The following is a guest post by Daphne Stanford, the radio host of “The Poetry Show.”
There are a number of ways to save money during the holidays without breaking the proverbial bank. Ideally, you can also do so with fair trade and sustainability in mind. What are some ways you can honor your friends’ cultural backgrounds?
Read on for a few ideas on how to show your friends and family your appreciation and love while giving back to the planet and your savings account, as well.
Sustainable & Socially Conscious Gifting
The global climate change is one of the foremost issues of our world, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent in the widespread, extreme weather conditions across the world. The abundance of issues related to fair trade, environmental pollution and social unrest can feel overwhelming to process at times.
One way to help is through purchasing a gift made by people from a region you’d like to support. If you have a friend from another country, you might consider finding a gift for that friend that originates from that country or region.
You may have heard of fair trade companies and organizations; if not, the idea is to promote safe and healthy working conditions, protect the environment, and support communities by and businesses by providing producers and suppliers with fair and equitable compensation. Ten Thousand Villages is a company that sources exclusively from fair trade vendors, and they regularly feature budget-friendly items from small companies you can feel good about supporting.
If you don’t go the fair trade route, you can still be mindful of the sustainability of a product by paying attention to the supply chain transparency and sustainability of the company’s you’re considering supporting. According to Maryville University, “Issues like water consumption throughout the supply chain of a product…and use of renewable materials will be key components in the creation and management of supply chains.” A few nationally-known companies that are putting sustainability front and center include REI, IBM, and IKEA.
Homemade & DIY Presents
There are a number of different ways you can simplify your gift giving this holiday season, and one of those ways is through making gifts for friends and loved ones.
If you’re creative and adventurous, you could try your hand at making something like:
- Homemade lip balm
- DIY terrarium kit
- Basket of fresh produce (You can do this in a more sustainable way by signing up to your local CSA!)
- Homemade infused syrups
It’s practically guaranteed they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, as well as the unique nature of the present—not to mention the fact that it takes much more time and effort to make this kind of gift than it does to pick something out at the store or online.
Holiday Saving and Spending
If the thought of gift giving makes you nervous, you might try saving more money in preparation for the holidays next year. If you set a savings goal for next year, starting now, you will feel much less stressed, come November 2017.
You might also try a different approach to handling your money, when you go out: I have a friend who withdrew a set amount in cash, each week, while transferring what she wanted to save into her savings account. She found that it was much easier to budget and remain conscious of her spending habits when the money had to leave her hands—as opposed to taking out a credit/debit card, every time, and swiping it without being visually reminded of the amount she was spending.
Another way to ensure you will be able to afford all your holiday expenses is to take up a side hustle on evenings or weekends to supplement your main source of income.
Here are a few side hustle ideas you could pick up:
- Driving for Uber or Lyft
- Renting out part of your house via Airbnb or VRBO
- Selling hand-crafted creations on Etsy or eBay
- Dog walking
Your time is valuable, so be sure to research the positives and negatives of each type of income before jumping in. You want to make sure it’s worth the extra time and effort.
There are a variety of ways to use our talents and resources, but the most important thing we can share with our loved ones is time, so let’s try to fill that time with meaningful experiences.
Have you thought about how to give your time and energy to those less fortunate?
Consider participating in a holiday toy or food drive at a local shelter or donation center. Try to be patient with people dealing with extra holiday stress. And remember to smile: it will all be over in a month or so.
Daphne Stanford hosts “The Poetry Show!” on KRBX, her local community radio station, every Sunday at 5 p.m. A writer of poetry, nonfiction, and lyric essays, her favorite pastimes include hiking, bicycling, and good conversation with friends and family. Follow her on Twitter @TPS_on_KRBX.