Sunday, 18 November 2012

Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are a great way to put together a series of smaller items on which you've saved money into one larger gift that has a value altogether that is greater than the sum of it's parts.  Here are some great ways to save money on gift baskets:
Saving on the container
  • Get the basket for free by re-gifting or re-cycling a basket or container you already have.  If you don't have anything appropriate of your own, ask family and friends, and see what you can come up with. 

  • If you can't get a basket for free, baskets and containers can also often be found very cheaply throughout the year at yard sales if you're planning ahead.  If you have your heart set on one new, I recommend the Dollar Store, but go early in the season as the best designs or shapes/sizes often go fast.

  • Think outside the basket.  Consider using a pretty box, a flowerpot, a cookie tin, a (new) wastebasket, or other type of container for the basket.  Many of these could be re-used or purchased very cheaply at the Dollar Store.

  • Upcycle your containers to give them a fresh look.  Sometimes things are sitting in our basement because they're outdated or not to our taste, and so we don't want to use them.  Same with some items that go on clearance because they're not a colour anyone wanted. But a touch of spray paint, a different ribbon, or covering a box in gift wrap can give a whole new look.  (Just don't spend more money on fixing up the item than it would cost you to buy a new one!)
Saving on the contents
  • Make it yourself.  Homemade gifts and goodies can be low cost, but high value due to the labour and love that go into them, not to mention their uniqueness.  You don't have to make an entire gift basket of all home-made items ... but slipping in one or two home made things can add a special loving touch while also saving you money.

  • Buy on sale.  Watch for sales and buy items when their cost is low.  Specialty coffees and teas for example, can be costly, but if you pick them up when they are on sale (and use a coupon if you can!) You can save a lot. 

Women's Gift Basket created by a fellow couponer. 

 Basket $2,  Wrap $0.50,  Bag at the back $0.50,
Skintimate shave gel $0.46,  Dove body wash $0.99
 The rest were samples
  • Take advantage of freebies.  Many companies offer free promotional samples of their products throughout the year.  If you pay attention through the year, and register online for these free samples (some full-size and some sample size), you can keep them and then when it nears Christmas time see how you can group them together to form the basis of a gift basket.  Many of the samples that would work well for gift baskets are health and beauty related (Olay cleansing lotions, Neutrogena soap bars, etc), but you can also get samples of food items such as herbal teas, instant coffees, and flavoured coffee whiteners.

  • Increase your budget per basket by making it a combined gift for a couple, or even a whole family.  For example, if your per-person budget worked out to only $20 per person, you can probably create a gorgeous gift basket for a couple for only $30, and still come out with $10 left in your budget to allocate to spend someplace else.  You can also create gift baskets for a whole family.  Consider a theme such as games night, and include a board game or two, some popcorn and candy, and some hot chocolate.
Have any good gift basket ideas of your own?  Please share in the comments below, or come visit us at the Debt Free Christmas Facebook Group to interact with others and catch more deals and suggestions.


  1. IKEA has flower pots for $3.99 which work great. Right now they have red pots which would look great for Christmas. I was able to get some pink and green pots for half price at the end of the summer. Also the ribbon is on sale at Michaels craft store. The wrap I get at the Dollar Store.

  2. For small gift baskets/bags this year I'm going to use some clear cellophane bags I found as loot bags in the party section at Walmart. They were in a package of 20 for about $2 or less. They will fit a package of flavoured coffee and some chocolates for teachers, Guide leaders, etc.