Thrifty Little Tip... Time-Expensive Gifting

>> 8.05.2009

If you're like me, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed with all the people in your life having weddings, babies, birthdays, graduations, and other special events in which they might be expecting a gift. It's so tough trying to make them feel supported or loved but stay on budget at the same time. What is a budget conscious person to do in these situations? Go less expensive with the physical give and more expensive with the time and effort you put into it. Your time is a valuable resource and when used creatively, the recipient will see how expensive the gift really was!


Here are some great time-expensive gift ideas to get you started:

whip it up in the kitchen
Once for a birthday party, I brought some special dog cupcakes to my Yorkie-loving friend. They were extremely time expensive, but were a big hit at her party. She even froze one so that she could keep it and show it to people later.
This gift is best done when the gifter goes overboard. Don't just surprise the special person with one meal, but have breakfast in bed followed by a packed lunch and dinner ready after work--- each day for a week.


get crafty
Weddings can get really expensive for the guests and their wedding party members! For a wedding I went to a few months ago, one bridesmaid really outdid herself with a time-expensive gift. She organized all of the bride's close friends in making a scrapbook. She gave us all paper on which we added pictures and stories about our memories with the bride then drove all over town collecting the pages. The bride really appreciated the book and honestly, when was the last time you saw a set of dishes or a toaster make someone cry?

Gifter beware... handmade gifts can easily turn into tacky "I can't even return this and I have to find some place to use it" gifts. Before giving a homemade craft, do the Etsy test: would you buy it if you saw it online? This doesn't mean that a crafty person can't give a crafty gift- just find an online tutorial with easy to follow steps.

plan an adventure
For another friend's birthday, I bought her a cute all weather hiking shirt (on sale) then I mapped a great hiking route, packed all the food/ gear we needed, and took her on a surprise day trip (we had plans for the day anyways). I had also invited a few of our friends which made the trip especially memorable and fun.



the dogs came along too!

There are countless free and fun things that you could incorporate into a day of fun. Just make sure that you're the one taking care of all the details!



go the distance
My youngest cousin recently graduated from college and I really wanted to show him my support for such a great accomplishment. Unlike many other family members, I didn't have the funds to just write out a large check so that he could go buy furniture and other things he needed for his first apartment alone. I quickly realized that it was a perfect situation for me to give him a great time-expensive gift. While everyone else in the family was able to contribute monetarily, I was able to give him a great start by taking time off of work so that I could drive with him to his new home a few hours away and help moving become a much smoother transition.


This type of gift can range from driving across the state to help a friend celebrate a bachelorette party to driving across town to pick up your husband's favorite sandwich. They won't believe that you would go so far just to show that you care.

Do you have any time-expensive gifts that you like to give?

6 comments:

Julia @ Hooked on Houses August 5, 2009 at 4:13 PM  

Love these ideas. Sometimes a creative gift like this is the most memorable, too!

Audra August 5, 2009 at 6:52 PM  

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog! I also give time-expensive gifts, offering a free night of baby-sitting to my sister so I can spend time with my nieces, baking bread for a friend who is single, hemming pants for a bachelor and taking time to play video games with my son (I loose EVERY TIME!). I also have taken time off work to spend with my daughter while she moves, help friends pack as they move out of town, sit with a friend after surgery. These gifts do not have a price tag, but they are priceless to the recipients.

I love your blog, will visit often!

RainyDaySaver August 5, 2009 at 7:04 PM  

Excellent ideas -- and I love the Yorkie cupcake!

And thanks for visiting my blog =)

thereddeer August 5, 2009 at 8:07 PM  

I always like to bake for my gifts - normally cookies, cakes or cupcakes.

dink2sink August 5, 2009 at 11:00 PM  

Yes, I love the scrapbooking/memory book thing. Presents like those mean the most.

For my husband's 21st birthday (we were just dating at the time), we had to drive my sister-in-law's car across a few states, and to make the trip fun I got 21 presents. Most were super duper cheap, but each one correlated to a song, and we listened to the mix CD on the drive. The final gift was a karaoke machine, but I think he liked the act of opening all the presents more!

Slinky September 14, 2009 at 5:54 PM  

I almost always go time-intensive rather than expensive since I'm a crafty person in a family of crafty people with some crafty friends. Which is nice, because it's totally appreciated.

Best gift ever (although not my idea): For my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary, we made them a quilt. Each person in the family was given a square to decorate however they wanted to represent themselves and then give back to us. There was everything from iron-ons to a gorgeously detailed hand embroidered oboe by my aunt. Now here's the best part. My grandmother used to do a lot of sewing for her kids when they were growing up. My mum raided my grandparent's basement and found all the old scraps. We used these to make borders around the edge and in between the squares. My grandmother was in tears for ages after she opened it, and everyone had a ton of fun looking at it and saying, "Hey! Those are my pants from when I was 5!"

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