It seems that the holidays sneak up on us every year, even faster than the last. Even the most seasoned shopper can become a little overwhelmed during this hectic time of the year. With gift shopping one of the main activities of the season there is no doubt many of us will feel it in our pocketbooks–again.
This year ditch repeated trips to the mall and save money by doing it yourself (DIY). Some DIY tricks can keep money in your pocket for a rainy day and allow you to spend more quality time at home. To help you get started on your DIY holiday, here are some crafty ways to stretch your money this season.
Gift wrapping can be expensive and time consuming. Just think, in less than a minute all of that money and hard work is torn apart and ends up in a garbage bag. This year try "up-cycling" your grocery store paper bags, magazines, newspapers and comics by turning them into fun wrapping papers. You can even reuse your up-cycled wrapping paper after everyone has opened their gifts. This idea is a win for your wallet and for the environment.
Gift tags come in small quantities and cost a pretty penny. Don't spend your money on the tiny squares of paper. Instead, get creative! Make gift tags that are reusable to save even more over the years. Visit your local craft store and pick up some wooden shapes and chalk board paint. When the holidays are over you can erase the names and tuck them away for next year.
Holiday cards can cost you a small fortune. This year make your own. Using your photographs as postcards is an inexpensive way to send out your holiday greetings. If you want to add a touch of whimsy and something new to your pictures make a sign. Grab some fabric, twine and scissors to get started. Use the fabric to cut out letters and string them together to create your holiday message.
When it comes time to take your holiday photos bring the sign along as a prop. All that is left is to address, sign and mail the postcards. Your holiday greeting will be on its way and you'll have a little extra money to put aside for that New Year resolution of saving for next year.
Because this is the season for giving, your gift list may grow unexpectedly. Here are some inexpensive gifts ideas: For a young girl, wrap a
bottle of nail polish in her favorite color and attach a gift tag that reads "For Your Mistle Toes." For your neighbors, you can package frozen homemade cookie dough in a clear takeout box for future baking. These frozen treats will allow them to enjoy the taste of the holidays long after they're gone. For your child's teacher, use an oven mitt to hold some small school supplies such as a pair of scissors and some pencils. Throw a bow around the oven mitt with a gift tag that says: "I Have to Ad-Mitt, You're A Great Teacher!" You can save even more money by picking up these items when they are on sale throughout the year.
You want your home to feel like the holidays–just without the price tag. There are many ways you may decorate. One way is to gather up some pine cones and spray paint them to place in a large bowl in the center of your coffee table. This is a great way to bring the outdoors inside.
You can also use everyday items around the house, too. This DIY trick saves you money and makes your items feel new again. Hang a few of your favorite ornaments from a chandelier to bring some holiday cheer to your dining room. Do you need a menorah but don't have the cash to buy one? Then make one! Search through your cabinets for eight water goblets, preferably one larger than the others to take center stage in the middle. Place the goblets on your counter, fill them with glass beads and then place the menorah candles in the center of the goblets. Viola! You have your own customized menorah.
If it's your turn to host for the holidays, break out of the same routine and save money. Make everyday food extra special. For example, serve water in a pitcher and add seasonal fruits and herbs that you already have on hand. Make a hot chocolate bar by serving hot chocolate and all of the trimmings to your guests for dessert. Your party will look lavish without the hefty price tag. Many holiday recipes call for items you don't have on-hand. Buying them for a single occasion may be expensive, not to mention wasteful. Here are some tricks to help stretch those dollars. For example, freeze leftover buttermilk from your holiday dish in an ice cube tray for future use.
If you need frosting for your holiday desserts but don't want to spend the time making it, buy a container of frosting and double it in size by whipping it. You'll get more frosting to top your desserts with just the single can. This DIY tip has a bonus as well. Not only do you get more frosting, each serving will mean less sugar and calories. Get started on your DIY holiday with these simple tricks and save money.