Sometimes, for less than the price of individual gifts, you can give a group or family gift. This could be something like a basket full of movie snacks, popcorn and classic films on DVD or actual movie tickets for a family of movie buffs or a basket full of football-themed snacks and favorite team gear for football fans. Annual passes or memberships to local attractions such as a community museum, gallery, nature center, garden or even a theme park can make great gifts. Best of all, the recipients can use them at their own convenience and multiple times throughout the year. Another fun (and inexpensive!) gift idea is to give a photo book or photo gift of some kind—such as a photo mug, photo magnet or photo key chain. Many photo sites offer deeply discounted photo books, freebies, and free or discounted shipping deals during the Christmas season, making for great deals on a personalized gift. I also have gifted magazine subscriptions multiple times. There are so many different magazines available, this is a budget-friendly gift idea that works for a variety of people on your gift list. My favorite reason to give a magazine subscription is that the recipients get to receive a gift from you all year long—each time a magazine issue shows up in their mailbox! If your budget is really slim this year, don’t let that discourage you. You can still give the gift of time. What about giving a certificate for free babysitting for your friend who has two young children or an offer to clean a busy friend’s house? Get creative and think about things you could give that would be meaningful but would fit your meager budget. Food gifts are a great option, especially if your recipient has a sweet tooth. And there are a plethora of handmade gifts that are both inexpensive and practical and would be appreciated by anyone. ...think about things you could give that would be meaningful Don’t wait until two weeks before Christmas to do your shopping! The sooner you get started, the better chance you’ll have of finding great deals for everyone on your list. Create a Master List for everyone you need to buy for, and then be on the lookout for deals that would be perfect for him or her. If you go over budget, it’s not a good deal – no matter the price The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is when many retailers will offer some of their biggest sales 34 MTL Magazine / www.mtlmagazine.com of the season. But now, you can even find deals starting Thanksgiving Day. Check ads or retailers’ websites for their best deals and the days those will be available. There are many, many bloggers and online deal forums who are doing a lot of legwork to save you time and money this Christmas. Find a few money-saving blogs, sign up for their email newsletters, and be kept up-to-date with all the great offers each day. You can also check retail coupon databases like RetailMeNot.com for coupons available for local and and online stores you’re planning to shop at. Remember, only purchase those items that are within your budget. If you go over budget, it’s not a good deal—no matter the price!