Savvy Spending

Savvy Spender knows how to pinch a penny and about being on a budget. She has learned great ways to save money on everyday expenses.

This Year, Go Homemade

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I have declared this as the year that all of my holiday presents will be homemade. As in made from scratch, created out of my own blood, sweat, and tears. I think it's a really nice way to show someone how much they mean to you, it's unique, and it's much less expensive than purchasing presents for everyone. The key to success, however, is to start early. 

For me, starting early means starting over the summer. While that's a little aggressive for some people, I think it makes sense to at least have an idea of what your gift is going to be several months in advance. The only reason I started over the summer is because my holiday present this year is going to be homemade pickles. I told my husband about this before we started our garden for this year, so he made sure to plant extra cucumber seeds. Then, all summer long we have been pickling the cucumbers in batches of about 4 or 5, and storing them in large containers in our refrigerator. We started pickling last year, when my Grandmother gave us a recipe for dill pickles and pickled peppers, and have really perfected it this year. In terms of a present, I am going to purchase small glass jars, cut the pickles in quarters and place them in the jars, design a holiday label, and put a pretty fabric under the lid so that it sticks out.  

There are so many other unique and personal holiday gifts you could create for friends and family this year. I started a list below, but please reply and let me know if you have any other ideas: 

  1. Gourmet Flavored Popcorn. You could pop your own popcorn, and drip white chocolate and caramel, or truffle oil and parmesan cheese, over the popcorn and present it in a nice bag or tin (think coffee tins that you put your own label on).
  2. Scarves or Hats. I am not a very good knitter, but my mother knits and crochets the most beautiful scarves, hats, and blankets; and it takes her very little time. You could purchase yarn at the dollar store and knit everyone on your list a scarf or hat to keep them warm this winter.
  3. Your Specialty Baked Good. Everyone has that one, baked good that they are known for, whether it's peanut butter cookies, apple turnovers, or chocolate chip banana bread. Whatever your claim to fame is, whip up a very large batch and divide it into gift-size packages. If it's a bread or loaf, find some of those really small loaf pans and make all of your recipients' one small loaf. If it's muffins, bake a bunch of mini-muffins and find a nice tin to place them in.
  4. DVD Slideshow. This is a great present to give family members or close friends. Just gather all the pictures you have of your family or friends from over the years. Use a scanner to turn any actual pictures into JPEGs, and ask your family and friends to send you any digital images they have. Then, put together a slide show, save it as a PDF, and burn it onto a DVD. You can even make a great cover for the jewel case, and give it to all of your friends or family.
  5. A Pretty Plant. Go to your local nursery or gardening store, and find the plants that are very difficult to kill. Then, buy some inexpensive pots at the dollar store, decorate them yourself, and place the plants in each of them with some soil. You can even get some stones or marbles to decorate the top of the soil with. 

Well, what are you waiting for? The holidays will be here before you know it...get your creative juices flowing! 

Related Posts 

10 Ways to Save on Holiday Gifts  

Frugal Gifts From the Heart For All Occasions 

Frugal and Homemade Gift Ideas 


Jessica Kaputusin

Jessica is a CareOne employee in the Marketing department who is known to be a frugal bargain hunter. She is a contributing writer for the Savvy Spender blog. Jessica's favorite thing to do is to capture her prey, the best found deal for what she wants. Jessica knows that getting out of debt can mean giving up many personal treats. So she shares her tricks and tips, for finding clothing, accessories, shoes, and home goods that look like a million bucks, but cost very little so you can find small treats that won't break your budget.

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  • Parties can be a bit expensive, so you should save where you can and use every trick in the book to make your holiday party fun, festive, and fabulous while still staying on budget.

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