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7 affordable gifts for kids who don't need more stuff

Do your kids have too many things? Try gifting experiences instead.

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If you're fed up with a cluttered household or believe your child doesn't need any extra possessions, it's time to expand your horizons. Not all gifts need to be things. In fact, presence is a present.

Even if you're giving gifts to children who aren't your own, here are a few different things you can gve that won't collect dust later -- and may even help you stick to your gifting budget

Read more: Best tech toys for kids in 2019 | The hottest Christmas toys 2019

1. Go to a concert

For older kids -- or at least those who can sit still for a few hours -- a concert is a great way to introduce them to live music. Even musicals geared toward younger kids would be a good fit, too. Depending on the kids and their interests, they might prefer movie tickets over a concert.

It'd be nice if you could go with them to experience the concert or show together, but if they're tweens or teens, they might want to leave the adults out of it. Most of the time, they're still grateful for the gift.

Read more: Best gifts for teen boys in 2019 | Best gifts for teenage girls for 2019: Apple AirPods, Fuji Instax and more

2. Hit up a sporting event

If your kids love sports, take them to see their favorite team. If you don't live in a town where your kids' favorite team is, you might want to consider a road trip. It's a nice way to extend your experience but can get costly. Another choice would be to see another sport or a team in a different league.

For instance, you might have minor league baseball teams near you. Or soccer teams that play for the city or community. Your money will go a lot further when you support local teams more than major leagues. It also gives your kids an inside look into local, community or minor leagues that aren't broadcast on TV.

3. Visit a national park or museum

Going to a national park is a great way to show kids the beauty of nature. While not every state has a national park, there are 29 states that have 61 national parks. You can even find a park that's especially good for kids. Find a park near you. If you don't have any national parks near you, a trip to the zoo is also a great way to get an up-close look at animals.

There are children's museums scattered all over the country, but your kids' interests might be different than what you find there. You might want to hit up a science museum if your kids gravitate toward those things. Maybe music or art is more their thing. Depending on the age of your kids, you might want to try the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. Oftentimes, young kids get reprimanded for putting their hands on things. At this museum, it's basically required.

4. Take a road trip or camping trip

A great way to cut expenses for experiences is by hitting the road. Rather than buying plane tickets and renting a car, you can drive to your destination. Consider exploring your own state or one close by to show your kids something they don't normally see every day.

A camping trip might be an alternative trip to take. Many parks offer campgrounds and your kids might enjoy the idea of doing something that doesn't involve being at home. Think about hikes, fishing or just roasting marshmallows.

5. Give toward college savings

If you're tapped out on experiences for a kid or you're looking for ways to help out a teenager, think about giving money to future (big) expenses. College is getting more expensive every year that passes by, even with scholarships and grants to help reduce costs. Every little contribution counts.

Now might be the time to set up a college fund, whether a 529 plan or just through a high-yield savings account. If you want to contribute to a fund for a child who isn't yours, ask the parents if they have anything set up. 

6. Get memberships and gift cards

Gift cards used to be the gift you gave if you couldn't think of anything else, but they are still in high demand across all generations. Take your kids to their favorite restaurant, comic book store, sports outlet or another place they like to hang out. Or give them a gift card so they can go with a friend.

They also might enjoy a membership, whether it's to a park, museum or zoo. Subscriptions to magazines or boxes they enjoy, like beauty boxes, are another alternative. While they are still things, they do give your kids something they'll use and utilize, rather than just display.

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7. Create a project

It could be building a spaceship or house out of all those delivery boxes lying around. Or putting together an erector set. Kids usually like the experience of you being with them the most. Don't be afraid to show them something that you're interested in. Similarly, do your best to step outside your comfort zone by doing something you normally wouldn't. 

This also goes for younger kids. They might like dress-up and playing pretend. Or you cooking their favorite meal with them. Participating in things that involve their imagination is showing them you care about what they think and feel. That's also a gift.