It seems that each year the holidays cost people a ton o’ money. For those who want to be frugal and spend less, there is the constant battle of trying to keep on budget (or under) without being perceived as a cheapskate. For some, the solution is to tell friends and family that you aren’t going to celebrate the holidays with gifts. While this saves money, it will probably go over about as well as an elevator in an outhouse. But we don’t have to despair about spending money we either don’t have or don’t want to spend just to satisfy friends and family who don’t share our sensibilities. There is another way, a frugal way!
Homemade is from the Heart
Many frugal individuals and families already do a great deal of preparing things for themselves. For those who already make homemade consumable items like jellies, this one will be a cinch. For those who don’t, you should. It isn’t as hard as you think and you can do yourself a great service in saving a lot of money that you would normally spend on jams, jellies, or marmalades. If you don’t know how, either purchase THE book on canning, Ball’s Blue Book or go to the library and put your name on the waiting list. Ball’s Blue Book contains directions and recipes on a great assortment of items you can can at home. As another innovation or twist on gifting people with homemade jellies and jams, consider making homemade pie filling. It requires the same amount of expertise and equipment.
If you don’t have the equipment to make jellies, jams, or pie fillings all is not lost. Find your favorite recipe for cookies, brownies, or cake then measure everything out and pour it into a canning jar and put the cap and lid on tightly. Don’t include the perishable items like eggs, milk, or butter of course, that would make for a really nasty gift. Print the recipe and instructions on some nice decorative paper and then decorate the jar with a doily or some nice material and attach the instructions. In fact, you can prepare a number of these types of gifts at the same time and put them back since they won’t spoil. Since you’re a frugally minded person, you probably purchased all of the supplies in bulk to save money.
Some people might think that if they ‘make’ a gift that it somehow paints them in a bad light. But we need to ask ourselves and others what gifts are supposed to represent. Does the amount of money that we spend somehow magically make the gift a ‘better’ gift? Does spending more money somehow equate a higher degree of caring or love? Obviously, the answer to these questions is a resounding “No.” This doesn’t give us the license to give people shoddy, broken down, or substandard gifts. We need to truly give from the heart and sometimes the best way to do that and be frugal is to make it ourselves.
Tis the Season To Buy
When you buy something can be a great way to increase your savings. If you take the time to start shopping for holidays far in advance, like a whole year in advance, you might be surprised at the how much you can save. Have you ever noticed that after the holiday ends, many of the items for sale during the holiday and before go on sale? This is the ideal time to buy. Many of your favorite retailers: macy’s, Target, Bloomingdales, these all go on sale mode. Even when purchase online you can get great deals during this time. Combine these discounts with a macys coupon code and get even more savings. While people’s tastes might change in a year, there are some things that you can be sure will hold their interest. Holiday cards, decorations, and wrapping paper are just a few of the things that most people don’t think about until the season is upon them. Buying them at a great discount right after the holiday is a truly frugal thing to do. For gifts, it is possible to do the same thing. It is a bit harder to purchase clothing for growing kids, but mittens, stocking caps, and scarves are really hard to outgrow.
Take these concepts and apply so creativity and imagination. You might be really surprised at what you come up with. Who knows, your homemade gift might just bring a great big smile, and that is what giving a gift is all about.