When you have young family members, such as nephews, nieces and grandchildren, you probably like to spoil them. Given how your finances may be shaping up as you approach retirement, it's not always the best idea to splurge on expensive gifts.

Fortunately, many children likely won't care or even notice if you spent a lot or a little on their gifts, particularly if they're very young. Because of this, you don't need to break the bank when buying them gifts for their birthdays, holidays or other occasions.

For instance, if you're wondering what a toddler might like to play with, it's often a good idea to find toys that will encourage them to play and pretend at the same time. That might mean skipping out on board games or other such gifts, and getting them blocks, smaller versions of adult items like tool kits and fake food, or art supplies. These will help to encourage kids to learn and interact, while keeping them very busy.

As kids get older, you can get more creative with the art supplies you buy them as well. Branching out from crayons and markers into paint and other implements will continue to encourage their love of art. Further, now might be the time to start introducing board games, as kids who are approaching preschool age may be ready to deal with more rigid concepts like rules and fair play.

It might even be a good idea when kids reach that age to take them shopping for toys they want at a store, but give them a specific budget to work with. This will help them to understand what things cost, and possibly impart the value of a dollar, while ensuring that they stick to the amount you've determined to spend.

Finally, when kids are comfortable enough reading on their own or with a family member, you might even want to get them a book, which itself can be extremely beneficial in helping them to develop. Books can even be purchased second-hand, and therefore further reduce the amount you pay for them.

Whenever you're buying for kids, the temptation is to spend a lot and lavish them with gifts, but you can approach it frugally and still provide them with gifts they love.