The art of non-expense gift giving

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The average holiday gift-giver spends nearly $700 on holiday-related expenses according to the National Retail Federation’s 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Action Survey. Whether your set budget for the holidays is higher, lower, or right in line with the national average, you should always try to stay within the limit you set for yourself. If you find you’ve maxed out this year’s gift budget yet still have people left to check off your gift list, the art of non-expense gifting may be your best option.

Money Management International offers insight into the art of non-expense gifting with three ideas that won’t put you over your holiday budget.

Your time. Time is the most valuable asset you have. Whether you dedicate your time to helping your parents or grandparents do repairs around their home, spend time building a better relationship with your spouse, or mentor a work colleague, the recipient will be grateful for the gift of your time.

Free printable gift certificates. Sometimes having something tangible to give is best. Free printable holiday gift certificates let you give an experience (good for one picnic in the park) or an act of service (promise to do all your chores for one week) while still giving you something to wrap, include a card, or stuff in a stocking for the recipient. Free printable gift certificates are actually great to give all year long.

Regift. A regift is a gift you’ve received that you pass along to someone else. While there are some cringe-worthy regifting tales, there are also some heartwarming stories about regifts. Visit for ideas and stories that will help you select an appropriate regift the person you’re giving to will appreciate.

Non-expense gifting is really about giving a gift the recipient will value and appreciate. While not spending money on a gift is frugal, the thought and consideration the gift-giver puts into giving a gift the recipient will appreciate keeps the gift from being cheap.