DIY Gift Ideas
I absolutely love getting and making homemade gift for Christmas and since my decorations are up and the tree is trimmed, it's craft time. Making your own gifts not only is more personal and unique, but it can save a lot of money as well. Here are a few of my favorites that I have found this year that I might be trying.
For the person with a sweet tooth
For the person who loves to bake
For the person having a baby
For the person who sews
For dad who loves candy
For mom who likes to relax
Ways to Save Money During the Christmas Holidays
It is so easy to get all caught up in the holiday season and overspend on your budget. Between buying gifts, to decorating and entertaining the costs can really add up! Some people don't even have budgets and buy with their credit cards and pay later... pay big time later! I try to treat Christmas like every other holiday that I plan for and have a plan and stick to it so I don't over spend and regret it in the new year. Here are some easy tips to follow to make sure your not "paying"in the new year!
Step 1- Plan ahead for gifts
I try to look for deals year round for the holidays. I look at end of season sales for gifts that people might like. The end of summer is a great time to pick up toys for the kids! I also try to pick up generic gifts on sale that anyone could use. That way, when you forget to buy that one gift for someone at the office or a relative or that one person who you didn't think would buy you a gift does (this always happens!) you will have something on hand. Being the organized person I am I keep a list of extra gifts I have on hand. Planing ahead also help you get the best prices. If you are looking for something specific, you have the time to find the best deals!
Step2- Shop around/price match/coupons
Don't just buy something the first time you see it. If I like something I will do some research. There are so many stores out the that will price match now. You can also look online for the best prices. You don't have to drive around to the different stores now you can just checkout the website online for a stores prices. Amazon and Ebay are also great places to get deals. If you are buying online, make sure you check if the item you are buying has a coupon code. I usually google the product name and google coupon codes and a lot of the time you will find a code to enter online that will save you a percentage off your purchase. Using the coupons you clip will also save you money.
Step 3- Make a budget and stick to it
I make out a budget for everything right down to the amount I want to spend on groceries and I stick to it. I almost never overspend on it and this saves me money in the new year. You don't have to overspend just because it is a holiday. Since you are shopping throughout the year anyways and getting great deals, you shouldn't have to overspend.
Step 4- Use your stockpile
I try to buy items ahead of time for my stockpile that I might use for the holidays. For example, if you like to bake during the holidays, make sure you stockpile baking items that you will need to eliminate the need to run to the store and buy the baking items full price. Buy doing this you won't need to budget much for extra food for the holidays! I always stock up on baking items early!
Step 5- Reuse/Refurbish your decorations and wrapping
I had a nasty habit of buying new decorations every year at Christmas. Now I reuse the ones I have and if I want to change things up I put them in a new location or repaint/fix them when needed. I almost alwyas get somekind of decorations as gifts so I use them as well. I use all of my wrapping paper instead of buying new every year. Also make sure to reuse old tissue paper and gift bag. I never throw them out unless they are damaged!
Step 6- Buy after Christmas/Boxing day sales
If I do want to have new decorations, or wrapping paper or cards, I wait until after Christmas when items go on sale for 50-90% off and buy them then for the next year. The biggest mistake is buying holiday items at full price!
Step 7- Make you own gifts
People always love homemade gifts and they are pretty inexpensive! I like to do some baked goods and treat as well as DIY crafts. There re so many easy recipes you can follow that are great for gifts.
Step 8- DIY ideas
I am a huge fan of making my own cards, decorations and even wrapping paper. Its really easy to do even if your not the craftiest of people. Sometimes when something is homemade it means more even if it costs less.
Step 9- Pot lucks
Instead of throwing a huge party and spending a fortune on food and drinks, make it a potluck party. Potlucks are a lot of fun because you get to try different dishes or have favorites that you wouldn't normally get to have and it cuts back your expenses. It will also help cut back the time it will take you to get ready for the party! Next time if someone ask if they can bring anything say yes!
Step 10- Gift exchanges
There are sometimes when its a fun idea to do a gift exchange. at work, parties and extended relatives is a great time to implement this idea! Instead of buying for everyone, set a limit on one gift and do either a secret Santa, draw names, or do a Chinese gift exchange where you make it into a game. This will cut back spending in a huge way and it's a lot of fun!
Step11- Do together gifts
My husband an I often will buy something bigger that we need for the house and only do a stocking for each other instead of gifts. I would rather watch the kids open their gift anyways and that way we both get something we want and need for the house. I wouldn't suggest doing this with anyone other than your significant other though.
If you follow even a few of these steps for the holiday season I guarantee you will save money. Christmas time doesn't have to be a time to dread, or overspend. Being organized early is the most important step and will save you the most money!
Halloween is such a fun time of year but between decorations, costumes, candy, chocolate, parties, games and lots of other things the Halloween bills can add up! Here are some fun frugal tips to save you money at Halloween!
1. Buy used- Go to second hand stores to buy you costumes for around 60% off the new sale prices
2. Borrow- Borrow Halloween costumes for yourself and your kids from friends
3. Reuse- reuse old costumes or make them into new ones. eg. use the cape from your dracula costume to make a witch or superhero one.
4. Sell- sell your old costumes online or at secondhand stores
1. Make your own- There are some very simple decorations the you and your kids can make together if you search online.
2. Reuse- Reuse your old decorations
3. Dollar store- The dollar stores have some excellent decorations to buy for just a fraction of the price.
1. Use generic- use generic white paper plates and cups and add some colour by using coloured napkins
2. Limit the number of people- If it's for kids only allow a few friends to be invited
3. Potluck- There is no reason why you can't ask your guests to bring something small especially when most people nowadays ask "can I bring something?" Food and drinks can be expensive so having some people bring items will help with the cost
4. Decorations- Use the tips from the decoration ideas above
5. Party favors- most people don't expect party favors now and if it's a kids party, have them do a craft and they can bring it home as a party favor
6. Ask for help- Ask each couple to do a game for the party
7. Homemade- Don't buy expensive Halloween cookies shaped like pumpkins and ghosts make you own!
1. Buy late- The closer it gets to Halloween the cheaper the candy gets at the stores because they want to get rid of their stock
2. Buy chocolate- You can freeze chocolate bars so if you have leftovers you can freeze and use as stocking stuffers for Christmas
3. Buy the right amount- I know it's tempting to buy large quantities of candy but only buy what you will need. You will save money and your waistline!
4. Buy seasonal- Pumpkins, squash are great buys this time of year and are great to use in soups and pies. Buy the seasonal fruits and veggies for your dinners
5. Give back- Some local malls and stores will buy back your Halloween treats for money and gift cards or better yet donate it to local shelters and soup kitchens
6. Homemade- Don't buy expensive Halloween cookies shaped like pumpkins and ghosts make you own!
Above all the best thing to do is be organized and start early. Nowadays they have Halloween products out at the end of August and the earlier you start to look the better chance you will have getting the great deals!
Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!