Good morning, savvy savers! For Day 3 of this months No-Spend Challenge, I’d like to share one of the ways I have found to cut back on my holiday spending, and that is with the gift of experience gifts for the kiddos!
Around here we like to give experiences as gifts because we aren’t ‘stuff’ kind of people; I don’t like to stare things and beyond this, months after the season, As well, after having spent half of this year painstakingly going over and re-over the Kon’Mari cleaning method, I can admittedly state that I am anti-clutter, and intend for my home to stay as such! In fact, I often tell people when they ask what someone in our home would like for the holidays or birthdays, I graciously request that everyone be taken out on the town for an activity and to lunch. I mean isn’t a quiet home a gift for me too?
What’s really nice about experience gifts, from my own personal experience, is that these gifts tend to cost at least half of what traditional gifts (especially toys) cost, will be remembered long after the experience is over, and often snowball into “traditional gifts,” where family members are encouraged to repetitively give the same experience gift each year, revealing them of the task of guessing what overpriced, underutilized gift someone in our family will want for the holidays! In any event, here’s a list of ideas that your kiddos, young and old, can’t break, fight over, and that will last longer than Christmas Day:
- Zoo pass: This time of year many zoos will slash the price of 2016 zoo passes by half or more, and since passes can be further discounted in packs of four or more, consider having several adults go in on the price to make each ticket affordable and reusable!
- Skating rink passes: Just like with Zoos packs of tickets, including those to sleep-ins will be reduced in price, and some even come with discounted food vouchers.
- Lessons (art, dance, karate, guitar, swim, etc.): Consider giving the gift of beginner lessons, in the amount of a month of lessons to various activities, to see just how interested the kiddos might be in an activity; this also applies to adult painting and dancing classes as well. The nice thing about this gift is that most centers offer two-complimentary lessons, which tacked onto your two remaining weeks of lessons, should score you a month pass on the cheap! Be sure to check out Groupon, Living Social, and Amazon Local which always have holiday deals on local activity events.
- Children’s museum pass: It goes without saying that the world is simply not as spectacular without art, natural science, or applied sciences. Why not give kiddos of all ages the opportunity to check these events out later on during the year. Consider buying Spring Break passes, which are always slashed in price during December, and storing the tickets away for a raining Spring day? Also, Bank of America this month will be offering free tickets nationally to several museums, and so you can score free, digital tickets perfect for gift giving this holiday season!
- Day Ski pass: Know someone with a penchant for the powdery crests of snow? Did you know that this time of year you can score a free kiddo ski pass, along with free lesson voucher, and often you can snag one for yourself as well? Be sure to pick one up now, and use these passes for the snowy days ahead in Winter, such as MLK Day!
- National Parks: Did you know that on every Federal Holiday the National Park Service allows free admittance to parks? Or if you are a Veteran or Active Military (thank you for your service, by the way), you can also score free passes as well? Consider giving the kiddos an IOU for later in the year for a park of your choice, which will give you many months to plan a trip on the cheap around your IOU.
- Aquarium pass: Like with zoo and museum passes, now if the time to look for deeply discounted aquarium passes for this coming summer. Look for prices well below half now!
- Free or Cheap Gift card for their favorite restaurant: Consider taking your favorite relative out for a meal! Restaurant.com always features December deals for local eateries, often hosting certificates as low as $5.00 for a $25.00 certificate (tax and gratuity not included). Also consider cashing out your Swagbucks and iBotta savings for gift cards to Starbucks; one of my favorite gift ideas if pairing free Starbucks gift cards with outings to look at lights for the kiddos on my holiday list. This gift gives parents much needed time to themselves, and gives the kiddos a break during the stressful holiday season from their parents too!
- Water park pass: Consider giving the kiddos, and yourself, a summer water park pass for up-to 75% in the month of December! Pair this gift with a few kitschy things from the dollar tree, like a lea, sunscreen, and flamingo toy, and summer tote bag, and you are set for a summer of fun on the cheap!
- Summer Movie clubs: Calling all movie buff families! Consider giving the gift of summer movie club passes for the kiddos later in the year. Regal Movie Theaters around the country sell not just in May, but also in December, $1 Summer Movies passes, per film, for kids this summer for the blockbuster 2016 Summer season. This begins in May or June, depending upon the theater. As well, Cinemark theaters will be running one children’s movie per week (rated G or PG) for 10 weeks during the summer. Tickets are $1 per person per movie, but you can buy a bundle in advance and pay $5 for all 10 movies! That’s 50¢ a movie! Showtimes and movie titles will vary by theater, so consider buying summer movie packs for this kiddos in December!
So, those are some of my favorite budget-friendly gifts for the kiddos of all ages this holiday season. If you also give such gifts I’d love to hear about it below.
Here’s to saving,