Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Now is the Time to Plan for Holidays

I know, I know!  We are just now approaching the "unofficial" end of summer here in the U.S. and spring in the southern hemisphere.  Now is the time to start planning - especially if finances are an issue.
All of us frugal gals know that we watch our pennies, and plan ahead.  We make gifts, we raise extra money, we shop sales, we look at clearance, YES we plan ahead.
We have had a lot of new readers here - so maybe we need to give a few ideas on how to have a wonderful gift holiday and save money.
Holidays seem to be a lot of people's downfall.  They think it is a time to blow the budget, go into debt, and buy, buy, buy!
Tell me how it makes sense to spend a ton of money for one day (on things no one NEEDS) and then spend the next several months paying for it and all the interest!  It makes NO sense.  DON'T do it.

Keep it simple.  The day should not be about gifts.  If you are a spiritual person - you know the religious reasons for the season, and that is the most important.  It should also be about families celebrating being together - NOT the abundance of gifts.  A nice meal and time spent together.

IF you are doing gifts - get creative.  Many of us believe homemade is the best.  One of a kind, no duplicates, and hopefully less money spent!

  • Gardens are going now - think about canning specialty products to give.  Special sauces, jams, jellies, salsa, spaghetti sauce, soups, etc.  Shred and put up zucchini and other items for baking sweet breads. These are items that are yummy, unique and appreciated.
  • Start putting together dry mixes.  It can be jars with brownie mix, hot chocolate mixes, cookie mixes, soups, specialty tea mixes, coffee mixes, mixed beans, etc.  There is no limit to the types of goodies that you can fit into a jar.  Just Google jar mixes and find TONS of ideas.
 Jar recipes are a major hit in my gift baskets that I give.  Everyone loves have a quick and easy meal to make when they are busy.
I receive requests for jelly.  I know people who would be very disappointed not to receive.
  • Start going through your cookie and candy recipes and decide what you want to make.  Buy some cute/pretty plates at yard sales/thrift stores for pennies to put those goodies on.  It is a pretty gift that they can keep and a yummy gift that they can eat.
  • Crafting is big.  Make any type of items.  There are so many ideas.  Wood crafts, crochet, sewing, painting, recycled items.  Think games (make unique board games) or something like cornhole - holiday decorations - home d├ęcor. etc.  Simple quilts or lap covers, T-shirt blankets/throws, pillows, etc..  IF your imagination limits you, just look at Pinterest for ideas.  There is no limit.
                                        Simple woods crafts - very cute and basically FREE
 Simple patch quilts or throws.  Use materials you have, cut old clothes, or buy remnants.  Look at thrift stores yard sales for materials that can be used.
                        T-shirt throws.  Using what is on hand.  Can be school or hobby related.  I made this one for a nephew - I was given the shirts (his old ones) and all it cost was time and the backing.
  • Put together items for kids.  Dress-up box, school supplies (they need them all year), art supplies, books, etc.  All items can be purchased at Dollar stores, or thrift stores or FREE from around the house.
  • Think about giving heirlooms - passing things down in the family.  EXAMPLES - Frame a copy of grandma's noodle (or whatever) recipe and a picture of grandma, frame a pretty doily from the past, make a recipe book of family favorites, pass on a knick-knack, etc.
  • Give coupons for personal service - babysitting, snow shoveling, cookie a month, a  meal a month (for a shut-in), travel to doctor visits or store, etc.
You get the idea.  There is just no limits to the things you can do frugally or just plain old FREE.  Free doesn't  mean not nice.  Some of the best gifts I have received were homemade gifts, home canned foods and just time spent with others.

Ways to get together some extra funds.
  • Sell things you don't need.  Have a yard sale, sell at thrift shops or consignment shops, list on FB or Marketplace.  There are many options to get rid of unused items and make extra money.
  • Think about buying small gift cards that can be used.  They can be given as gifts or if you buy while you have extra money - you can save them to use later when money is tight (for yourself or others).  BUY these gift cards at times/places that offer incentives.  Kroger has offers all the time to earn 4X fuel points when purchasing GC's (except their own).  It works out as a win-win situation.
  • If you have a credit card that you use - make sure you know if you have been earning points on it.  Those points can garner you GC's or items.  
  • Do something part time for a bit to earn extra money.
  • Offer your services for pay.  Do fall clean-up of peoples yard, bake (your specialty), sew for others, craft and sell, help clean out a basement or garage...…..  There are unlimited options to help raise a bit of extra money.
  • First and foremost - look around your home.  You will find all kinds of things that you can use or do that cost nothing.  Gifts from the heart mean the most.
We are just 4 months out - and despite nice weather, it is time to start thinking about gifts.  So get creative - use your garden goods or farm market finds, collect odds and ends from around the house to use, sell things to raise money, watch clearance sales (things do not have to be for the current season), watch cheap school supplies, shop thrift and yard sales (things don't have to be new).  

Get that brain activated and get motivated to have a fun and FRUGAL holiday.  No stress, no debt, just simple and creative.  Fun time with family!

SHARE your favorite ideas!

22 comments:

  1. Great ideas Cheryl! My mum is 84 yrs. and really doesn't need anything, so every year for Christmas, I give her a box full of my homemade jams, relishes, chutneys, etc. She loves it because she no longer makes these things, but still really enjoys them. And she saves my jars for me, so they can be used again :-) She was also very excited last year when we included a very large package of toilet paper from Costco. It was kind of an odd gift, but that's something you don't want to run out of.

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    1. I love it. We all have to eat and OTHER things - so why not? It saves people money and they get something they can use.
      Glad you are on board.

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    2. Hi Cheryl...like Marie I have had success with doing odd gifts...I too get the toilet paper from costco and give to our kids for Christmas. ..last year our daughter was so excited because she had just ran out of TP and was going to buy some when she got her gift...I think practical items are the best , jam, jelly, home canned green beans some plain some pickled combined with kitchen towels and goodies have been received pretty well. One year I got an amazing buy on Sauve Cherry Blossom shampoo and conditioner( on clearance for 50 cents a bottle) so I bought enough for all my gift baskets, wrapped up some bar soap $1 for 3 at $1 tree (to make it pretty, thank you Annabel from bluebirds are nesting), divided up a big pack of wash clothes, a tube of tooth paste ($1 tree), tooth brushed again $1 tree, a $1 liquid soap from Joanne fabrics ( nice smelly stuff), put it all in a basket from garage sale finds and wrapped in a basket bag from $1 tree with a nice bow...all totaled about $10 per family gift!! My family Loved it!! So a little creativity pays off in gift giving...thank you Cheryl for all th the ideas...super list as always! Love Gaila in the NW

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    3. Gaila we are like souls for sure! I love those kind of gifts as well. Anything that I get and don't have to buy is wonderful.
      The teens get baskets or bags or bins with toiletries, school supplies, specialty candy, any treats that I know they like - just all kinds of things. They get so excited.

      I love we have so many creative and WISE people here.

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  2. I often add "interesting" foods when shopping and put hampers together for my daughter for Christmas.

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    1. Same here. I make baskets with homemade items, but I am always on the lookout for unusual things people wouldn't get for themselves.
      Great idea! I bet she loves it.

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  3. This will be our last year in this house and all the kids are coming for Christmas. We will be selling in the spring. So I am really looking forward to Christmas. I have not put a tree up for 3 years due to mom and travel so this will be fun.

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    1. Make a ton of wonderful memories and take a ton of pictures. Just remember new memories will be made somewhere else.

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  4. There are two little girls I've been buying for the last few years. So this year I am making them a craft bag, so I've been looking for cheaper things to fill it with all summer. I bought some crayons at the back to school sale for 50¢ each, some coloring books, card games, etc.

    I also did a homemade type card for my daughter one year. Inside I put gift cards to places I knew she would want to visit over the next year. She loved it!

    This is a great blog post with so many good ideas. Thank you, Cheryl.

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    1. How very sweet of you. I have a little nephew I buy for and he is now 5, so I think I will be doing arts and crafts stuff for him.
      What a neat idea for your daughter.
      Thanks - and thanks for your ideas.

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  5. One year for both of my sons I bought them a new wallet, and then put small gift cards into them.
    Normally for my sisters and in-laws I make some kind of kitchen basket. I usually crochet dishcloths, make new potholders, and crochet toppers on dishtowels - you know the kind with a button so it can hang on a stove handle. I try to do complementary colors with all of them.

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    1. Oh how nice. I would love new kitchen pretties. Homemade ones are even better.

      I like the wallet idea. Never give an empty wallet!!! GC's are a good idea.

      Thanks, more good ideas.

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  6. I have always made most if not all our gifts. They range from quilts to knitted rugs to sewn garments. Those always go over well in my family.

    God bless.

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    1. Good for you. I am loving all these responses. You gals rock!
      Blessings

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  7. I love Christmas and wish I had energy and time to make more crafts. Those little wooden snowmen are so cute! Nancy

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    1. Thanks - and so easy to make.
      Heal and get better and you will be back on your feet soon.

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  8. Our local Indy Bookstore has been having clearance sales so they can stock up for the holiday season. I've been taking advantage of those. Our grand kids get 4 gifts, one they want, one they need (clothes), a book and something crafty or to use their imagination. I found the shirts for the 5 big ones on sale at Kohl's. And the crafty one for the 4 big girls. They will all get a gift certificate to Amazon for their books as I can't pick those out for them anymore. Their want item will come from their lists they make out around Thanksgiving.
    I really like the wallet with gift card idea for our oldest grandson who will be 16 this year. Poor thing. His birthday is Dec. 26. It's hard on all of us. LOL

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    1. What neat ideas. That is great that the kids don't get over loaded with gifts. That happens all too often.
      That would be a great gift for the 16 year old. I have gotten gas cards for some of the older ones too. I have also found out their favorite fast food places and gotten small GC's from there too.
      I bet your grands will love everything!

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  9. Cheryl, I love the soups in a jar. Do you have a link for the recipe? Great ideas!

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    1. I did a search here on your blog and found the recipe! Thanks.

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    2. Laurie I will be listing several as the fall months come on. I think soup is a favorite of many - and a great gift. I will have more later!!!!!

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  10. So many great ideas that I will be using. I love the quilts!

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