Give gifts that cost nothing

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Gifts of time and talent are pleasing to recipients and easy on the wallet
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The giving of gifts that cost little or nothing is a timely trend

The giving season is ongoing, all year long. Couples and singles, too, are looking for ways to maintain a pleasant rapport with those who will be anticipating gifts on any of the special occasions that arise throughout the year. If only there was a way to give gifts that cost nothing. If only one could present gifts that cost nothing but mean much more than gifts purchased with oh-so-many of one’s hard-earned dollars. Maybe there is a way to please the folks that mean the most, without stretching one’s wallet until the snap is heard ’round the world—or even worse, down at the credit bureau. Consider giving away gifts of time or talent. The few expenses entailed in the presentation of such gifts may relate to attractively boxing the gift. You may spend a little money on festive wrapping for the gift box or envelope. In some cases, the purchase of an attractive journal with blank pages might be needed as a tracking aid, if your gift is one that includes chore-doing on behalf of several gift recipients. Gifts that cost nothing go a long way if the giving is preceded with forethought and laced up with a festive dollop of creativity.

Gifts of time

Time is money, so the old proverb professes. Today, it seems no one has enough time to do the basics of everyday life, let alone the extras. Work takes a goodly portion of the day. Hobbies are tucked in sideways. An hour at the gym is a luxury too often reduced to a small snippet of personal time spent at home. But is the time spent taking a bubble bath, or listening to some classical relaxation music? Chances are it is spent doing something that’s not fun—something mundane such as juggling the checkbook or cleaning the woodwork. Gifts that cost nothing can be the most valuable when given to someone who is a chronically busy body. Consider giving gifts of time. They are gifts that cost nothing, yet they mean more than gold to someone whose time is short. There are many ways to give gifts of time.

• Give vouchers for blocks of babysitting time
• Make up certificates for some afternoons of grass cutting
• Compose a letter that is redeemable for snow shoveling
• Make up a blank shopping list to be filled in and then do the errand
• Present a look-alike deed that offers house sitting at vacation time
• Give facsimiles of laundry tickets and offer to pick up dry cleaning
• Stuff an envelope with leaves and an offer to do some leaf blowing

Gifts that cost nothing but are comprised of offers that save the recipients valuable time are wonderful gifts welcomed by just about everyone in today’s busy society. Offer something someone needs. Introduce them to the latest in room organization systems or build them a bookcase out of reclaimed wood from other projects. Rake leaves. Clean out the refrigerator. Skim the swimming pool. These are gifts that cost nothing. Nevertheless, they are sure to carry lots of weight as wonderful memories for the person on the receiving end of the bounty.

Gifts of talent

Few can afford to give the extravagant gifts they feel their loved ones deserve. It’s easy to ruin one’s credit, when spending exceeds earning. The problem is so extensive that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released some straightforward facts about credit repair. The FTC report is a help to consumers. It also is a gentle reminder—gifts that cost nothing will never take up space on a credit report. Gifts of time will never lead a gift giver to delinquency. Of a similar nature are gifts of talent. Everyone has special skills and abilities. Gifts of talent are among the best of gifts that cost nothing.

• Give a certificate redeemable for tailoring on five garments
• Make up some coupons good for oil changes or lube jobs
• Present a sketch of the recipient’s yard and an offer of landscaping
• Drop off a ladder with a card good for a session of gutter cleaning
• Give a bottle of lotion and include an offer of a back massage
• Give a silky scarf and a voucher for lessons in belly dancing
• Wrap a picnic basket and fill it with your homemade baked goods

The list of occasions that call for gift giving is a long one. Birthdays, weddings and anniversaries take a toll. Add the expense of gifts given during holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the like. Gifts that cost nothing—gifts of time or talent—might be the answer to keeping everyone’s finances under control and spreading a lot of joy at very little expense.

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