Welcome to December’s series on 31 Days of Giving on a Budget. In this series, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories from my readers and posts with practical ways to give — even on a limited income.
If you have a Giving on a Budget story to share of a way you or your family has given to others this year or this holiday season, please email me your story (or a link to your post on your blog) and a picture to go along with it, if possible. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!
Guest post from Jennifer of When Pigs Fly
Recently my husband and I had the grueling task of revamping our budget. We had to make cuts across the board, due to an increase in one of our bills. As we went through the budget line by line, we began asking ourselves, “Do we really need this?”
One of the categories in question was our Gift Budget, which was taking $120 per month. We decided to drastically decrease this amount and implement creative ways to reduce spending for occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, special holidays, and various events.
We came to the conclusion that anyone can run to the store and pick up a quick gift and card. We wanted to show our recipients that we put extra effort into creating something unique and personal, especially for them, saving us money along the way!
1. Find your inner Betty Crocker!
Most people really enjoy receiving homemade treats. Get creative and bake up a small sample platter showcasing your favorite desserts, a simple batch of cookies, or homemade cake pops.
Baked goods make great gifts, especially when you have to give several gifts at one time. Give it that extra touch by purchasing an decorative platter or container at your local Dollar Store.
2. Recycle cards.
As you receive cards for all occasions throughout the year, place them aside. When a need arises, cut the fronts off with decorative scissors, leaving the back blank for a special note or make into a gift tag.
If you’re really creative, use sections of the cards to create a whole new card, using scrap-booking supplies you already have on hand. Plus, don’t forget to utilize the free card promo codes, often offered on online card sites!
3. Substitute gift wrappings.
Forget about buying wrapping paper and gift bags, I love to use my Sunday Comics as wrapping paper. Not only is it fun, it is free!
Forgo expensive gift bags and consider packaging your item in a basket, crate, mason jar, or bin, that you already have laying around the house. Also, save the ribbons and special embellishments from gifts you receive, and reuse them to decorate your gift.
Okay, so I know this may be tacky to some, but don’t let a gift you received (and won’t use) go to waste. Place it aside for a future gift-giving occasion. Just make sure you remember who originally gave it to you!
A rule of thumb is not to re-gift anything that was especially handmade for you.
5. Give recycled gifts.
Your home is full of gift ideas, so before you throw items out, think of your possibilities! Turn an empty wine bottle into a elegant Tiki Torch, an old window shutter into a photo frame, or a small wooden crate into a beautiful planter.
6. Use those freebies.
Opportunities to receive free items are readily available these days — store promotions, giveaways and contests, requested samples, etc. When you get such items, set them aside. Use them later to create themed gift baskets for unexpected events such as baby showers, house warming, or get-well.
What are your favorite ways to give on a budget?
Jennifer Van Dahm is a stay-at-home mom, who knew there was more to life than laundry and dishes! Her motto, “Taking the ordinary out, of everyday living”, is shown throughout her website, When Pigs Fly. There, she highlights her passion for cooking and providing a healthy life style for her family, while saving money in the process. Her goal is to refresh families and help them get out of their rut– physically, mentally, and spiritually!