The Year I Bought Dollar Store Gifts For The Family!

It was late 2010 and Christmas was right around the corner. I was thinking about all the people I had to buy Christmas presents for and how I was going to pay for their gifts. Usually I have a set amount of money that I plan to spend on everyone, then I figure out what I am going to buy for everyone and place the amount for each person in separate envelopes.

2010 was a little different. I had one more year until my mortgage was going to be paid off. I was so focused on paying off my mortgage that I was using some of my fun money to make extra payments. I desperately wanted to get rid of my mortgage and I knew that if I spent money on Christmas gifts, it would delay my mortgage pay off. I know this may sound selfish, but at the time I was just thinking about the mortgage not the gifts. Besides it would only be one year of cheap gifts. The alternative was no gifts, which I thought would have been worse.

So I went to Dollarama to see what they had. I wasn’t expecting anything great, I mean it was Dollarama, a place where I buy toothbrushes, gift bags and birthday cards, none of which I could give anyone as gifts. I saw some cute toiletry gift baskets and thought who doesn’t need toiletries, so that went into the cart. Then I saw some toys for the kiddies, boys love cars, so I picked up a few race cars. They also had some socks, those went into the cart as well.

When I finished, my total was less than $20. That was a deal!

Christmas time came and I told everyone that I was on a tight budget before I gave them their gift. Everything seemed fine until a few weeks later when I heard that one of my family members was complaining about their gift. They knew I purchased it at Dollarama and was not happy! She said I shouldn’t have bought anything at all. I sure thought about it as I said earlier, but I thought something was better than nothing. Whatever happened to being grateful for a gift.

Fast forward to 2012 and that same cousin is still mad about the gift from 2010. She’s slowly coming around, but hasn’t completely. What’s funny is that this was the one person I thought would understand because she paid off her mortage a few years ago.

Oh well, what’s done is done and I don’t plan on buying Dollarama gifts again!

Have you ever bought cheap gifts for friends or family because you wanted to get out of debt?


  1. Michelle says:

    We used to go all out and buy great gifts for everyone, now we've limited it to about $15 for each kid in the family. Definitely has saved us a ton.

  2. Daisy says:

    LOL. Well, it sounds like your cousin needs to get over it. It was two years ago.

    I used to buy huge gifts for everyone, but last year I wasn't making very much money and couldn't really afford it so I didn't get them much – I spent maybe $40 on each person and felt terribly because they spent way more on me.

  3. bogofdebt says:

    I have boughten them from the past and agree with Daisy that your cousin needs to get over it. One time I had so little money that I raided the cabinet and baked things for people. It cost me a lot less to make a cheescake and say Happy Holidays than it would have if I went and got individual gifts.

  4. cmwywec says:

    @Daisy, she's coming around. I feel bad when I spend less on someone then they spent on me as well. I don't plan on buying Dollarama gifts again.

    @bogofdebt Baked goods is a great idea! I've received food as a gift and I loved it! Too bad I'm not the best baker or cook, so I wouldn't give that as a gift.

  5. Frig. I'd have been tempted not to give her anything from there on out. Seriously – it's a GIFT!

  6. I often give cheap gifts :) Maybe, not a dollar store ones but I try to squeeze the most out of coupons and promotions, and usually end up spending $10 for a $40 gift. It's cheap for me at least :) But I'm glad your cousin is moving on slowly. It's such a silly thing to be mad about.

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  8. RichUncle EL says:

    That is one frugal christmas, I actually respect that you got gifts for everybody and did not break the piggy bank, next time do not spill the beans about where you bought the gifts it should avoid you the headaches and problems. Much respect for being a frugal champion.

  9. Alice says:

    I like the idea of these bargain gifts for the budgeted buyer. They are cheap, like these tee pees for $5 but it's the thought that counts and economic wise prevails.

  10. Darryl says:

    Every Christmas, I usually give my friends unique gifts and just like you, I have a set amount of money to spend. I've been buying gifts from Adrenaline and I don't get any complain from my friends. You might want to consider buying here if you want to.

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  12. M Francia says:

    I bought cheap educational toys for my little nephew, and I didn't even have to withdraw cash! Too bad I could remember where I bought them, that's why I've been searching the net for more stores.

  13. Ariana Jae says:

    I always buy cheap gifts, but I put a lot of effort into gift wrapping. They seem to appreciate it, no matter how much they're worth in the market.

  14. Me too, I set aside money for gift-giving! I shopped at Dollarama Christmas, and only spent about $17 because I only have a few gifts to buy. But I also had to buy my niece a communion dress, that's why I'm looking for cheap boutiques. I've found several, but until now I haven't bought from any of them because I'm deciding on what's cheaper. Oh well, I have a few weeks more to decide! Hooray for cheap gifts!

  15. I'm about to buy cheap baby shower gifts from Dollarama. Any idea on what I might find perfect for a baby girl? Thank you!

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