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Archive for May, 2011

Gift giving…cheapskate style.

With graduation and wedding season right around the corner, family and friends are faced once again with the challenge of finding just the right gift for the honoree.  But, with soaring gas and food prices, family budgets are tighter than ever.  So how can you give a great gift without breaking the bank?  Consider these ideas…

Gifts with meaning…  Consider giving a little piece of family history to your niece/nephew or grandchild who is graduating or getting married this year.  A piece of your family’s china you haven’t used in a while can make a very special gift.  I have proudly displayed a small, single saucer given to me by my aunt that was a piece from my great grandmother’s set.  Be sure to include a little note or sticker to highlight the family significance.  (Another option if you don’t want to break up the set is to buy a piece at Replacements.)  Regardless, by giving pieces with meaning, you can get away with giving less.   Graduates may enjoy a special family piece of jewelry (or a tie tack or cuff links for the guys).   

Gifts with a theme… Think useful!  Gifts with a laundry or fix-it theme are great for grads.  And for the newlyweds, you can expand the ideas to include the kitchen or the garden.   In any case, the container starts these gifts off right.  First, package the items in something useful!  (Laundry basket, toolbox, mixing/bowls or baking dish, or flowerpots all make great containers for the gift — check places like Walmart to get great prices on these types of items.)  Second, fill the container with some low cost items.  (Things like bath or dish towels, or event potting soil will work.)  Finally, top the package off with 1-2 small, special items.

Get crafty… You can save big money if you’re willing to put in a little time and elbow grease when it comes to giving.   Grads might enjoy picture frames, bulletin boards, storage boxes or desk blotters that you create yourself.  For the couple-to-be, make a no-sew table runner and placemats — here’s inspiration from Ballard Designs: http://www.ballardstylestudio.com/how_to/make-a-table-runner/.  Be sure to grab one of the 40% of coupons for the larger craft and sewing stores to stretch your dollars further. 

Put a personalized spin on the gift…  You can use fabric stamps to personalize table linens for newlyweds.  For grads, some stamped, personalized stationery or a personalized tote-bag is a perfect gift.   The key is to take something ordinary and transform it into a special one-of-a-kind gift. 

In the end, giving a gift with special meaning adds value and is a great way to avoid overspending on gifts.  What great, budget-friendly gifts have you given or received???

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