frugal gifts en-US 11 Frugal Gifts Your Future Self Will Love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="frugal gifts you&#039;ll love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of things I wish my younger self would have done for the benefit of my present self. As I look forward to what my future self will want, here are some gifts that I can work to deliver starting today (and you can, too!).</p> <h2>1. Money in the Bank</h2> <p>Occasionally when I put on a coat or jacket that have not worn for a long time, I find some cash in the pocket &mdash; a gift from the past! My younger self even left some money in a savings account which my current self greatly appreciates.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Put $50 per week in a savings account and you'll save $26,000 per decade for your future self to enjoy.</p> <h2>2. Freedom</h2> <p>A great gift to your future self would be a chance at early retirement. Depending on how your investments perform and how much you plan to spend in retirement, if you increase the funding level for retirement investments from 10% of income to 20% during your career, your future self <a href="">could retire more than 10 years earlier</a>!</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Sign up for automatic deposits to your retirement fund to save your current self from having to remember to transfer funds. Choose an investment fund with low fees and contribute as much as you can to set your future self free as early as possible.</p> <h2>3. Less Debt</h2> <p>My younger self often thought it was okay to spend a lot of money since my future self would earn more income and could easily pay the bills. This logic made sense to me at the time, but my current self is not very happy with this strategy.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift: </strong>Start paying down debts today. Pay off your highest interest rate debts first to eliminate debt as quickly as possible. Cut expenses and apply the savings toward paying down debts faster.</p> <h2>4. Higher Education</h2> <p>Make life as easy as possible for your future self by setting up a convenient source of income. This could be a cushy or interesting career, running a profitable business, or creating passive income opportunities. It takes time and effort to establish a good source of income, so start today!</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Complete school or training now to advance your career earning opportunities instead of waiting for your future self to do it. If growing a business is your game plan, don't wait to get started. Take on the hard work now so your future self can enjoy the benefits.</p> <h2>5. Active Lifestyle</h2> <p>Get into fitness activities that will keep you fit for life, and provide interesting recreational opportunities. I look forward to exploring new bike trails and recently went on some awesome half-day bike adventures. I like hiking and walking, too, and enjoy exploring both urban and rural areas.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> For me, a quality bicycle was a good gift to my future self. It will last for years and provide many hours of entertainment, exercise, and free transportation. If it will keep you active, a health club membership, sporting equipment, or a workout program can be a good gift that will benefit you for the rest of your life.</p> <h2>6. Creative Outlets</h2> <p>Your future self will want to look back and see what you've done with your life. Create a body of work that you can look back on by creating things that will last. I am sending my future self some completed home improvement projects to look back on with pride. I have also published a few books and hundreds of personal finance articles and blog posts that will be around for a long time. Other lasting creations include publishing some scientific journal articles and obtaining patents.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Find opportunities to create things that last for your future self to be proud of.</p> <h2>7. Hobbies</h2> <p>Put in the hard work now to <a href="">acquire skills</a> that your future self will find useful and entertaining. Here are some possibilities:</p> <ul> <li>Sewing</li> <li>Woodworking</li> <li>Electrical wiring</li> <li>Plumbing</li> <li>Computer programming</li> <li>Foreign language</li> <li>Winemaking</li> <li>Automotive maintenance/repair</li> <li>Gardening</li> </ul> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Choose a skill that would be useful to acquire and put in the time and effort now to gain the skill so your future self can easily use it.</p> <h2>8. A Stronger Brain</h2> <p>Keep your brain sharp for your future self. Because if you don't use it, you'll lose it!. Exercise your short term memory, learning, and analytical thinking skills as much as possible.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Keep reading, learning, and finding new interests every day. Use brain games such as <a href="">Lumosity</a> to exercise your brain and stay sharp.</p> <h2>9. Organized Tools and Paperwork</h2> <p>The other day, I needed a cold work chisel that I had not used in 20 years, but I knew exactly where to find it. Years ago, my wife helped me set up an organizational scheme for my tools, and they have stayed organized ever since. Organize your tools, financial documents, bills, budget, and closet to make life easy for your future self.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Choose something and get it totally organized today. Once an organizational scheme and habit are established, it takes little effort to keep things organized for your future self to enjoy.</p> <h2>10. A Shorter Commute</h2> <p>Move closer to work, school, shopping, etc. to reduce your commute &mdash; and expenses. I moved about 10 minutes closer to work and it makes a noticeable difference to the amount of free time that I have. I spend less on gas as well.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Moving to a different home is hard, but can be worth the trouble if you can reduce your expenses and/or reduce your commute every day for your future self.</p> <h2>11. Memories Captured</h2> <p>Take lots of pictures! No one wishes they had fewer photos from the good old days. Photos with loved ones are best, but photos of scenes from everyday life are interesting, too. It is amazing how many memories even a single photo from a normal day can bring back. What seems mundane to your current self may be fascinating for your future self to remember.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> A nice digital camera can be a good gift to your future self. Use a memory stick or cloud storage to keep a backup copy of all of your digital photos somewhere safe.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">8 Ways Clutter Keeps You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Don&#039;t Use Your Prescription Drug Coupons Until You Read This</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping active lifestyle emergency fund frugal gifts future self health and fitness organization Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1808274 at 80 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $10 or Less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/80-stocking-stuffer-ideas-for-10-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="christmas stockings" title="christmas stockings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It happens every year. You think you have your holiday spending under control, only to get tripped up by the stocking stuffers. This year, stay on track with some budget-friendly stocking stuffer ideas, which include everything from sensible finds to unusual goodies, all of which you can score for $10 or less.</p> <h2>1. Unique Kitchen Gadgets</h2> <p>Clever and economical small kitchen tools, such as the <a href=";cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH%7C%7CCategory-_-Cooks%27%20Tools-_-NoMerchRules">strawberry huller</a>, <a href="">scooter pizza cutter</a>, and the <a href="">Egg-A-Matic</a> boiled egg mold, make cool kitchen gifts and a nice change from the usual tools.</p> <h2>2. Team Merchandise</h2> <p>The superfan on you list will appreciate anything with a favorite team logo on it. <a href="">FansEdge</a> has a great $10 and under search tool, which includes holiday ornaments, tailgating items, accessories, and more.</p> <h2>3. Wine Out</h2> <p>Anyone who appreciates wine will also be thankful for the practical gift of wine stain remover. <a href="">Wine Out</a> now makes a small, one-ounce mister for under $5, which can be kept on hand to quickly get rid of stubborn stains.</p> <h2>4. Device Screen Cleaning Cloth</h2> <p>An essential for those with a smartphone, tablet, or other device, a microfiber screen wipe makes a very useful gift. You can even find more <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FOM5VTE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VN4XLKQ265VEECUE">decorative cloths</a> to make the mundane task of wiping a screen slightly more enjoyable.</p> <h2>5. Mug Warmer</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Never have a lukewarm cup of tea or coffee again when you give someone an <a href=";adpos=1o1&amp;creative=39230275429&amp;device=c&amp;matchtype=&amp;network=g&amp;gclid=CMrx5Iu8-8ECFcpj7AodUT4AOA">electric mug warmer</a>. It works great for the office or even for heating up a mug of soup.</p> <h2>6. Electric Screwdriver</h2> <p>A handy <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002XZLTQO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IEAZGDBF5Q6XANCT">handheld electric screwdriver</a> makes a great stocking stuffer for just about anyone. And with cordless models under $10, they won't break your wallet either.</p> <h2>7. Herb Stripper</h2> <p>For the cook that likes to buy fresh herbs, or the gardener that grows his or her own, an inexpensive <a href=";cgid=Giftsunder20_Cat&amp;srule=price-low-to-high">herb stripper</a> takes the fuss out of stripping fresh herbs to use in that next dish.</p> <h2>8. Bar Tools</h2> <p>A host of bar items under $10 can please the drink lover in the crowd. Try some fun <a href="">mini tongs</a> for ice cubes, a <a href="">cocktail whisk</a>, decorative wine stoppers, or a <a href=";">mojito muddler</a>.</p> <h2>9. Sephora $10 and Under</h2> <p><a href="">Sephora $10 and under</a> gifts, which include everything from makeup to skin care products, make great stuffers. You can also use some of the free samples you receive as additional stocking stuffers.</p> <h2>10. Coffee Clip</h2> <p>Never let your bag of coffee go stale or pour the wrong amount into your machine again with a cool <a href="">coffee clip</a> tool. Check out <a href="">wood coffee clip</a> options under $10 as well.</p> <h2>11. Foot Massager</h2> <p>For athletes or those on their feet all day, <a href="">a massage ball</a> can help do the trick to ease away aches and pains. Check out local sporting goods stores for a variety of cheap options.</p> <h2>12. Detangler Brush</h2> <p>Great for kids and adults, try out the <a href="">Wet Brush</a> and similar models under $10 to take the tears and pain away when combing out tangles and long hair.</p> <h2>13. Back Scratcher</h2> <p>Try a back scratcher for a fun and soothing gift. For under $5 you can find old-fashioned <a href=",default,pd.html">bamboo scratchers</a> or even telescoping <a href="">extended reach models</a>.</p> <h2>14. Reusable Tote</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>For the environmentally-conscious shopper, a reusable tote makes a great gift and easily rolls up to fit in a stocking. Look for options near checkout aisles at any major store, like <a href="">Pier One's decorative totes</a>, or even at the supermarket, which usually run only a dollar or two.</p> <h2>15. Decorative Toothbrush</h2> <p>Kids or reluctant toothbrushers will love a decorative toothbrush in their stocking. Most pharmacies sell character brushes, light-up brushes, and even brushes you can decorate with stickers to motivate even the most stubborn folks on your list.</p> <h2>16. $5 to $10 Treats</h2> <p><a href="">iTunes</a> has $10 gift cards, while $10 cards at <a href="">Starbucks</a> or <a href="">Dunkin Donuts</a> can buy a few fun coffee drinks. Or give $5 or $10 in cash with a little note saying to buy to an ice-cream at the local shop or a nice drink at a favorite watering hole.</p> <h2>17. Spoon Rest</h2> <p>Great for any cook, find unique spoon rests at places, like <a href="">Crate&amp;Barrel</a>, <a href=";category=0%7CAll%7Cmatchallpartial%7Call+categories&amp;lnk=snav_sbox_spoon+rest">Target</a> and <a href="">Wayfair</a>, for under $10. Or, check out a cute <a href="">owl spoon rest</a> for a pop of color in the kitchen.</p> <h2>18. Sporting Goods</h2> <p>For those on your list who like to exercise or play sports, think of small items, like economical pedometers, water bottles, tennis balls, sweat bands, and golf tees. Sporting goods stores like <a href="">Dick's</a> and <a href="">Sports Authority</a> have many options as do most big box retailers.</p> <h2>19. Decorative Hooks</h2> <p>For a different type of stocking stuffer, search out a decorative hook that fits your recipient's style. From a <a href=";from=fn">monogram letter hook</a> to a beautiful carved <a href="">floral hook</a>, there are many options available under $10.</p> <h2>20. Coin Purse</h2> <p>There are many fashionable and economical <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00HGB1AQO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=V2UQT32JCTMGL5O5">coin purses</a>, which can be used to house coins, keepsakes, keys, and other items someone would want to have on hand.</p> <h2>21. Wine and Spirits</h2> <p>Champagne splits, mini wine bottles, and even airplane-sized liquor bottles make great little stocking stuffers for those who enjoy a nice cocktail.</p> <h2>22. Slang Flashcards</h2> <p>For those recipients who like a good laugh and need a boost in the hipster department, try a pack of <a href=";utm_source=gifts&amp;utm_campaign=18952">slang flashcards</a> to help someone become instantly cool and entertained at the same time.</p> <h2>23. Room Spray</h2> <p>A useful gift for eliminating odors or just enjoying a great scent, <a href=";N=130+1000040&amp;Nao=60">room sprays</a> come in all different scents for under $10. Try places like <a href=";sr=1&amp;origkw=room%20spray">Bath &amp; Body Works</a> for a wide selection.</p> <h2>24. Cold Weather Accessories</h2> <p>An extra pair of mittens, a hat, warm scarf, or even <a href=";mkwid=shkWoVf0Q_dc&amp;pcrid=41545041134&amp;gclid=CPHt6bv0icICFQET7AodpHAA_A">texting gloves</a> will fill any stocking cheaply and stylishly. Try places like <a href="">Old Navy</a> for great deals under $10.</p> <h2>25. Jewelry</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Try <a href="">World Market's earrings</a> for $4.99 or look for great costume jewelry at popular stores, like <a href="">Forever 21</a>, <a href="">H&amp;M</a>, and <a href="">Claire's</a>. (See also: <a href="">Ten Awesome Sites to Shop for Cool, Affordable Jewelry</a>)</p> <h2>26. Smartphone Case</h2> <p>A snazzy, economical smartphone case can be put to good use. Check out some great options, like <a href=";fromSearch=smartphone&amp;cm_vc=SEARCH">H&amp;M's chevron case</a>, <a href=";skuId=7278109&amp;ref=06&amp;loc=01&amp;ci_src=14110944&amp;ci_sku=7278109&amp;extensionType=pla:g&amp;s_kwcid=PTC!pla!!!75144160095!g!!55971784335&amp;kpid=7278109&amp;k_clickid=755b7226-4cda-0b48-cb77-0000251be2c5&amp;kpid=7278109&amp;lsft=ref:212,loc:1&amp;ksid=755b7226-4cda-0b48-cb77-0000251be2c5&amp;ksprof_id=10&amp;ksaffcode=7709&amp;ksdevice=c">Best Buy's flip cover</a>, and the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0092TQHP2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HTVNBAV5II3FPWZQ">Photive Hybrid Bumper</a>.</p> <h2>27. Pancake Mix</h2> <p>For those who enjoy a good breakfast, include a bag of fancy pancake mix, which you can find in any grocery or food specialty store for under $10. Look for organic and gluten-free mixes as well.</p> <h2>28. Address Labels</h2> <p>For an extremely thoughtful stocking stuffer, try some customized address labels for your recipient. Online sites, like <a href="">Vistaprint</a>, have cheap options that you can design yourself.</p> <h2>29. Fancy Condiments and Seasonings</h2> <p>Most local grocery stores have an aisle with some fancier condiments, seasonings, and sauces. Look for yummy barbecue rubs, jams, dips, or try some <a href=";Ntt=seasoned+salt">fancy salts</a> for under $10.</p> <h2>30. Headphones</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Whether it's a spare pair of economical earbuds or cool, colorful headphones, you can easily find cheap pairs at discount stores, dollar stores, and some big box retailers.</p> <h2>31. Pumice Stone or Loofah</h2> <p>Hit up any pharmacy or look online at places like <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a> for a selection of bath loofahs, sponges, or pumice stones that anyone can use to make bathing more luxurious.</p> <h2>32. Cheese Markers</h2> <p>For the host or hostess that likes to do cheese tastings or buffets, food markers make a great gift. Check out <a href="">Crate&amp;Barrel's cheese markers</a>, or search on <a href="">Etsy</a> for similar paper and mini chalkboard versions.</p> <h2>33. L'Occitane</h2> <p>For a little splurge on some high-end skin care products, shop smart at <a href="">L'Occitane</a> by dividing up their gift sets, which average below $10 per item. The <a href=",82,1,64531,644969.htm">Petite Treats for under $40</a> section has some especially great finds.</p> <h2>34. Luggage Tags</h2> <p>Luggage tags make useful stocking stuffers and come in a variety of styles and designs. Try <a href=";cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH%7C%7CNoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules">leather options</a> for a classic look, some <a href=";N=130+1000040&amp;Nao=0">decorative tags</a> to make a bag easy to spot, or search <a href="">Etsy</a> for whimsical options under $10.</p> <h2>35. Note Cards</h2> <p>You can search for beautiful box sets of note cards for under $10 at stationery stores like <a href=";order=price_asc">Papyrus</a>, or peruse pharmacies and discount stores for other great options.</p> <h2>36. Cookie Stamps</h2> <p>For a twist on the classic cookie cutter, cookie stamps make a great gift for bakers and kids' stockings. Try a <a href="">cookie stamp duo</a> or check out craft stores for similar options.</p> <h2>37. Lottery Tickets</h2> <p>A lottery ticket can be a fun stocking gift for anyone to scratch off. And, it's even better if you happen to give a winning ticket.</p> <h2>38. Garden Markers</h2> <p>Whether for large outdoor beds or window herb gardens, <a href=";utm_campaign=PLA&amp;utm_medium=googleshopping&amp;utm_source=google&amp;gclid=CMG2z8yK_sECFU1k7Aod9FUAog&amp;kwid=productads-plaid%5E115064357798-sku%5E32@ADL4526-adType%5EPLA-device%5Ec-adid%5E51184140278">plant markers</a> will be a welcomed gift to mark which plants are growing where.</p> <h2>39. Nail Tools</h2> <p>Make a mini manicure set by buying cool emery boards, nail clippers, or buffers, which you can bundle together. Most pharmacies carry tools these days for just a few bucks.</p> <h2>40. Portable Dog Bowl</h2> <p>For the dog lover, the <a href=";N=130+1000040&amp;Nao=60">collapsible dog bowl</a> makes a great gift for travel or running out and about with your favorite companion. It also folds up easily to fit in a stocking.</p> <h2>41. Flip Flops</h2> <p>Sure, it may be winter in the Northern Hemisphere, but everyone loves a pair of flip flops. <a href="">Old Navy</a> even has pairs for as low as $2.50, or browse your big box retailers and other specialty retailers who have slashed prices on off-season flip flops.</p> <h2>42. Sewing Kit</h2> <p>A mini sewing kit for travel or just to have handy in the house serves as a cheap buy and a useful stocking stuffer. Drug stores and dollar stores carry many versions of these helpful kits.</p> <h2>43. Ornaments</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>No better time of the year than to gift an ornament. Check out unique options under $10 at places like, <a href=";words=ornament">West Elm</a>, <a href="">Urban Outfitters</a>, and <a href="">Bronner's</a>.</p> <h2>44. Picture Frames</h2> <p>Small picture frames make great stocking stuffers, especially when they go beyond the norm. Check out <a href="">mini gem frames</a> or <a href=";srule=price-low-to-high&amp;start=0&amp;sz=60">clever photo holders</a> and small frames, all of which run below $10.</p> <h2>45. Decorative Napkin Rings</h2> <p>You can find some gorgeous napkin rings for around $2 at discount home stores and department stores, like <a href=";submit-search=web-regular">Kohl's</a>. A group of four or five makes a nice stocking gift for anybody wanting to add style to the dinner table.</p> <h2>46. Electric Stirrer</h2> <p>Let the coffee lover froth up their own creations at home with a handheld electric milk stirrer. You can purchase many models for well under $10 at places, like <a href="">Ikea</a> and <a href=";cm_re=electric_milk_frother-_-9SIA5US1ZU3088-_-Product">Newegg</a>, or try <a href=";cx=0">World Market</a> for a set of three to give to multiple recipients.</p> <h2>47. Chargers and Adapters</h2> <p>Most folks can use an extra charger, adapter, or other small electronic component for their many devices. Head to discount and dollar stores to find practical options under $10, or try something more interesting like a <a href=";isbn=8718182450903">smartphone charging platform</a>.</p> <h2>48. Fun Hair Accessories</h2> <p>Hair accessories can be a great $10 and under find for any gal's stocking when you go for fun hair bands, hair accessories that <a href=";c_id=">double as jewelry</a>, or <a href=",default,pd.html#start=6">fancy barrettes</a> fit for dressy attire.</p> <h2>49. Unique Playing Cards</h2> <p>A cool deck of cards is a nice item to have on hand for rainy days or the serious poker player in the crowd. Check out <a href="">Art of Play</a> for some designer options under $10, or try a deck of <a href=";color=060&amp;cm_mmc=SEM-_-Google-_-PLA-_-82530721624product_type_l1a%26product_type_l2ent%26product_type_l3games&amp;adpos=1o4&amp;creative=51636900664&amp;device=c&amp;matchtype=&amp;network=g&amp;gclid=CNOFh7u7gMICFUEV7AodkXoAEw#/">3D playing cards</a>.</p> <h2>50. Dish Towels</h2> <p>Make a colorful dish towel into a nice stocking stuffer with the many options at <a href=";category=products&amp;range_subcategory=18850">Ikea</a> or other major home goods stores.</p> <h2>51. Wine Bottle Coaster</h2> <p>Check out a shiny <a href="">wine coaster</a>, which makes an attractive gift that will help keep the dribbles away from that bottle of red on the dinner table.</p> <h2>52. Nice Soap</h2> <p>Special soaps serve as a stocking stuffer staple. Browse some of the great selections for under $10 at <a href="">Anthropologie</a>, as well as the many options of pumps, bars, and hand sanitizers at <a href="">Bath &amp; Body Works</a>.</p> <h2>53. Practical Gift Cards</h2> <p>A $5 or $10 gift card to practical shopping places, like pharmacies, grocery stores, fast food chains, or gas stations, can make a great stocking stuffer and help shave off some of the usual costs.</p> <h2>54. Tea, Coffee, and Hot Cocoa</h2> <p>Give someone a delicious gift of their favorite hot beverage. For a unique take on the usual, try <a href="">hot chocolate sticks</a>, a small bag of <a href=",default,pd.html?start=1&amp;navid=stocking-stuffer-ideas">Starbucks Christmas blend</a>, or a box of <a href="">Peet's Holiday Tea Bag Sampler</a>.</p> <h2>55. Gardening Gloves</h2> <p>For anyone that enjoys gardening or has yardwork to do, a pair of economical gardening gloves will do the trick. Try a pair of <a href=";catId=">bamboo fiber gloves</a> or search your local garden, home, or dollar stores for decorative options of all kinds.</p> <h2>56. Drink Charms</h2> <p>Like jewelry for your wine glass, a set of economical, fun <a href="">wine charms</a> for the entertainer on your list will be most appreciated.</p> <h2>57. Shoe Polish</h2> <p>For the person who wants to keep dress shoes shiny at all times, a <a href=";term=shoe+polish">tin of shoe polish</a> makes a very useful and budget-friendly stocking stuffer.</p> <h2>58. Lip Care</h2> <p>Lip care under $10 abounds. Hit up your local pharmacy to find some favorites, like <a href="">Burt's Bees beeswax lip balm</a> or the cool <a href="">EOS </a>products. For kids, try flavored chapsticks and glittery lip glosses, which can be found at discount stores, pharmacies, and toy stores.</p> <h2>59. Specialty Sweets</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>A candy store or even your local supermarket is sure to have an abundance of high-end candies and sweet treats for under $10. Look for fancy chocolate bars with unique flavors, sea salt caramels, or your recipients favorite go-to indulgence.</p> <h2>60. Guest Towels</h2> <p>A pack of decorative paper guest towels makes a nice host or hostess present for the stocking. Check out the many <a href="">guest towel options</a> for under $10 at major home and party stores.</p> <h2>61. Decorative Magnets</h2> <p>Cool <a href="">magnets </a>can help someone dress up an old fridge or display things in fashion on a magnetic board in a home office or kitchen.</p> <h2>62. Candle Tins</h2> <p>Stuff a stocking with a small, personal candle tin for a luxurious gift. Some favorites include <a href="">Illume's Mediterranean</a>, <a href=";sr=1-17">Paddywax's Library Collection</a> tins, and <a href=";contextualcategoryid=0&amp;fashionColor=&amp;resultback=8151&amp;cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_22_D">Voluspa mini tins</a>.</p> <h2>63. Night Light</h2> <p>Character-themed night lights, such as the <a href=";cp=2255957.2273443.2255986.2256246.2256296&amp;parentPage=family">Spiderman night light</a> or <a href="">Disney's Frozen light</a>, make great stuffers for kids. But, don't forget the more mature, decorative home options, like <a href=";Ntt=led+night+light&amp;pl=1&amp;currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dled%2Bnight%2Blight&amp;facetInfo=">Alen + Roth's LED night light</a>, which adults can use to light up a dark hallway or bathroom.</p> <h2>64. Washi or Decorative Duct Tape</h2> <p>Throw in a roll or two of cool washi tape or decorative duct tape for crafters, kids, or those looking for stylish repairs. Try craft stores, like <a href="">Michaels</a>, for great washi tape options or office supply stores like <a href="">Staples</a> or <a href=";mr:trackingCode=DB3F251B-88F0-E211-A755-BC305BF82162&amp;mr:referralID=NA&amp;mr:adType=pla&amp;mr:ad=22416888356&amp;mr:keyword=&amp;mr:match=&amp;mr:filter=20224360076&amp;cm_mmc=Mercent-_-Googlepla-_-Office_Supplies+Tape_Adhesives-_-894148">Office Depot</a>, which carry decorative duct tape.</p> <h2>65. Unique Books</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>A fun little book for under $10 can provide some entertainment or much needed advice. Check out <a href="">Amazon </a>or <a href="">Barnes&amp;Noble</a> for anything from after-dinner jokes to feng shui. (See also: <a href="">21 Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>66. Slipper Socks</h2> <p>Give the gift of some ultra-comfortable, furry <a href="">slipper socks</a> for under $10. Don't forget plenty of <a href="">slipper socks for men</a> are out there, too.</p> <h2>67. Pez Dispenser</h2> <p>You don't need to be a kid to appreciate the fun of a Pez Dispenser. Check out the official <a href="">Pez site</a> for ideas and where to buy.</p> <h2>68. Bud Vases</h2> <p>A colorful bud vase makes a beautiful and cheap stocking stuffer. <a href="">Ikea </a>has many selections for just a few bucks, while dollar stores and craft stores have many nice options as well.</p> <h2>69. Travel Umbrella</h2> <p>A small-sized umbrella makes a great gift for travel or to have in the car for adults and kids. Check out discount stores and big box retailers for some stylish <a href=";facet=price:0%20-%20$10">umbrellas under $10</a>.</p> <h2>70. Cool Keychain</h2> <p>Go beyond the usual keychain and include some fun options under $10, such as a fancy <a href="">tassel keychain</a>, a <a href=";a=1552">multi-tool keychain</a>, or a <a href=";gclid=CN62kNPqhMICFUsV7AodjHUAnQ">cash stash keychain</a>.</p> <h2>71. Gift Tags</h2> <p>For someone who enjoys crafts and giving gifts, some high-end, <a href="">colorful gift tags</a> make a great stocking stuffer.</p> <h2>72. Toys</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>For adults and kids alike, clever toy finds in the $10 and under range can make anyone smile. Ideas include, <a href="">animal ball poppers</a>, <a href="">desktop table tennis</a>, and the all-time classic, <a href=";cp=&amp;parentPage=search">Slinky</a>.</p> <h2>73. Fun Office Supplies</h2> <p>For those office types, add some fun and offbeat desk supplies to the stocking. Some ideas include, <a href="">fun paperclips</a>, <a href="">unique sticky notes</a>, and <a href="">designer-inspired staplers</a>.</p> <h2>74. Cocktail Napkins</h2> <p>Give a pack of paper cocktail napkins to the entertainer in your life. Try places like <a href=";categoryId=551216&amp;tabId=1&amp;requestURI=viewEndecaCategory&amp;No=0">Oriental Trading</a> or <a href="">Party City</a> for great options under $10.</p> <h2>75. Stamps</h2> <p>$10 can still buy a book of stamps these days, which makes a useful gift for anyone.</p> <h2>76. Gourmet Food Snacks</h2> <p>Instead of specialty candy, look for some creative snack options to put in a stocking. Dried fruits and nuts make a nice choice, but so do small unique snacks, like jars of stuffed olives, <a href=";kpid=402354&amp;gclid=CNzey6LLicICFYtr7AodaQ8AcA">fancy cookies</a>, or even <a href=";channelid=FROOG&amp;utm_source=CSE&amp;utm_medium=GoogleShopping&amp;utm_campaign=SolidCactus">gourmet popcorn kernels</a>.</p> <h2>77. Jewelry Travel Case</h2> <p>An upgrade to the usual jewelry travel rolls, a <a href="">folding travel tray</a> is a great stocking stuffer for anyone that needs to keep jewelry or personal items organized and untangled when traveling.</p> <h2>78. Fashion Tape</h2> <p>For a practical gift, <a href="">Hollywood fashion tape</a> can be used to keep shirt openings and necklines in place, not to mention hold up pant hems and prevent everyday fashion emergencies.</p> <h2>79. Hand Warmers</h2> <p>Include some packs of instant <a href=";Detail=188416">hand warmers</a> for those who like to play or attend cold weather sports or just to have on hand in the car in case of emergency.</p> <h2>80. Magazine</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Try a cool magazine rolled up in a stocking for your recipient to enjoy. Think of magazines by hobby, visual design, or anything that might be a great one-time treat.</p> <p><em>What are some of your favorite stocking stuffers for under $10? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">21 Perfect Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in December</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">9 Gifts to Give the Neighbor You Like</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Great DIY Gifts for Geeks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living buying guide frugal gifts gifts holiday buying guide product reviews stocking stuffers Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:00:10 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1098643 at 25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="baking" title="baking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Personalized gifts are a great way to show others that you took the time and effort to find or make a thoughtful gift just for them. Such tokens of affection are even better when they can be done on a budget. Here are some customized gift ideas that will please both giver and receiver. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Home Movie DVD</h2> <p>This is a great gift for distant relatives or friends who you may not see regularly. Put together a DVD of home movies using any of the easy to use, <a href="" target="_blank">and often free</a>, DVD creation software packages available. You can also decorate the cover of the blank DVD with photos or art of your choice for a nice touch.</p> <h2>2. Locket</h2> <p>For less than $10, you can make someone a necklace with a locket, including a picture that gives this gift extra special meaning. Search for cheap chains and small lockets at craft stores, jewelry supply stores, or dollar stores. Or, repurpose an old chain you have in your jewelry box. You can score <a href=";view_type=gallery&amp;ship_to=ZZ" target="_blank">cheap lockets by searching online at Etsy</a> and discount sites, in addition to browsing flea markets, vintage stores, and thrift shops.</p> <h2>3. Hand-Designed Napkins</h2> <p>With just a small container of fabric paint, a fabric stamp or stencil, and some basic cloth napkins found on sale at any home store or discount store, you can create an affordable, personalized gift. Use your stamp or stencil to monogram each napkin, or find a stamp design that has meaning to your recipient, like tennis racquets for the tennis lover or nautical designs for the sailor in your life. This gift can easily be tackled for under $15 with smart shopping.</p> <h2>4. DIY Massage Coupons</h2> <p>This is good for those who don't want to spend anything but time on a gift. Make massage coupons by writing or printing your own handmade massage certificates redeemable by your loved one. Try doing a few certificates that are good for one 20-minute back rub each.</p> <h2>5. Inscribed Golf Balls</h2> <p> has all kinds of options for monograms and personalized messages that can be <a href="" target="_blank">inscribed on a pack of golf balls</a>. They carry all the popular brands, including affordable options under $15 for a pack of one dozen.</p> <h2>6. Recipe Book</h2> <p>Purchase a cheap three-ring binder, and collect your recipient's favorite recipes. Print out recipe ideas from any website or insert recipes from magazines or elsewhere into plastic covers. Think of any themes or details that would be useful to your recipient, like 10-minute dinners for busy moms and dads, unique desserts for the baker, low-carb recipes for diabetics, or <a href="" target="_blank">fun party drinks</a> for the bachelor, for example. Make a personalized front page with a special message, and you've got a great and affordable gift.</p> <h2>7. Flowers in an Upcycled Vase</h2> <p>Repurpose a cool-looking empty wine bottle or large jar, like those for tomato sauce or pickles. <a href="" target="_blank">Upcycle</a> your bottle or jar into a nice vase by cleaning it and removing the label. Add a little ribbon (raffia looks great and is easy to work with) to hide expiration dates or scratches, and fill with some economical grocery store flowers. If you have your own garden, use your own stems. Tie a nice tag to your ribbon with your recipient's name and the name of the flower for a very thoughtful and pretty gift.</p> <h2>8. Monogrammed Journal</h2> <p>This is an easy one to tackle, as pretty journals can be found anywhere from pharmacies to discount home stores to stationery stores. Invest in an affordable journal and some alphabet stickers, a letter stamp, or a monogram stencil, and you can easily imprint the journal's cover with the recipient's initials. Or if you just want to click and buy, check out CafePress, which offers <a href="" target="_blank">a variety of monogrammed journals for under $15</a>.</p> <h2>9. Photo Puzzle</h2> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">photo puzzles from sites like Shutterfly</a> are nice gifts to give to families, kids, or grandparents who like doing jigsaw puzzles and would appreciate piecing together a sentimental photo of your choice. Puzzles can be purchased for under $25, but you can get bigger savings during sales and free shipping promotions, which happen often.</p> <h2>10. Customized T-Shirt</h2> <p>Don't worry if you can't sew. If you have an iron, this gift is an easy one to make. Purchase a cheap solid color T-shirt with your recipient in mind. Then visit a craft store for great iron-on labels of your choice. I made a pink Hello Kitty tee for my daughter and put her name on it, which cost about $7 in total and was all the rage with the preschool crowd.</p> <h2>11. Wedding Party Gifts Beyond the Wedding</h2> <p>A great place to find affordable personalized gifts is on wedding sites. Whether you are using your gift for a wedding or not, many of the personalized items are great gifts for any occasion. Check out the bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts on a budget, as there are always good options. I found <a href="$25-and-Under" target="_blank">a cute makeup bag on sale at David's Bridal for $5</a>, with free monogramming, which would make a wonderful gift for many occasions.</p> <h2>12. DIY Planters</h2> <p>I am a big fan of decorating my own planters; all you need is a small sized terra cotta planter, some outdoor acrylic paint, and your imagination. Terra cotta pots cost anywhere from $1 to $5 for sizes eight inches and below, and a small tube of acrylic paint can be purchased for a couple of dollars. Paint your pot in any fashion you see fit, whether freehand, with stencils, or embellishments&nbsp;&mdash; you name it. Add a personal touch like a monogram or symbolic design for your recipient to make it special.</p> <h2>13. Framed Black and White Photo</h2> <p>A framed photo is a no-brainer in terms of personal gifts, but try sprucing up this simple idea into a very chic and economical gift option. Find a special scenery shot of a place your recipient loves, like a special beach from a trip, a landscape from where they grew up, or any significant scene. For a few dollars on any online photo site, you can enlarge this image and turn it into a black and white photo. Find a cheap frame at a dollar or discount store, and you have just made some personalized, classy wall decor or a nice tabletop accent.</p> <h2>14. DIY Bookends</h2> <p>A simple and lovely gift, bookends can be made easily for just a few dollars. You can find the supplies at any craft or hardware store. All you need is some wood glue and two rectangular wood pieces, which can be glued together in the shape of an &quot;L&quot; for each bookend. Paint your bookends and include custom details such as monograms.</p> <h2>15. Custom Cookie Plate</h2> <p>Everyone loves cookies, so why not bake your recipient's favorites or your own go-to favorite. You can hit a dollar store to buy a ceramic plate to put your homemade treats on. This works great especially <a href="" target="_blank">around the holidays</a>. Cover your treats in colorful cellophane wrap with a bow, and add a nice tag with a special message and the recipe.</p> <h2>16. Monogrammed Smartphone Case</h2> <p>There are plenty of custom smartphone cases that cost upwards of $50. With a little creativity you can make one of your own. Check out discount stores or electronic stores to score a cheap smartphone case. Invest in some decorative alphabet stickers at a stationery store or craft store, and apply to the case.</p> <h2>17. Personal Gift Basket</h2> <p>You don't need to buy an over the top gift basket to show someone you care. Find a basket and fill with the treats your recipient loves most. Some ideas include candies, assorted teas, or jams. Or, try one similar to what I made for my dad, which included his favorite snacks, such as chips, olives, nuts, and dips. If you concentrate on small food items, you can easily put together something nice from your local supermarket for $10 to $15 that will speak directly to your recipient.</p> <h2>18. Jewelry With Meaning</h2> <p>If you have a vintage piece of jewelry or something handed down from a relative, pass it on to someone in the family. I recently took apart two drop-earrings I had from my grandmother and transformed them into two necklaces for my sister and me to have. I simply removed the earring backing and used the charm as the pendant for my necklace. My mother-in-law also gave me a beautiful ring several years ago, which she had always worn as a young girl and had been saving for her first daughter-in-law. It meant a lot to both of us when she gave it to me.</p> <h2>19. A Tree</h2> <p>A tree sapling can be a very thoughtful gift in place of flowers. Baby trees can be planted to commemorate a child's birthday, moving into a new home, a graduation, or any big milestone. You can find tree saplings for under $5 at the <a href="" target="_blank">Arbor Day Foundation</a>. Or, with a $10 donation to the organization, you can get a variety of 10 tree saplings. A tree gift is a big win for you, the recipient, and the environment. Attach a personal message to your sapling for your recipient, who, in the years to come, will always remember your gift as the tree grows.</p> <h2>20. DIY Pillow Cases</h2> <p>You can find cheap pillowcases of all sizes at discount home stores and online for under $10. Purchase an iron-on monogram for a quick-to-make option. If you don't mind sewing, consider the pillow kits that are often sold at craft stores. These kits often cost under $15 and contain two pillowcases and a full embroidery design that can be easily followed with the option to customize initials or names.</p> <h2>21. In-Home Fine Dining</h2> <p>A nice way to celebrate any special occasion, like an anniversary or milestone birthday, is to make your home into an elegant restaurant dining room. We do this each year for my parents' anniversary, since my husband is a great cook, and my parents love his food. Transform your dining table with fancy napkins, silverware, candles, background music, and a special menu listing what's in the evening's meal. You then act as cook and wait staff to serve a delicious and special dinner. If you really want to save some cash, try less expensive themes, like a tapas sampling or just dessert, instead of a multiple course meal.</p> <h2>22. Gardener's Gift Set</h2> <p>Collect a few basic garden supplies, such as a small hand shovel, spade, garden gloves, or garden scissors. Most of these items can be found for just a few dollars in discount home stores, dollar stores, craft stores, or hardware stores. You can add other nice items you find, like handmade, <a href=";includes%5B0%5D=tags&amp;page=1&amp;q=vegetable+garden+markers&amp;ref=related" target="_blank">colorful garden markers and labels at Etsy</a> or seed packets from a garden center for just a few dollars as well. Use a pail, green beach bucket (also a dollar store find), or other economical container to hold your goods. Complete the gift with a name label on the outside of your container.</p> <h2>23. Personalized Water Bottle</h2> <p>While a personalized water bottle may not seem very exciting, a durable water bottle is always a useful gift. Check out <a href="" target="_blank">Oriental Trading's</a> version of this classic customizable gift. With up to two lines of engraving, and at a price of just over $10, it's one of the cheapest custom aluminum bottles available.</p> <h2>24. Keepsake Box</h2> <p>Here's another craft store project that can be easily made for under $5. Buy a small wooden box with a lid from a craft store. Decorate your box and personalize with the recipient's name or initials. Give it to a special guy as a place to keep his watch or cufflinks or for a gal to store her jewelry. Little kids also love such boxes to guard their trinkets and hard won coins.</p> <h2>25. Talking Cards and Picture Collages</h2> <p>Another nice personal gift is <a href="">the talking card</a>. You can go a step further and make your own picture collage to include with your card. Find a small piece of poster board and start picking out pictures your recipient will love. For grandparents living far away, such gifts are a great way to see and hear their loved ones. When my daughter was just starting to speak, a recorded birthday card with some of her first words was very much appreciated by her great-grandmother, who adored this gift.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite, frugal, personal gifts?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href=";;description=25%20Thoughtful%20and%20Frugal%20Personalized%20Gift%20Ideas"></a></p> <script async defer src="//"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Get Ready for Christmas: 7 Things You Should Do Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">What Can You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Lifestyle Shopping DIY gifts frugal gifts thanks Thu, 18 Jul 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 980593 at 10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-spend-almost-nothing-on-gifts-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="gift" title="gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="125" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s that season again, when your wallet starts to feel lighter and every purchase means a big nasty surprise when the credit card bill rolls around in January. I am not against spending money for gifts at the holidays &mdash; after all, this is the one time of year when people are spending money on others rather than on themselves. But the holiday season shouldn&rsquo;t be one of financial burden &mdash; it should be a time of joy. And there are few things as joyful as being financially stable and responsible with your money. (See also: <a href="">14 Gift Ideas for the Truly Broke</a>)</p> <p>How can you spend almost nothing this Christmas? By being innovative and resourceful when it comes to giving gifts, of course! Some of the gifts below won&#39;t cost you anything; most cost you very little if you already have some of the materials on hand. (See also: <a href="">31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving</a>)</p> <h2>1. Buy Presents Using Old Gift Cards</h2> <p>I still had a few gift cards hanging around from when I got married, some of which were from stores I don&rsquo;t normally shop at. I had never used them because I never found anything I liked from those stores. However, I was able to find some thoughtful presents for friends who like those stores. I consider gift cards free money, so in this way, I was able to buy nice gifts without spending any of my own cash. Dig through your own desk drawers, and you&rsquo;ll likely find a few old gift cards too!</p> <h2>2. Make Baked Goods</h2> <p>For most of the friends and acquaintances on your list, a bag of cookies is a perfectly appropriate gift. Chances are you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry, and any you lack will cost far less than buying a whole gift. Wrapping the cookies up beautifully (in dollar store colored tissue paper) makes your gift look even more fancy and expensive. (See also: <a href="">15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake</a>)</p> <h2>3. Make Cookie &ldquo;Mixes&rdquo;</h2> <p>Even easier than making baked goods &mdash; how about making mixes for <a href="">baked goods</a> or <a href="">hot chocolate</a>? You don&rsquo;t even have to pay for eggs or milk! Put pre-mixed quantities of flour, baking powder, sugar, and flavorings into a washed-out jar and tie it with a ribbon. Large glass pasta sauce jars make pretty containers for cookie and pancake mixes. Or make a peppermint hot chocolate mix with cocoa powder, sugar, and a crushed candy cane. Again, it&rsquo;s all about presentation. Decorate the jar with lovely labels, ribbons, and other crafty things, and your gift looks gorgeous and not at all cheap.</p> <h2>4. Regift!</h2> <p>Wince. I know, I know. Regifting seems kind of lame. But let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; we&rsquo;ve all done it. And if something that someone gave you happens to suit another friend better than it suits you, why not? It&rsquo;s the right thing to do. Just avoid regifting items that have been used, or regifting at a party where the original giver might be present. Now <em>that&rsquo;s</em> lame. (See also: <a href="">Guide to Regifting</a>)</p> <h2>5. Revamp the Traditional Gift Exchange</h2> <p>Instead of having a traditional gift exchange or Secret Santa, propose a White Elephant gift exchange. Everyone brings some junk that they don&rsquo;t want, and then you take turns swapping for the best stuff. You get to clean out your junk drawer and give a gift at the same time! One year, I hosted a holiday book exchange instead of a traditional gift exchange, where everyone brought a used book from their personal collection that they had read and liked. Again, we played a game of swap to see who could score the book he or she wanted. No purchase required!</p> <h2>6. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper and Cards</h2> <p>Wrapping paper can get expensive. Make your own by using brown paper bags and decorating them using potato stamps, stickers, ribbon, and bits of colored paper. Cut out the gift labels printed on Trader Joe&rsquo;s grocery bags. Use the comics section of the newspaper to wrap a gift. Plus you get brownie points for being eco-friendly and using recyclable and biodegradable materials. (See also: <a href="">10 Cheap Gift Wrapping Ideas</a>)</p> <p>For cards, download free printable holiday cards and gift tags from websites like <a href="">HowAboutOrange</a>, or make your own, more personal cards with paper, markers, and other materials you have around the house. If you&#39;re particularly artsy, you can even bundle several handmade notecards together as a gift that the receiver can use throughout the year.</p> <h2>7. Make a Personal Photo Album</h2> <p>Collect photos of you and a friend, and make a photo album out of scrapbooking or construction paper. Across from every photo, write a cute personal message. Bind the pages together with yarn or ribbon. It may not cost much (or anything if you already have photos printed), but the time and effort you put into this gift makes it a unique and memorable one. For friends who live far away, you can give them a variation of this gift for free! Create a Word or Powerpoint file (or if you&#39;re more computer-savvy, a video slideshow) with photos and meaningful notes that you can email to your friends for them to print out.</p> <h2>8. Get Your Craft On</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re crafty, you might be able to whip up a beanie or scarf from some leftover yarn (it&rsquo;s not hard &mdash; my husband crocheted me a beanie once!). Or use the fabric scraps in your cupboard to make coasters or a cute pillow or blanket. Make <a href="">ornaments </a>from scrap pieces of wood and craft paint (for example, we&#39;re renovating our house and we&#39;ve got plenty of perfectly good pieces of pine lying around). Makeover an old wood tray with paint or decoupage. Paint pretty designs on smooth rocks to make paperweights. Stick an orange full of cloves to make a clove-orange ornament. Take a good look at the raw materials you have in and around your home, and see if you can make something with them.</p> <h2>9. Give the Gift of Service</h2> <p>If you have a skill, consider offering a valuable service to a friend or relative. For instance, if you&rsquo;re handy around the house, offer to build bookshelves, paint a bedroom, or do some home repairs. <a href="">Shovel the snow</a> for a week for a neighbor. If you&rsquo;re a good cook, offer to privately cater a romantic dinner for two. If you&rsquo;re a freelancer, offer a free family photo session, a free blog post promoting a friend&rsquo;s business, a free makeover, or a free design consultation. (See also: <a href="">20 Great, Free Gifts</a>)</p> <h2>10. Donate Your Time</h2> <p>If you can&rsquo;t afford to spend money on gifts this year, consider donating your time instead. Suggest that instead of exchanging gifts, you and your family volunteer at a local soup kitchen, nursing home, or food bank, or cook a meal for a family in need. You&rsquo;ll capture the true meaning of the season &mdash; caring for others, which might just be the best gift you ever give yourself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Avoid Holiday Debt, Starting Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">20 Fitness Gifts for $15 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Buy These 9 Christmas Gifts Now and Save</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping Christmas gifts frugal gifts homemade gifts Tue, 13 Dec 2011 11:24:11 +0000 Camilla Cheung 818389 at 20 Fitness Gifts for $15 or Less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-fitness-gifts-for-15-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman stretching" title="woman stretching" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for inexpensive gifts or Christmas stocking stuffers for someone who&rsquo;s into fitness? Here are some ideas that will be readily available for $15 or less.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Moisture-Wicking Socks</h2> <p>These are handy for indoor and outdoor workouts. During the winter, wool socks with moisture-wicking capabilities are especially nice for staying warm and dry.</p> <h2>2. Gym Bag or Bin</h2> <p>A bag to carry a change of clothes, sneakers (or running or bike shoes), towel, water bottle, etc. is useful for those who want to work out before work, after work, or during lunch. A bin or basket to hold sports gear makes everything accessible when packing for an outing or race.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 340px;" /></p> <h2>3. Base-Layer Tops and Bottoms</h2> <p>Base layers worn under other clothing provide warmth during outdoor, cold-weather activities. Tops are essential to protect the core of the body, but depending on the climate, bottoms can be useful as well. Base layers should be lightweight, flexible, and have moisture-wicking capabilities, allowing for free movement during workouts.</p> <p>Generally, base-layer garments are expensive, but you can get basic lines at your favorite discount store (check out C9 at Target) or search for them on clearance at your favorite sports store or</p> <h2>4. Blinking Rear Bicycle Light</h2> <p>Every cyclist needs one of these, even those who don&#39;t plan on riding before sunrise or after sunset. Lights can make cyclists more visible in low-light conditions encountered in a rainstorm, in a foggy area, or on a tree-shaded road.</p> <h2>5. Bicycle Tire Tube</h2> <p>Tubes come in various sizes, so make sure you get the right size. Cyclists often like to keep replacement tires readily available in case they have a flat tire or want to rescue someone else who has a flat.</p> <h2>6. Bike Computer</h2> <p>A basic model can give a readout of miles traveled (total and per trip) and average miles per hour. Even casual cyclists can appreciate this device. As a scout merit badge counselor, I have recommended that cyclists use bike computers to track mileage and plan trips based on average speed.</p> <h2>7. Water Bottle</h2> <p>More experienced athletes probably have loads of water bottles, but beginners may not have acquired many yet.</p> <h2>8. Water Bottle Holder or Cage</h2> <p>Many bikes come with a water-bottle holder attached to the frame. Some bikes have no holder in place but have fasteners for either one or two water bottle holders. Runners may also carry water with them using devices that attach around the waist (these are called hydration waistpacks or hydration belts), but these are generally much more expensive than cycling-related holders.</p> <h2>9.&nbsp; Swim Goggles</h2> <p>A friend recommended the Barracuda brand, which I use now. They have a tight seal so that water doesn&rsquo;t seep in.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 340px;" /></p> <h2>10. Small Bag</h2> <p>Many cyclists need a bike bag to carry a spare tube, keys, cell phone, and food; a friend uses a second bag to carry a first aid kit. Runners may also like to carry a small bag that attaches around the waist to hold keys and a cell phone.</p> <h2>11. Race Belt</h2> <p>I don&rsquo;t have one of these but have seen people use them in running races and the running portion of triathlons. Race numbers attach to the belt so that safety pins are not necessary to attach the race number to clothing; safety pins can damage technical clothing.</p> <h2>12. Easy-to-Carry Sunscreen</h2> <p>Small containers of sunscreen and sunscreen wipes (or towelettes) are handy for those who need to reapply sunscreen during a long outdoor workout.</p> <h2>13. Jump Rope</h2> <p>Jumping rope can provide a great aerobic workout quickly.</p> <h2>14. Sports Watch</h2> <p>A sports watch with stopwatch capabilities can help runners time themselves when training and competing in a race. Watches with a heart rate monitor and GPS capabilities are much more expensive.</p> <h2>15. Fitness Snacks</h2> <p>These include energy gels, electrolyte chews, and less-expensive alternatives such as small boxes of raisins. Cyclists and long-distance runners will especially like these items, which they use to refuel when working out for hours at a time.</p> <h2>16. Shower Shoes</h2> <p>Pick up an off-brand at your favorite discount store. These are great to use in the gym or pool shower to avoid picking up germs.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 340px;" /></p> <h2>17. Cue Sheet Holder</h2> <p>I&#39;ve never used one of these but have seen others with them at cycling events.</p> <h2>18. Do Rag</h2> <p>Cyclists with thinning hair can protect their skin by wearing a do rag under a bike helmet.</p> <h2>19. Bike Lock</h2> <p>A lock is especially handy when traveling or running errands with a bike.</p> <h2>20. Visor</h2> <p>The visor can help keep hair out of eyes and hold sunglasses in place while running or&nbsp;hiking.</p> <p><em>If you have a favorite fitness gift that is $15 or less, share it in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Great Gifts for Teachers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">9 Ways to Make Money From Holiday Gifts You Don&#039;t Want</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Shopping cheap gifts Christmas gifts fitness frugal gifts holiday gifts Tue, 30 Nov 2010 13:00:07 +0000 Julie Rains 341904 at Christmas Shopping With Fake Money: Time to Get Started <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/christmas-shopping-with-fake-money-time-to-get-started" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="free wrapping paper" title="Last year I even got my wrapping paper for free." class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last year, I wrote about <a href="">Christmas shopping for my husband using &quot;fake money&quot;</a> and it generated some excitement among readers who wanted to try it themselves for Christmas 2010. This post is laying down the gauntlet: If you want to shop with fake money for this holiday season, it's time to get moving!</p> <p>The &quot;fake money&quot; I used last year came from <a href="">Swagbucks</a>, an Amazon promotional credit, my <a href="">PayPal</a> balance, store credits, coupons, and free offers. This year, I have a bigger goal: Do <em>all</em> my holiday shopping with fake money.</p> <p>Why do I feel that I can do this? Well, I have a lot more fake money this year. A little thing called <a href="">Groupon</a> gained steam since last holiday season, and I have earned many, many Groupon Bucks by promoting the excellent daily deals here and on my other blog. And I have a lot more points called SB from <a href="">Swagbucks</a> than I had last year too, thanks to readers who have signed up through me. (Seriously. <em>Thanks, readers</em>.)</p> <p>Here's what I am doing now, before the first green leaf has changed color, to prepare for Dec. 25:</p> <ol> <li>Sign up for free <a href=";;tag=myfufufa-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957">Amazon Prime</a>, which will allow me to ship my fake-money purchases for free. Right now you can get a year of free Prime through <a href=";;tag=myfufufa-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957">Amazon Student</a> (if you have a .edu email address), or three months if you sign up for <a href="">Amazon Mom</a>. That would end before Christmas, but you can extend it by a month every time you spend $25 on certain products.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Build up my SB. SB earned for your own searches build up gradually over time, but you can really rack them up if you <a href="">install the toolbar</a> and watch for new Swag Codes to be released, then use those to encourage your friends or contacts on Facebook and Twitter to sign up through you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Trade in SB for gift cards &mdash; and not spending them. Since there are limits on how many gift cards you can redeem during each two-week period and on each day, it's a good idea to start trading in SB for gift cards now in order to shop later.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Watch <a href="">Groupon</a> with an eye for gifts. Groupon will give you $10 for every new member who signs up through you and makes one purchase &mdash; and some deals go for as little as $5. Once you have some credits, keep an eye out for items that will make great gifts. Don't tell the people on my list, but a lot of them will be getting cashews and such from The Nutty Guys this year, since it's been featured several times on various cities' Groupon deals. (There are lots of <a href="">other daily deal sites too</a>, many of which also <a href="">pay affiliate fees</a> or <a href="">credits</a>.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Accumulating freebies that might go in gift baskets. Even though I'm busier than ever, I still stop into CVS and Walgreens to grab freebies using &quot;<a href="">the drugstore game</a>,&quot; and some of the items I get are quite valued by those I love. My Grandma is notoriously hard to buy for &mdash; but her eyes lit up last Christmas when she got my basket of ThermaCare wraps and Metamucil.</li> </ol> <p>So, who's with me? I'd love to hear your ideas on how to Christmas shop for free this year.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: I used my referral links to the various stores and reward programs I used, so if you would like to sign up for any of them through this post, I&nbsp;will receive a small payment or credit.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Make These 6 Credit Card Moves Now to Prepare for Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">I Went Christmas Shopping With Fake Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Things You Should Never Buy on Groupon or LivingSocial</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping christmas shopping frugal gifts groupon Holidays swagbucks Mon, 13 Sep 2010 12:00:07 +0000 Carrie Kirby 233584 at