Unique Gift Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Giving a gift is a way of saying I love you and you’re special. It can be a distinctive thank you for just being you. Whatever the reason, the act of giving is something we all enjoy even though times are tough and maybe your budget is stretched to the limit. What can you do to make gift-giving more affordable and still give with pride? Let’s take a look at some of the ways.

Personalized homemade gifts are some of the best. These depend somewhat on your particular talent but others can be made with just a little creativity and imagination. Ideas could range from something you’ve sewn or knitted such as scarves or sweaters. Handcrafted jewelry or wood art would be a special gift of your talent.

Frame a picture of your family or the recipient. Frames aren’t that hard to make or buy an inexpensive frame and personalize it with your own handiwork by adding shells, brass corners, or names. A personalized gift with someone’s name is always appreciated.

Calendars can be made from photos taken throughout the year. These are easy and fairly inexpensive to make online. You make it more personal by adding special dates and names such as birthdays and anniversaries. This is a gift that gives all year.

Books can be real treasures for a lifetime. Hardcover books are best but soft covers can be made special with an autograph of the author or a personal handwritten note from you. Include a bookmark with the person’s name.

Food dishes you’ve cooked yourself are wonderful gifts. Prepare whatever is your specialty such as jellies, bread, candies or cookies. Make it personal with a label that says “From the Kitchen of…” Decorate it with a colorful bow or ribbon and include the recipe.

Plants you grow yourself can be an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift. A small colorful plant is probably best and can be placed in a pretty container with a ribbon. Include a note on how to care for the plant. If you don’t have a green thumb, silk flowers would be appropriate and can look almost real.

A magazine subscription keeps giving every month. They’ll think of you each time they receive a copy and be reminded of your thoughtfulness. Many schools sell magazine subscriptions as a fundraiser giving you an opportunity to do two good deeds.

Gifts for or from the computer are perfect these days. Use your computer to create personalized address labels or greeting cards. It’s easy to put names on them. Computer software games can also be given or tutorials on various hobbies and projects. Personalized gifts given with thoughtfulness and care are for all ages and worth far more than a hurried purchase just to fulfill your obligation regardless of the cost.

Ways to Save Money on Wedding Gifts

It comes in the mail all too often. A large pristine white envelope hand-addressed to you. The calligraphy is beautiful. You don’t have to open it to know what it is. It’s another wedding invitation to go with several others you’ve already received. Some of these people you barely know.

You know it means buying a gift and money is already in short supply. Where can you find a cheap wedding gift and not look cheap? How much should you spend? If you’re invited to one of the wedding dinners a good rule of thumb is to spend about as much as the dinner would have cost.

This could run between $50 and $125. You’re certainly not obligated to spend that much but polite etiquette also says you should not go empty-handed. How can you afford to give something special yet affordable?

Select the gift early. Go ahead and get it over with and check the gift registry. With so many weddings, especially in the spring, registry items can quickly get picked over leaving you with little to choose or gifts out of your price range.

Many thoughtful brides and grooms are now adding a broad selection of gifts in all price ranges. Again, shop early for the best (and cheapest) idea. With the distinct possibility of going to two or three weddings in the same year, even an inexpensive gift could add up when multiplied.

Use your imagination and creativity to make or buy something that’s personalized for the newlyweds. Wedding gift baskets can be geared to their particular tastes and lifestyle. Most new brides need kitchen gadgets so a basket filled with kitchen basics, a few epicurean recipe ingredients, and even a recipe book would be perfect. The groom could appreciate this more than you know.

Frame their wedding invitation. Make the frame yourself or buy one that can be personalized with their names and wedding date. Framing a favorite poem or readings from the ceremony itself is a very considerate gift.

Newlyweds are usually on a tight budget so give them a movie night out. You could spring for movie tickets and cash for the popcorn or buy them a romantic movie DVD and include a package of popcorn to pop. Put all this in a popcorn bowl along with two boxes of movie candy.

Give a bottle of wine with a note attached that the wine will be at its prime in 10 years and it’s not to be opened until their 10th anniversary. Decorate the bottle with bows or ribbons. You could also include ingredients for a romantic dinner such as pasta and a gourmet sauce. A couple of candles would round out the gift nicely.

A lavish expensive wedding gift will never trump the thoughtful personalized gift from their friend. (Well, almost never.) Be creative and give from the heart. If you run out of time and ideas, a little cash or gift card in any amount is always appropriate and appreciated.

Give a Homemade Gift Basket to Save Costs on Presents

Gift baskets can be made for every occasion and every person. They can be costly to make or buy but with a little planning and creativity, you can craft the perfect gift even if that person has everything.

When you personalize a gift it says a lot about you. It says you cared enough to put love and effort into creating something for someone who’s important to you. And that special someone will be impressed.

Sure you can buy gift baskets from a professional and spend any amount you want. They look good and come in a variety of themes and containers. But, wouldn’t a basket fashioned personally by you send a more meaningful message? Not to mention it’s a lot cheaper and more fun. Homemade foods from your kitchen, for example, are the perfect gifts for your basket.

Ask yourself three questions before you get started: who is it for, what are their interests, and how much am I willing to spend. A gift basket fills the bill for everyone regardless of age or gender.

Choose a theme based on their interests, hobbies, or an upcoming event in their life. You can spend as much as you want but assuming you’re on a limited budget your basket can still be something you can give with pride.

Wicker baskets are probably the first choice to use because they’re easy to work with and can be found inexpensively at dollar stores and even yard sales. Other containers work as well such as trays with an edge, plastic pails (best for kids), coffee mugs, flower pots, and if the person you’re giving to happens to enjoy cooking use a baking pan or bowl or even a colander.

Let your imagination run wild utilizing various shapes and materials. For instance, if the recipient is a cowboy, put your items in an old boot, a tackle box for a fisherman, or a sewing basket for a seamstress. Choosing the container and the gifts can be almost as much fun for the giver as the receiver.

Place your main theme gift in the center or high enough that the eye is drawn to it. Additional gift items go around the sides and then add filler material such as colored paper or straw available at hobby stores. If you have a paper shredder and colored paper make the filler yourself and save. Remember, an overflowing basket looks better than one that’s sparsely filled.

Set your basket inside a cellophane bag and tie a bow with colored streamers flowing down. Attach a card and you’re good to give. If you need to secure items inside the basket to keep them from flopping around, clear tape works well – or use a glue gun. Be neat with your work, not sloppy.

Give genuine thought to the appropriate theme to make the basket more expressive. Consider the person’s personality, whims, and passions. Fashion something you would like to receive and be assured others will like it too.

There’s no doubt we spend a lot of money at Christmas time. As a matter of fact, a quarter of all personal spending in the United States is done during the holiday season. As families grow so does the gift list and our Christmas budget can get out of hand. But, there are ways to save and cut back on your gift-giving without looking like a scrooge.

Remember, it’s the thought that counts. We should be celebrating the real meaning of the season. Right? Well, that’s a hard sell at times to children but with creative planning coupled with imagination, your gifts will be appreciated and you can avoid going into holiday debt.

Celebrate Christmas all year long especially where buying gifts are concerned. Make a gift list early in the year and when you do your everyday shopping you’re sure to stumble onto the perfect gift for someone on your list.

It may even be on sale or on special. Two for one clearance deals can double your shopping fun. Huge savings can be found right after Christmas so constantly be on the lookout. No last-minute shopping for you.

Scan sales flyers and clip coupons. You probably already do this but this year keep gift-giving in mind too. Try to use coupons in combination with sale prices and save even more. Sign up for department stores newsletters through the mail or online to keep on top of sales. Newsletters many times include special offers and discounts.

Shop the Internet. Here you can compare prices not only online but how they compare with your local stores. Usually, when you buy online you don’t pay sales tax and many times shipping is free. The gas savings is another plus.

Carpool with a friend when you’re going shopping. This not only saves fuel but you can exchange ideas on what to give and where to go. Make gift buying fun instead of an obligatory chore. Don’t forget to shop the Dollar Stores and 99 Cent Stores. No one has to know what you spent on the gift.

Yard and garage sales are great places to find that perfect treasure for a fraction of the cost. And, many items are new, in their original package and unopened. But, the item doesn’t have to be new. With a little cleanup and fix up it can look new. Or, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find an antique that just needs a coat of polish.

Regifting is a practice that’s gaining in popularity. Yes, many people do it and you can too. No need leaving that gift you received years ago in the closet gathering dust. Dust it off, gift wrap it, give it to someone who can use it and you save.

If you have frequent flyer miles that are going to waste give them as a gift. Who wouldn’t enjoy a free plane ride? Most mileage plans can also be traded for merchandise or even cash. Don’t let them expire even if you have to give them away.

Many large families nowadays draw names to keep holiday expenses in line. Some only give gifts to the children or exchange cards. Of course, personal, obviously well thought out gifts are always most appreciated. Enjoy the holiday season but stay within your budget. It will be a happier new year if it starts debt-free.

Unusual Gifts to Make and Buy

Giving a gift is a very generous and thoughtful thing to do. It tangibly shows the giftee that you care enough to make or purchase something with only that person in mind. This is more difficult to do for some people than others, especially if you must be cost-conscious.

You can become tired of giving the same old expected gifts and getting the same old predictable response. It may be time to get resourceful and begin thinking outside the gift box. With a little creativity and maybe a little work you can come up with gifts that go beyond the ho-hum and into the realm of extraordinary.

An IOU gift certificate is practically free. Compose a gift certificate or card that says you owe that person some sort of service. It can be whatever you’re good at such as a home-cooked meal or prepared picnic basket.

Offer an evening of babysitting or one hour of house cleaning. If you’re an artist it could be one of your sketches or a free sitting for a painting. Even if you’re not trained, offer to give a neck or foot massage. You may get a request for the same gift next year.

An inexpensive wall hanging corkboard can be transformed into a distinctive display board with easy artwork. Cover the cork board with a piece of bright fabric. Glue appropriate decorations on it depending on the interest of the recipient such as flowers or seashells. Add a small dry erase board and you not only have a display board but a message board. You’re no longer just giving a drab corkboard.

Build a lattice wood photo display. Cut the lattice, one or more pieces, to fill a suitable place on the wall then cut photos to fit in the diamond-shaped holes. Cover the pictures with clear plastic and decorate to suit the photo theme. You can leave the lattice as is or frame it with molding.

Buying land on Venus, Mars, or the moon goes into the bizarre but it’s being done. You get a deed to your land with a map and location. Stars are also being named for both adults and children. A certificate is provided with the star coordinates. Several extraterrestrial real estate companies can be found online and in big-city newspapers.

Photos of that special person offer countless ideas for unique gifting. Place the photo on a mouse pad, a coffee cup, a plate, or a T-shirt. Photos can be put on almost anything so use your imagination. This can be especially appropriate for the person who works at home.

At Christmas time, give a dreaded fruitcake but with a humorous twist. Include with the cake a barf bag, a roll of stomach tablets, and a first aid kit. This is a gift best given in person to share the laughs. Actually, most fruitcakes aren’t bad and a first aid kit is something most of us plan to buy but don’t.

These are gifts that incline toward the bizarre but would be enjoyed and most of them probably needed. If you handcraft a gift, make sure you’re careful to make it look nice and worth giving. Nothing says love better than a gift selected personally for someone. And, if it borders on the unusual, rest assured it will be treasured and remembered.

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