The Best Gifts I’ve Ever Received

With the holidays approaching, gift giving is definitely on my mind. I’m excited that this year my family decided amongst the adults to just draw names and give one gift.

I’m pumped not only because it’ll be a nice break for my wallet. (I’ve already spent over $400 on a plane ticket) But also because it allows me to focus on making that one gift great. More on that later. I titled this post; The Best Gifts I’ve Ever Received, not to brag but to demonstrate a point.

The Best Gifts I’ve Received Were Experiences

In my family, every seventh birthday means a trip of your choice (so 7th, 14th, and 21st(Vegas) it stops after that). For my older sister’s 7th birthday we went to Disneyland. My 7th we went to Knotts Berry Farm. For my brother’s 7th we went to a water park.

For our 14th birthdays, we got to bring a couple of friends along for the day trip. My sister again (I think) chose Disneyland. I honestly don’t remember about my brother’s 14th. Just before my 14th birthday, we’d gone on a huge family cross-country road trip, due to its cost my parents explained that a big 14th birthday trip for me wouldn’t be possible.

Not giving up on the idea entirely, instead of some theme park, I asked to go to the Getty Museum (art museums are my happy place). Since admission was free; parking was less than $20, and it was a day trip only requiring buying some lunch. They agreed and I got to take some friends along, we had a blast.

Keep on enjoying life, save some money too.

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Experiences >Material Things

My point is that great gifts don’t have to cost much. The best gifts I’ve received have involved some kind of experience with people I love.

I remember the memories of the Groupon glass blowing and kayaking with my parents. Or that time my sister had to go on a scavenger hunt for her gifts.

I remember those experiences far more than the N*SYNC Christmas album I got when I was a kid (j/k, I still have it and play it every year, N*SYNC 4eva), or what my sister even got on that scavenger hunt for her gifts.

So this year I’m really excited about the gift I’m giving because while it will be small, it will be an experience. It will take some time to put together, but hopefully not a lot of money.

It will involve making lots of stuff, but you know I love that kind of thing. I’d give you guys more details, but my family now knows about my blog, and well, the gift is for one of them. The surprise is meant to be part of the experience. 🙂

Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top

Do me a favor and before you go spending tons of money on gifts, see if you can spend a little less on a memorable experience instead. I’m happy that I will be spending the weekend working on making one of the best gifts possible, on a budget. 😉

What are some of the best gifts you’ve gotten or given? How do you plan to save on gifts this year? Let me know in the comments!

Money tools & resources i recommend

Chime (for saving) works by starting a spending account (takes 5 minutes) and opting into the automatic savings plan. (Learn more about getting started with Chime).  Every time I use the Chime Debit Card it rounds up my purchase to the nearest dollar and puts in in savings. Right now they also offer a double round-up bonus on those savings. All those withdrawals add up over time. Chime is free to use, with no monthly fees. With Chime, you end up saving money without having to think about it.

Qapital (for building savings & reaching money goals) Qapital can help you reach savings goals. Once you have the Qapital App installed and a bank account (or in my case three) connected you set up a goal or goals.  Then you set savings rules for each of your goals. For example, I have a round up to the nearest $2 rule, a guilty spending rule -when I buy Dominos. Qapital is free to useBonus, when you use my link you'll get $5 after your first savings.

Qoins (for debt repayment) When you sign up for Qoins, you connect your bank account and then spend as you normally would. Qoins will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and put that change towards an extra debt payment. Learn more on How Qoins Can Help You Pay Off Debt Faster

SoFi (for refinancing) If you have private loans or your debt to income ratio allows, consider refinancing with a company like SoFi. Learn more about what it's like to refinance with Sofi. Refinancing my bar loan with SoFi ended up saving me over $1,000. Use my link to refinance your student loan and you'll get a $100 bonus.


Liz is a blogger helping people with personal finance and working for themselves. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

  • LOL! N*SYNC! My wife still loves JT!

    I totally agree with experiences. This is why we value vacations so much in our house. Some of the best memories we all have were on those trips.

    • Liz says:

      I was always a JC girl. lol. I’m really excited about the experience gift I’m giving this year. 🙂

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