It’s that time of year again. Where you spend too much money, run up the charge cards, and regret it in January. The average person spends about $800 on gifts including family, friends, and co-workers. How can you trim these expenses?
1. The Extended Family Exchange-draw names, and set a gift limit, such as $15. You can still get grandma a gift, but it is better if it is homemade (less chance of it being re-gifted.)
2. Secret Santa- this should cover the work gift giving.
3. Friends-invite them over for a cookie exchange party.
4. Photos make great gifts for family or romantic partners-Comb through your favorite photos. Pick out a few they are good for calendars, mugs, cards, even t-shirts at Walgreens and Vistaprint. Check your newspaper or online because both run coupons. Regular photos in a frame work too.
5. Holiday bread- is always a favorite. You can make batches of banana , cranberry orange, or pumpkin bread for less than fifty cents a loaf. Disposable pans are available at the Dollar Tree or Deals. It is cheaper to make it from scratch too. J
6. Soup, cookie, or cake mix jars-you can use canning jars for these since you want to keep expenses down.
7. Bath and body products –airtight jars with a screw on lid are necessary. This is the basic recipe link, but site includes other variation. It will run you about a dollar a jar for product if you buy in bulk. Best place to buy your Epsom salts is discount store and Deals.
8. Cheap Gift Basket-thrifts stores have a variety of baskets, but the Dollar Tree has them for a dollar. Decide on a theme. Use a towel, (dish, or car wash towel) to fill the bottom of the basket. You can make a car wash basket for your guy. (Get these items on sale.) The coffee lover’s basket is the cheapest if you include two cups. Mugs are only a dollar at the dollar tree. Flavored coffee samples are a dollar at most groceries. Throw in some tea, and hot cocoa. Top it off with a bow and note.
9. Have a talent-paint a picture, write a poem, even compose a piece of music and record it.
10. Rice Buddy Pack-these are simple to make with material remnants and rice.
11. Family Recipe Collection- Buy a recipe card book from your local Deals, Dollar Tree or Big Lot store to record all the family favorite recipes. This is an excellent gift for newly married or recently moved out adult child.
12. Candles- decorative jars or even wine glasses make excellent holders. You can find these at Dollar Tree and Goodwill.
13. Unique Serving dishes-Hit the thrift shops for pretty glass plates, and crystal candlestick holders. The plate will rest on top of the candlestick holder. Adhere it with epoxy glue. Use plenty of it, and let it dry for a day.
14. Dollar Bill Butterflies- the cleverly folded butterflies can land on a small basket of flower seeds purchased at the Dollar Tree. The seeds are viable since I use them every year.
15. Flavored Vinegars or oils- head out to the thrift store again to pick up some lovely decanters that people received as gifts, and were clueless what to do with them. Wine bottles work too, although you will need a cork or stopper.
16. Homemade Dog Biscuits- The recipe is in the middle of the page. You can also include the recipe too for the dog lover. They don’t have to be bone shaped either.
17. Hot chocolate mix in a jar- this is great for chocolate lovers and families.
18. Personalized gift-want something with your favorite saying, or an inside joke that only the two of you share. Try Zazzle, a new website that personalizes almost anything at fair prices.
19. A coupon book- probably made them as kids for your parents. You can make them for friends and family including everything from a back rubs to a car wash.
20. Christmas Cookie Ornaments- this is a great one for kids to make, and fun too. Remember: the ornaments aren’t edible.
Making Christmas gifts sounds overwhelming, but it isn’t. Pick a day, assemble your supplies, and elicit help if needed. Think of the parking lots you won’t be circling and the money you will be saving.