Showing posts sorted by relevance for query handmade gifts. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query handmade gifts. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, November 28, 2015

10 Money Saving Tips for a Frugal Holidays!


Christmas time can just be a crazy time! So many people you want to give gifts to, so many things your kids want, and only so much money to spend in your wallet! What is a person suppose to do?

I am here to help you! I use these tips to help me save money at Christmas and still feel good about the holidays. These tips can help you too!

1. Set a budget! I set a budget for each kid of $75 each and try extremely hard to be under that. I don't have a budget for stockings, but I try to find item cheaply and that will take up some room!

2. Make some of the gifts yourself. Beware: some gifts cost more to make than to just buy. Be a thrifty present maker! Make sure it is a labor of love and not on your wallet.

3. Decide carefully who you are buying gifts for and who you are not. Despite the generosity of the season, not everyone needs a gift. A card stating your appreciation for all they do can be enough. A small plate of cookies is fine too. However, teachers can only get so many cups and plaques before they don't have room for them anymore!

4. After you decide who needs gifts, decide what. Be specific. Make a list. Your child's teacher does not need an elaborate gift. Be reasonable. Most teachers would appreciate a handmade card from your child stating their appreciation of their teacher.

5. Offer your services instead of a gift. Offer a night of free babysitting. Offer free snow shoveling. Offer to make them a meal when you know they will have a crazy busy night. Offer free baking lessons to a younger child or a teen. These gifts are very appreciated and will more than likely be used quickly!

6. Shop the clearance items year round. Stores are trying to get rid of toys in anticipation of the holiday seasons throughout the year. You can snag some great deals that way. Even during the Christmas season, I find a lot of presents from the clearance shelves.

7. Shop Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I can't stand the craziness of Black Friday, but the deals are awesome on a lot of things. They are just as good on Cyber Monday when a computer and a cup of tea are all you need. Just don't spend more than you need to!

8. Used can be as good as new. My kids have gotten a lot of used things as gifts. Heck, I am not sure some of the things they got were ever used, but I found them at thrift shops and garage sales. I buy a lot of the books I give them used for very little money. When I score like that, I can't get much happier!

9. Think practical on Christmas stockings. I have two broke college students now who appreciate the practical things like lip balm, pocket tissues, fingernail clippers, razors, tweezers, pens, ponytail holders, bobby pins, hair bands, and so on. I put a few fun things in the stockings too, but the kids always appreciate the practical things too. I usually get an "Oh cool, I needed some of these!".

10. Limit the gifts! I give my kids four gifts each and a full stocking. I also buy 2-3 movies as family gifts. I keep the gift count set to four to make reasonable, practical, and not to set unrealistic expectations for my kids. I don't worry about how much I spend on each kid because I have a budget (see #1) and I stick to it.

How do you make your holidays a frugal affair?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
Are You Struggling Financially This Christmas?
How To Start Saving Money For Next Christmas

Friday, January 24, 2014

Christmas 2013 Gifts

Christmas 2013 (left to right) Shali, Paige, Dane, and Jordan

Today I thought I would share with you what I did for Christmas for the kids. I try really hard to follow the four present rule: one gift to wear, one gift of need, one gift of want, and one gift to read. I also give a stuffed full stocking.

The following is a list of what the kids got and how well or not so well I followed the four present rule:

Shali: A new winter coat (need)
         2 pairs of pajama pants (wear)
         cosmetic travel bag (want)
         Barnes and Noble $25 gift card (read)

Jordan: A new robe (wear)
            hair straightener (need in her mind)
            cosmetic travel bag (want)
            Amazon Kindle $25 gift card (read)

Paige: 2 pairs of pajama pants (wear)
          large utility tote (need)
          handmade snow globe (made by me!) (want)
          3 new books (read)

Dane: A new shirt and pants (wear)
          Mindcraft Lego set (want)
          Star Wars snap together model kit (want)
          3 new books (read)

Dane was much, much more difficult to shop for this year in the way of presents and stocking. I had no idea what to get him! He gave me a complete list of his wants this year, but he rarely has any needs because he is the last child, is low maintenance, and receives many hand-me-downs. He got two wants, but I purposely picked these out because they require no technology and are quite challenging. He needs that.

I also really try to get books for each kid, but the older two girls did not know what books they wanted. I am sure by now their gift cards for books are gone!

I do not have a set limit for what I will spend for Christmas. I just do not want to go overboard because I think that sends the wrong message. I try to keep it under $100 for each kid and shop all the sales and specials I can. I spent about $75 - $90 on each child not including stockings. Next year I will try to keep track of what I spent on each stocking, but I am estimating it to be about $20 with the older girls being a little more. I buy them a lot of little stuff they may need like hair brushes and whatnot.

A very good Christmas was had by all and they loved their gifts!

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Time To Get Serious

Time to get serious about my spending and tighten down the hatches. And maybe, just maybe, if I tell you all about this I will have to be more accountable for myself.

First of all:

DID YOU KNOW THAT WE ONLY HAVE 72 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS?!?!


If that wasn't enough to inspire panic in my (and possibly your) heart, I have another problem. Until next spring, I have a $165 a month car payment. Add to that, a raise in car insurance of $50 a month. Yikes!!!

My monthly available income has been severely reduced. Not good when I have Paige's birthday and Christmas coming. The good things in my favor is that Paige's birthday shopping is done, the Christmas stockings for each kid is almost done (girls are done, Dane just needs a few more things), and I have started Christmas shopping.

I need to cut down the Christmas spending. Fortunately, I have gotten really good at this in the past years. First thing I realized was that my kids did not care if everything they got was brand new or used! I buy them all books as one of their presents. I usually get them from eBay and half.com for less than half the cost for very high quality used books. The same happens with DVDs and Wii games. I have also shopped eBay and Goodwill stores for brand new toys that are pennies on the dollar.


Second of all, I limit the presents they get on Christmas. Besides a full stocking, they usually only get four presents each from me/Santa. Granted, one of those presents might include 3-4 books, but I limit the gifts. I have never been about a big blow out Christmas and that sends the wrong message to kids.  I also try to keep the cost to around $75 - $100 for each child. If I can get it under that I am even more thrilled!

Another idea for kids and the others on your Christmas list is handmade/homemade goods. I give a lot of cookie mix in jar and bread in jar gifts. These do not cost a lot to put together, but the thought that goes into them is great! Another great idea is make a plate of cookies, candies, a cake, or some bread to give to your neighbors, teachers, and fellow church people.

A great idea for older people is to make a basket of goods for them. Last year I made my Grandma Rene a basket that included a potato soup mix in a jar, homemade chicken and rice packets with small cans of chicken, cookie mix in a jar, and a box of assorted teas. She loved it! The best thing about this was I made everything single serving except the potato soup and gave instructions on how to make it. I will probably shake it up a bit this year, but do something similar.

One idea that has been popular is giving magazine subscriptions. If you shop around a bit or use sites such as magazines.com or valuemags.com you can save quite a bit on subscriptions. I like the idea that it is a gift that keeps on giving.

I am looking for some new ideas this year so I would welcome any suggestions anyone has! I have more ideas that I will post in future blog posts. I hope to help you save money at Christmas especially if you are like me and saw an increase in your monthly bills!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Stay Home on Black Friday. Shop Small. Shop Local.


(Originally posted in 2013. Revised and expanded for 2018. The views of the author haven't changed!)

Black Friday shopping can be crazy. Stores opening at midnight if they even closed at all. Standing in line and getting a ticket to buy an item at significant savings. Most of the time people are buying things they don't really need. They are missing out on time with family and friends to go shopping. Employees are missing out on time with family and friends on a holiday to satisfy a corporation's greediness.

No, I don't agree with stores being open so early on Black Friday and even on Thanksgiving Day. It is a holiday after all!  Just because someone works retail doesn't mean they need to pay the price of missing out on sleep and time with loved ones. I don't agree with stores opening at ungodly hours to satisfy their bottom lines while offering deals that are supposedly irresistible to shoppers. I don't like the whole craziness of these shopping days and what they stand for. I personally try to never participate if I can help it. A few years back, I got one thing online and regretted it because, despite the reviews, it was cheaply made and only lasted three months.

The problem with Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping is that the public is feeding the problem. The stores are offering these deals and opening at ungodly hours. The public flocks to these sales forsaking their families, work and sleep. The workers are scheduled and, in a lot of cases, forced to work on the holiday because they are told they cannot take those days off or call in sick.

Quite frankly, the public is a huge part of this problem. If they would not shop at the sales, the stores would not feel the need to be open. Standing in lines for hours, collecting a ticket, rushing the doors, and rioting just brings out the ugliness of the whole situation. Stores make everyone stand in line if they want the item and get a ticket so they can purchase it. When did honor and morals go out the window while shopping? Just ridiculous.

Trust me, I understand the lure of the sale. I understand why shoppers do go to get a good deal on an item. If the shopper really needs the item, it would be very difficult to pass up the good deal. I usually advocate saving money any way you can, but for some reason, I can not condone Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping. I see a lot of people going in debt and using credit cards to pay for items they cannot afford. People buy gifts for their families and friends that will be played with or used a few times and discarded. They bought the item for that person just because they were able to get that gift at such a "great" price.

Do yourself and your family a favor. Stay home on Black Friday. If you feel the need to be out on Black Friday, do so at a reasonable hour. Camping out at a store, battling others for the sale items, and spending you do not have is not the way to make great memories. Send the stores a message that their early sales and being open on a holiday is just not what consumers want. Send an even bigger message that they can run these sales on a reasonable timetable and stop the craziness of Black Friday.


Better yet, shop small business owners and local businesses. Shop your friends' items for sale. Shop on Etsy. Even on eBay, most of the sellers are selling for a side hustle and could use the extra love. 

Take the money away from corporate greed and give to someone who needs the money for their family, home, and business. There is a lot of excellent products available and always something for everyone. You may spend a little more money, but you will be knowing where your money is going and you will have a quality item to give to your loved ones. Most people love a good story behind the gift and would love to know that the item came from a small business or a local artisan.

In the next few posts, I hope to give you ideas and promote products from other small business owners and bloggers. We all have great products and items that will be a lovely and thoughtful gift to give others. I also hope to give you a list of ideas that you can make yourself (Yes, you still have time!). A handmade gift says a lot about the people giving it as well as the person receiving it.  

I will also be posting links in social media to my Amazon store. While this may seem contradictory, I hope to promote primarily other bloggers and other small business owners' products who happen to sell their items on Amazon. Sometimes, Amazon is the only viable place to sell most of their products. I will add items that I find to be very beneficial in my life, but not many as of right now.

This holiday season, please be conscious of how your money is spent and where it is spent. Keep it away from corporate greediness as much as possible and keep it small and local. 

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (And Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!

10 Money Saving Hacks for a Happier (and Cheaper) Holidays!

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