Each year offers a dozen or more occasions to give gifts to friends and family members. Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, births, weddings, and person-specific occasions for gratitude all demand a gift.
But when you’re on a budget, how do you keep up? You’re probably trying to save money for your long-term goals, so the best solution is to make the gifts yourself.
A homemade gift can say so much more than a purchased one, and you’ll learn valuable skills along the way. Below are some ideas for homemade gifts that will allow you to stick to your budget and continue toward your financial goals.
Family History Book
Cost: Under $25
Family history has become a trendy pastime, thanks to the marketing campaigns of Ancestry.com and other companies. Learning about where you came from and helping others record their family history could be the gift that lasts for at least a generation.
Create a digital spread for a soft-cover, perfect-bound book filled with questions about family members, interests, occupations, time periods, and other areas of personal interest. Leave spaces for photos and special mementos so the recipient of your book can truly make it his or her own.
Sugar Scrub and Bath Bombs
Cost: Under $10
You could put together a fragrant bath kit for less than the cost of a fast-food meal. Sugar scrubs contain a combination of granulated sugar, essential oils, coconut or olive oil, and a preservative like gelatin. Hundreds of recipes are available, and you can mix one or more at home and serve it in a mason jar.
Bath bombs involve similar mixing, requiring only a bath-bomb mold to hold them together. You’ll need baking soda, citric acid, Epsom salt, essential oils, and other ingredients as laid out in an online recipe of your choosing.
Cost: Under $15
This blanket requires zero sewing skills. All you need is a couple yards of complementary fleece material and a pair of scissors.
Lay equal lengths of fabric on top of each other. Cut strips around the edge of the two layered pieces of one inch in thickness and four inches long. Tie the strips together, and voila! You have a warm, cozy blanket a recipient will love.
The best part about this gift is that it can easily be customized to the individual you make it for. Choose a fabric in the individual’s favorite colors or characters, to let the person know you really understand his or her taste without spending a lot of money.
Cost: Under $10
Busy households and offices need a functional calendar to stay organized and focused. You can create one for just a few dollars using a large white board purchased at a thrift store or office supply store.
Use thin strips of colored tape to section out squares for the calendar days. You might also add a section of burlap with crisscrossed ribbons to the bottom or edge which can be used to hold photos or messages.
This enables you to insert your own customizable creativity to match the recipient’s interests for a fraction of the cost of a pre-made dry-erase calendar.
Rice Bag Warmer
Cost: Under $5
During the chilly winter months, we all love to be able to warm our feet, hands, or neck, so create a warming bag. Rice and dried corn hold dry heat extremely well, so sew either of these ingredients into a fleece bag to create a perfect winter gift.
Choose a soft, patterned fabric that matches the taste of the individual who will receive it. Fleece is best.
After repeated uses of the bag, rice or corn can develop an unpleasant, burnt smell. To prevent that from happening, add a few drops of essential oils to the contents to keep them smelling fresh and wonderful, no matter how many times the bag gets used.
These simple ideas should indicate that you can present people with thoughtful, spot-on gifts without having to spend a bundle of money. Primed with this mindset, you should be able to stay on track with your savings goals and avoid derailing your budget out of consideration for your family and friends.