to-eat foods? Avoid it. It keeps you healthy and wealthy to eat freshly cooked food. Google search to get the recipes for easy-to-cook dishes. You can enjoy the process, eat fresh food and your family will love you for innovative ideas.
  • your newspapers carry with them fliers for various departmental stores every week. Cut out the coupons for discounts if any and save them. It will come in handy when you are going shopping.

These are what I have learnt about grocery shopping. Feel free to add your own ideas to this. Happy Saving 🙂