cheap gifts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/747/all en-US 30 Meaningful Mother's Day Gifts for Every Budget http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/momday-dv1874025.jpg" alt="Mother&#039;s Day gift" title="Mother&#039;s Day gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like many holidays, we all know how commercialized Mother's Day can be. A lot of times people just give the typical flowers or chocolates, the same old requisite gifts. But, if you think beyond the generic, mainstream ideas, you can do something even more meaningful and budget-friendly at the same time.</p> <p>Check out this list of free or very affordable ideas that truly celebrate Mom and will make her day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas?ref=seealso">25 Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>1. Give Her the Gift of Sleep</h2> <p>This is especially a good one for moms of younger kids. Let Mom sleep in for once, and make sure she knows she has the morning to do so. Or, set a nap hour or two just for her on Mother's Day, complete with making her bed comfy and ready for a great nap, while you keep the kids entertained (or even better, out of the house for some peace and quiet).</p> <h2>2. Unique Subscriptions</h2> <p>A very considerate gift for Mom is a subscription to something she wouldn't necessarily splurge on herself. This could be a gift subscription to a cool online service, like <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10456885">Ancestry</a>.com for those interested in genealogy and family trees, <a href="http://partners.wantable.co/c/27771/54545/1319">Wantable</a> for the makeup and accessories lover,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gotravelbox.com">Travelbox</a> for the frequent traveler, or <a href="http://www.siriusxm.com">Sirius Radio</a> for moms who spend a lot of time in the car. Or, maybe it's as simple as a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/magazines/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=599858&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">magazine subscription</a> she would enjoy.</p> <h2>3. Bake Her Something (Even If It's Frozen Cookie Dough)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/momday-485652301-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Making your mom an awesome treat is always welcome, especially from those whom she would least expect (folks who can barely boil water, this means you!). Make it as simple as buying some premade cookie dough at the supermarket. If you can turn on your oven, you can make cookies. For those who enjoy baking, make her favorite pie, cake, or cupcakes from scratch, which is not only economical, but means a lot since it comes from you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake?ref=seealso">Delicious Gifts You Can Bake</a>)</p> <h2>4. Alma Mater School Gear</h2> <p>If your mom has fond college memories, try giving her some gear with her school name on it. This is far from a generic gift, and with so many choices from t-shirts to license plate holders, you can get creative. You can search online for shops affiliated with her school, or try shops like <a href="http://www.fansedge.com">FansEdge</a>, which carries items from most NCAA schools.</p> <h2>5. Do Some Yard Work for Her</h2> <p>A nice way to show you care is to spend some time doing something in the yard that your mom would either have to pay for or do herself. Whether you do some garden chores, mow, clean out the gutters, or wash the windows, there is always something that can be done that will save her time and money.</p> <h2>6. Write Her a Letter</h2> <p>Write a heartfelt letter to your mom telling her what a good job she has done and how much you love and appreciate her. Decorate the envelope or get some nice stationery paper if you want to make it fancy, but it's the words she will love most of all. And dads, don't forget this is also a very welcome gesture from you to the mother of your children.</p> <h2>7. Set Up an Awesome Spa-Like Bath</h2> <p>Surprise Mom by making a lovely spa experience for her in the comfort of her own home. Fill up the tub and add some bubble bath, light candles, play her favorite music, and put a glass of wine or other fun drink tub-side. Don't forget to leave her a robe and fluffy towel, too. If you really want to make a statement, throw in some rose petals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home?ref=seealso">Spa Treatments at Home</a>)</p> <h2>8. Custom Drawings and Paintings</h2> <p>For a unique gift, have a custom drawing or painting done. There are many artists on <a href="http://www.etsy.com">Etsy</a> who can draw or paint from a photo you send to make beautiful creations of things near and dear to Mom's heart, like pictures of her family, pets, and places she loves. Or, try sites like <a href="http://www.mydavinci.com">myDaVinci</a>, which also has some reasonable price points depending on style.</p> <h2>9. Throw a Different Kind of Brunch</h2> <p>While making a special brunch at home is always nice, go for something even more fun and unexpected. Put out a spread of afternoon tapas and some fresh-fruit sangria. You could also do a tea party with little sandwiches and sweets. Or, do a wine and cheese tasting for moms who appreciate wine. Finally, for a different spin, host an ice-cream sundae bar with tons of candy and fun toppings.</p> <h2>10. Surprise Her With Her Favorite Takeout</h2> <p>If you can't be there in person to take her out to a meal, you can order her favorite takeout and have it delivered to her on the big day. Set it up as a surprise and make sure she is home for the delivery. Have the restaurant provide a note saying it's from you, and be sure to order her favorite dish.</p> <h2>11. Paint Mini Flower Pots</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/momday-470672069-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Hit up a dollar store, craft store, or home store to find extremely cheap <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007NKE8J4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007NKE8J4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">mini terra-cotta flowerpots</a>. You can easily use most types of paint to decorate these little beauties in a matter of minutes. My four-year-old loves to do this, and we have given them as gifts to her grandmothers along with packs of seeds.</p> <h2>12. Go on a Movie Date Together</h2> <p>Plan a Mother's Day movie date and treat yourselves to a movie your mom would enjoy. Load up on popcorn and candy and have fun for the day together.</p> <h2>13. Make a Donation</h2> <p>Make a donation in your mom's name to a charity or cause she loves, like an animal rescue or research for a cure. You can send her a card letting her know the donation was made, or sometimes the organization will send a thank you directly. This is also a beautiful way to remember and honor your mom.</p> <h2>14. Give Practical Gift Certificates</h2> <p>Think of places that Mom always frequents, and where contributing a few extra dollars may make her life easier. Practical gift cards to places like the local grocery store, coffee shop, garden store, car wash, or hair salon are funds you know your mom will use. You can certainly give gift cards towards other things, like clothing retailers, but practical cards can also be extremely considerate.</p> <h2>15. Go on a Nature Walk Together</h2> <p>Set up a time to get together with mom and take a nice walk together. It doesn't matter where you live, as there are always options to get outdoors and look at the scenery. Hit up the parks or jogging trails, or travel to the nearest small town and window-shop.</p> <h2>16. Give Her Some Unusual Photo Gifts</h2> <p>Skip the #1 Mom coffee mug and try a different kind of photo gift. Branch out to more unique finds, like photo blankets, playing cards, and puzzles at sites like <a href="http://www.shutterfly.com">Shutterfly</a>. Or, try custom photo stamps at <a href="http://www.zazzle.com/photo+stamps?rf=238146035183010546">Zazzle</a>, which are cute and very practical. I especially like the <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11492501">custom Monopoly game</a> idea, complete with your own pictures and captions.</p> <h2>17. Make Her a Handmade Keepsake or Jewelry Box</h2> <p>Rather than spend a fortune on expensive retail jewelry boxes, you can easily make your own for a few bucks. All you need is a small woodworking box, which you can find in any craft store for under $5. Paint, stencil, or cover your box in glued-on stones or mosaics to make something beautiful. For a nice touch, glue a piece of felt to the inside bottom of the box.</p> <h2>18. Clean Something</h2> <p>Give Mom a break and clean her bathroom, kitchen, or the whole house. If you can't do it yourself, a less budget-friendly solution is to hire a professional cleaning service for a day or a month. If there are teenaged kids in the family, something as simple as getting them to clean their rooms for once may also do the trick.</p> <h2>19. Go Out for Coffee/Tea</h2> <p>Skip the costly and crowded restaurants on Mother's Day and take Mom out for a coffee or tea, which can be just as fun. Hit up a local coffee shop or find cute places in town that sell sweets along with coffee for a fun afternoon dessert together.</p> <h2>20. Get Her a Favorite Book</h2> <p>Your mom will appreciate the thought that goes into selecting a book that she would like. Perhaps it's a biography about someone she finds interesting, a band from her youth, a hobby, or a cool new idea she'd like. And, don't forget coffee table books with beautiful photos, which can be just as fun as novels. Be sure to inscribe a message to your mom in the front cover.</p> <h2>21. DIY a Birdhouse</h2> <p>A birdhouse makes a nice gift that your mom can always have in the yard or even keep inside as decor. You can simply buy a cool birdhouse, purchase an unfinished wood birdhouse and decorate it with paint or embellishments, or for the DIY crowd, <a href="http://www.bhg.com/gardening/design/birdhouses-baths/home-tweet-home/">build your own birdhouse</a> from scratch.</p> <h2>22. Go for a Game Outing</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/momday-186382623-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Treat your mom to a fun outing of games or outdoor activities that the whole family can do together. Ideas like miniature golf, flying kites, bowling, and places like Dave &amp; Busters are all great activities where the whole family can join and make a fun day for your mom in the process.</p> <h2>23. Fix Something Around the House</h2> <p>Take the time to fix something your mom really wants to get done around the house to show you care. Get creative and find out what affordable items you can check off her list, from organizing a closet to regrouting tile to touching up walls with paint. This is a great time for dads to work on that honey-do list, or for kids, young and old, to pitch in.</p> <h2>24. Give Her a Locket</h2> <p>Jewelry is always a nice gift for most women, but lockets are extra special due to the meaningful pictures inside. They also don't need to cost a fortune. You can find extremely cheap options online, at discount stores, or at thrift shops. Put a picture of you and your mom or the grandkids to make a personalized gift any mom would treasure.</p> <h2>25. Make Some Fancy Bath and Body Gifts</h2> <p>While a lot of folks give soap and bath gifts for Mother's Day, a unique and much more economical twist is to make the products yourself. There are some great recipes that are fairly simple to make, like <a href="http://wellnessmama.com/5837/natural-tinted-lip-balm-recipe/">homemade lip gloss</a>, <a href="http://www.theidearoom.net/2009/05/peppermint-foot-scrub-recipe.html">peppermint foot scrub</a>, and <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/280491/pantry-soaps?czone=holiday%2Fsantas-workshop%2Fsantas-handmade-gifts&amp;gallery=275209&amp;slide=280491&amp;center=307035">fancy pantry soaps</a>. Find cool containers and jars to hold your creations and decorate them with nice labels and twine for a finishing touch.</p> <h2>26. Wash Her Car</h2> <p>Help out Mom this Mother's Day and give her car a good wash. You can do it yourself, or take it to a professional car wash. Go the distance and make sure the interior is cleaned and the floors and mats are vacuumed as well.</p> <h2>27. Take Her on a Day Trip</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/momday-178708880-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>A day trip is an economical way to get away from home and celebrate Mother's Day together. Think of nearby places with an activity, like beaches, gardens, wine tasting, and cultural attractions. Make the journey just as special as the destination by taking special snacks, playing good music in the car, and having a nice chat.</p> <h2>28. Make Your Own Card</h2> <p>You don't need to be a kid to make a card. Warm any mother's heart with a thoughtful, handmade card that recognizes the good job she does. This is especially meaningful coming from an adult child. It doesn't matter what your card looks like, as any mom is sure to love the thought. However, if you need some help, <a href="http://printable-cards.gotfreecards.com/html5/index.html?cat=Mother%27s+Day&amp;pg=2">try free printable cards</a> where you can print out designs to color in yourself.</p> <h2>29. Go on a Picnic</h2> <p>Mother's Day is the perfect time of year to get outside. Pack a nice picnic lunch by picking up delicious deli items, fruits, and pastries, and head to a nearby park, open field, or anywhere relaxing to enjoy it together.</p> <h2>30. Spend Time Together</h2> <p>If you are lucky enough to be able to physically be with your mom on Mother's Day, just going over for a visit can be the most meaningful thing to any mother, especially if you don't do it often. Watch a movie on TV together, hang out and talk, or make a meal together. If you can't be face-to-face, try Skype or Facetime to have a nice conversation and see one another on a day that's all about her.</p> <p><em>What are some of your meaningful and budget-friendly Mother's Day ideas to add to the list?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget" class="sharethis-link" title="30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wrap-gifts-with-leftovers">How to wrap gifts with leftovers.</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="http://www.wisebread.com/inventor-of-mothers-day-wants-you-to-stop-wasting-money">Inventor of Mother&#039;s Day Wants You To Stop Wasting 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="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</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="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</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="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Frugal Living Life Hacks cheap gifts gifts Mom Mother's day Fri, 02 May 2014 09:00:25 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1137583 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_with_gift.jpg" alt="Child with a gift" title="Child with a gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don&rsquo;t want to spend too much money on Christmas presents. But you don&rsquo;t want to act Scrooge-like or look cheap. If you have more than a few people on your gift list (and some of those are far-flung relatives), then showing generosity and staying within your budget can be hard.</p> <p>In Christmases past, I have given presents to my husband and our two children plus seven sets of siblings and in-laws along with nine nieces and nephews (a grand total of 26 people). The skills and patience required to pull off this feat often exceeded my capacity. Because we lived in different cities than all of our relatives, we weren't attuned to their day-to-day lives. Plus, the obvious approach of asking for a wish list didn't always give me the information that I needed, either because the intended recipient couldn't think of anything or because suggestions were difficult to find or out of my price range. Plus just asking for a recommendation seemed business-like and not in keeping with the holiday spirit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-gifts-for-a-family-with-many-children">Buying Gifts for a Family&nbsp;With Many Children</a>)</p> <h3>Discover Interesting Stuff About Your Family Members</h3> <p>Finally, I learned that a few strategic conversations and a dash of creative thinking can help transform the holiday season from financially stretched and stressful to modest and merry. This approach has also helped me to learn even more about family members than the usual facts surrounding college majors and professional titles.</p> <p>Probing for certain information will allow you to find or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">make something</a> that is within your price range. Start a conversation that gives you insight into new-found and long-time interests, recently discovered and ongoing needs, career goals, and personal plans of your family members. If you won&rsquo;t be talking with these folks soon, send an email or Facebook message asking a few questions about what is going on in their lives. You can make general chit-chat with family members or let them know that you are asking questions to help with your holiday shopping.</p> <h3>Use Your Bargain-Hunting Skills to Find a Great Gift</h3> <p>Responses to your questions will point the way to the right selection with moderate effort at minimal cost. Choose items among your favorite gift genres (that is, a book if you enjoy giving books, clothing and accessories if you like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-buy-discounted-designer-clothing-online">fashion</a>, food if you are a great cook) as you will know how to snag bargains in categories that you shop for regularly.</p> <h3>Personalize Your Gift-Giving Approach Based on Ages and Life Stages</h3> <p>Exploring interests and selecting gifts for children, teens, and adults of all ages can be challenging. Adapt your conversation starters to the age, life stage, and temperament of the gift recipient. Consider these approaches:</p> <p><strong>Children</strong></p> <p>Watching children open presents is a blast, but the work involved in finding the right gift can be overwhelming. Instead of researching what&rsquo;s trendy and what&rsquo;s taboo, have a conversation with parents about their children.</p> <p>To learn more about the children on your gift lists, ask questions like these:</p> <ul> <li>Does she play with ________ (fill in the blank with possibilities, such as Legos, Barbie, Star Wars, Hello Kitty, etc.)?</li> <li>What books does he like to read or look at?</li> <li>Does she like art?</li> <li>What activities is he involved in?</li> </ul> <p>Depending on the responses, gift possibilities may be a book in a favorite series like <em>Biscuit&rsquo;s Day at the Farm</em> or <em>Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever</em>; small toys like a Hello Kitty Windup Toy or a Star Wars action figure; or accessories for themed toys, artwork, sports, etc., such as a LEGO Building Plate, gown for Barbie, washable markers, easel pad, or compass for a scout. When buying gifts, consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-search-of-safety-a-moms-8-step-guide-to-toy-selection-and-everyday-use">safety issues</a>, abide by age guidelines printed on packaging, and avoid trinkets in favor of sturdier items.</p> <p><strong>Teens and Tweens</strong></p> <p>Finding gifts for teenagers and tweens is especially treacherous. Similar to the challenge with children, keeping up with teen trends is difficult. Plus, many in this age group tend to be unrealistic in their expectations and uncommunicative about their interests. They are not necessarily spoiled or dejected; they may not be able to judge what is an appropriate request and tend to be fuzzy on what adults in their lives may already know about them.</p> <p>To find a gift that doesn&rsquo;t involve expensive computer games, ask these types of questions:</p> <ul> <li>What book or book series are you reading?</li> <li>What are your favorite college teams or professional teams?</li> <li>What activities are you involved in at school, volunteer agency, etc.?</li> <li>Are you playing any sports?</li> <li>Do you have any major projects or big trips scheduled for next year?</li> <li>Hey, I noticed that you like ____ (fill in the blank with a favorite television show, movie, store, etc.) on your Facebook page; can you tell me about that?</li> </ul> <p>Books are among my favorite gift genres, so I like to buy the next book in a series (for example, <em>Inheritance</em>, the latest and last book in the Inheritance Cycle was published in time for holiday gift giving). Or, you might pick up a biography about a favorite historical or sports figure, a compilation of stories about accomplished teens, a book relating to career goals, or a guide to navigating middle-school issues.</p> <p>For teens who have enough to read already, pick up gear or supplies for a hobby, athletic endeavor, scout project, volunteer activity, etc. or something that they will need as they mature. A wallet to hold a driver's license and charge card, an extra-durable key chain to keep up with house keys, or a multi-use tool to perform minor repairs may be valued both today and years from now. Apparel of favorite sports teams, like t-shirts or gym shorts, may be suitable for some and especially appreciated by parents of growing teens and &lsquo;tweens.</p> <p><strong>Adults </strong></p> <p>Finding the right gift for a sibling, in-law, niece, nephew, etc. starts with considering the life stage of the recipient. Those who are in college and getting established in a new job will often have different needs from those who are settled in their homes. Either way, learning about their lifestyles, interests, and plans for the upcoming year &mdash; whether applying for graduate school, getting ready to start a new job, preparing for a family addition, or training for a marathon &mdash; can help influence your gift selection.</p> <p>Ask these types of questions to kick off a chat:</p> <ul> <li>What are your plans for next year?</li> <li>What are you reading? Who are your favorite authors? What topics interest you?</li> <li>What are your hobbies?</li> <li>What types of fitness activities do you participate in? What events are you getting ready for?</li> <li>Are you planning a trip next year? Where are you going? When? What will you do there?</li> <li>Are you going to learn anything new next year?</li> <li>I saw on Facebook that you are ______ (fill in the blank with interests); can you tell me more about that?</li> </ul> <p>Adults who are on the move could use some practical travel gear, suitable for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-gift-ideas-for-adventure-travelers">adventure travel</a>, treks to and from college and their hometowns, work-related trips, or moves for a new job. Traditional moving or travel items, like storage bins and duffel bags, may also be appreciated. Mostly, you want to avoid items that are difficult to lug from place to place. And, as much as I would like to suggest items that can be had for a bargain, gift cards and cash are especially well-suited for those who are in transitional stages. To control your spending, pair a $5 or $10 gift card (or cash) with an inexpensive but highly practical item acquired at your local <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/strategic-thriftstore-shopping">thrift shop</a>.</p> <p>Those who are more settled may enjoy something that suits their reading preferences. The latest book for a favorite author is a great choice though somewhat expensive; alternatively, find a title published earlier in the author&rsquo;s career, after you've checked to make sure that the recipient has not read the selection. Books from your local used bookstore, <a href="http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php">paperbackswap.com</a>, thrift shop, <a href="http://www.half.ebay.com/">half.com</a>, etc. show thoughtfulness and protect your pocketbook.</p> <p>Inexpensive accessories, consumables, or supplies for hobbies, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-fitness-gifts-for-15-or-less">fitness activities</a>, and upcoming trips are great selections. These gifts can show others that you are thinking about them and have a genuine interest in their lives.&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-give-kids-cash-for-the-holidays">5 Reasons Why You Should Give Kids Cash for the Holidays</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="http://www.wisebread.com/11-last-minute-gift-ideas-for-under-15">10 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Under $15</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="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-gifts-for-a-family-with-many-children">Buying Gifts for a Family with Many Children</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="http://www.wisebread.com/20-fitness-gifts-for-15-or-less">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="http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities">10 Great Gifts for Teachers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Budgeting Family Shopping cheap gifts family gifts holiday gifts Mon, 12 Dec 2011 10:48:18 +0000 Julie Rains 816416 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Gifts You Can Make Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-gifts-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/holmakegift-186070383.jpg" alt="making jewelry" title="making jewelry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Homemade gifts are often more meaningful than store-bought gifts, and fortunately they&rsquo;re usually easy on the wallet too. For those who would like to save a buck or two on the next birthday, anniversary, or shower gift, or just like the idea of making something unique for a friend, here are 25 ideas for gifts that you can make with materials that are easily found at your local craft or hardware store. Many require little to no crafting skills, while others are a little more challenging, but definitely still doable for us amateurs! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake?ref=seealso">15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake</a>)</p> <h2>1. Friendship Bracelets</h2> <p>Friendship bracelets were all the rage when I was younger, and they remain an easy and pretty gift to make. If you know how to tie a knot, you can make one of these colorful <a href="http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2011/7/10/mollys-sketchbook-friendship-bracelets.html">macram&eacute; bracelets</a> from The Purl Bee, which can be made in several patterns.</p> <h2>2. Lace Earring Holder</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.u-createcrafts.com/2010/04/creative-guest-trey-and-lucy-lace.html">lace earring holder</a> from U-Create is the perfect gift for your favorite style maven. Spray-paint a thrifted picture frame in the color of your choice, and tack a pretty piece of lace onto the back for a quick and beautiful earring holder.</p> <h2>3. Sisal Rope Bowl</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2011/07/sisal-rope-bowl/">sisal bowl</a> by Centsational Girl looks so beautiful (not to mention expensive) and is the perfect easy gift to make as a housewarming or wedding gift. You need a cheap metal bowl, a coil of sisal rope, and some hot glue, and you&rsquo;re set. Try covering other items with sisal rope (like a jar or an old vase) for a fun variation.</p> <h2>4. Homemade Cake Stand</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holmakegift-168769160-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Use glass glue to attach a goblet or candlestick to the bottom of a pretty plate, and you can easily create a <a href="http://strawberry-chic.blogspot.com/2011/06/diy-tuesday-glass-cake-stand.html">lovely cake stand</a> like this one from Strawberry Chic! Use glass for a more traditional look, or spray paint the base for a more colorful finish. This cake stand is perfect for displaying a friend&rsquo;s birthday cake, and he gets to keep the stand at the end.</p> <h2>5. Framed Silhouettes</h2> <p>Classic framed silhouettes look great in anyone&rsquo;s home and make a thoughtful gift. All you need is a photograph with the person you want to silhouette in profile. Blow the photograph up to the size you want and print it out (black and white is fine) on your home printer. Cut out the head, neck, and tops of the shoulders. Trace around the shape you&rsquo;ve cut out onto black or colored paper (or better yet, a pretty patterned paper), and cut out the new shape. Glue it onto a contrasting background, and put it in a pretty frame. You don&rsquo;t have to do a profile; a whole-body silhouette of one person or several people works just as well.</p> <h2>6. Vintage Postage Stamp Coasters</h2> <p>Print these colorful <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2010/12/diy-project-jessicas-postage-stamp-coasters.html">vintage postage stamps</a> from Design*Sponge (which have already been resized for you) onto iron-on transfers to make these easy and unique coasters.</p> <h2>7. Homemade Lip Balm</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holmakegift-stk66470cor-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I made homemade lip balm recently, and I was surprised at how easy it was to make and how cute the resulting jars of lip balm turned out! Here&rsquo;s an easy tutorial for <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2010/12/small-measures-with-ashley-homemade-lip-balm.html">homemade lip balm</a> at Design*Sponge.</p> <h2>8. Customized Onesies</h2> <p>A wonderful gift for a baby shower, High Street Market has an easy tutorial for making <a href="http://highstreetmarket.blogspot.com/2011/06/custom-onesie-clothesline.html">customized onesies</a> for an expected baby. Just buy a few plain white onesies, print out designs onto iron-on transfers, and iron the designs onto the onesies. How cute!</p> <h2>9. Beaded Necklace With Ribbon</h2> <p>Martha Stewart&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/268720/jade-beaded-necklace-with-ribbon?backto=true&amp;backtourl=/photogallery/handmade-necklaces#slide_4">beaded necklaces</a> with ribbon are elegant and trendy. You don&rsquo;t have to use the same brand of beads &mdash; use whatever is available at your craft store.</p> <h2>10. Spray-Painted Bottle Bud Vases</h2> <p>Grab a four-pack of empty soda bottles (or a six-pack of beer bottles), remove the labels, and spray paint them to make these <a href="http://thecolorfullivingproject.blogspot.com/2011/05/spray-bottles-diy-project-part-one.html">sweet bud vases</a> from The Colorful Living Project. Spray-paint the cardboard bottle caddy too, and then put the dried bottles back into the caddy, fill with flowers, and you&#39;ve got a lovely set of matching bud vases for a charming gift.</p> <h2>11. Fruity Button Embroidered Napkins</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holmakegift-161823801-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Embellish store-bought fabric napkins with this cute <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/271473/fruity-button-embroidery-napkins">fruity button tutorial</a> from Martha Stewart. Small colorful buttons and some green embroidery thread form apples, oranges, and cherries in this easy project.</p> <h2>12. Tiny Polaroid Magnets</h2> <p><a href="http://www.ambrosiagirl.com/blog/tiny-polaroid-magnets/">Ambrosia Girl&#39;s adorable magnets</a> are personalized with tiny photographs in mini faux-Polaroid frames. Use pictures of yourself to ensure the receiver will think of you every time she sees them!</p> <h2>13. Cork Mouse Mat</h2> <p>This easy <a href="http://chillybear.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/cute-crafts-projects-to-make-as-christmas-gifts-6/">cork mouse mat</a> is made from a cork tile from your local hardware store. Stencil a design onto the cork using a homemade or store-bought stencil, a foam brush, and acrylic paint. Cut out the mat and spray it with a quick-drying clear protective sealer.</p> <h2>14. Recipe Cards</h2> <p>Print out this pretty <a href="http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2011/07/printable-recipe-cards.html">recipe card template</a> from How About Orange, and handwrite your favorite recipes onto them. Wrap the recipes with a ribbon, or place them in a box, and give them to your favorite budding chef.</p> <h2>15. Front Door Wreaths</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holmakegift-91716922-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>A perfect housewarming gift, a pretty floral front door wreath with house numbers on it is both attractive and practical. Simply hot glue some silk flowers and other decorations onto a grapevine wreath, available at your local craft store. See some great examples of <a href="http://missloviecreations.blogspot.com/2011/04/hydrangea-wreath.html">homemade wreaths</a> from Miss Lovie.</p> <h2>16. Wine Cork Trivet</h2> <p>Hot-glue together 31 wine corks to make this easy but rustically elegant <a href="http://www.craftynest.com/2009/07/wine-cork-trivet/">trivet</a> from Crafty Nest, perfect for the wine-lover in your life.</p> <h2>17. Fruit Bouquet</h2> <p>Here&rsquo;s a yummy alternative to bringing a bouquet of flowers. Stick assorted fruit onto skewers and arrange them artistically in a vase. There are a few ideas for different kinds of <a href="http://www.diylife.com/2011/05/03/edible-arrangements-make-a-fruit-veggie-or-cupcake-bouquet/">fruit bouquets</a> at DIY Life.</p> <h2>18. Fabric Yo-yo Flowers</h2> <p>A fabric yo-yo is basically a circle of fabric gathered together in the middle to form a flower-like shape. Use them to decorate pins, headbands, T-shirts, magnets, hair clips, and more. Heather Bailey has a clearly illustrated <a href="http://heatherbailey.typepad.com/photos/how_to_make_a_yoyo/hbyoyotutorial1.html">guide to making a fabric yo-yo</a>.</p> <h2>19. Canvas Doily Stencil Bag</h2> <p>This stylish bag is a cinch to make with some fabric paint, a paper doily for a stencil, and a paintbrush. Just pick up a plain canvas tote bag at the craft store and follow this easy tutorial for a <a href="http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2009/11/21/diy-doily-canvas-bag/">doily stencil bag</a> from Ashley Ann Photography.</p> <h2>20. Lavender Sachets</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll need a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-sew-easy-to-save">sewing machine</a> and rudimentary sewing skills to sew these fragrant lavender sachets that can be tucked among linens. Find the step-by-step <a href="http://sew4home.com/projects/pillows-cushions/466-last-minute-gift-pillows-fragrant-lavender-sachets">sachet tutorial</a> at Sew4Home.</p> <h2>21. Teacup Candles</h2> <p>Martha Stewart has a <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/273016/teacup-lights?backto=true&amp;backtourl=/photogallery/mothers-day-gifts#slide_58">tutorial for sweet candles</a> contained in antique teacups (easily found at thrift stores or flea markets). Old, partially burned candles are melted down and get new life in this beautiful gift.</p> <h2>22. Mason Jar Soap Dispenser</h2> <p>These rustic-looking mason jars are super-easy, and they make wonderful housewarming gifts. Drill a hole in the top of a vintage, thrifted mason jar and insert a soap pump from an old bottle of soap. Hot glue the pump into place and you&#39;re ready to go! Read the <a href="http://theblissfullycontentlife.blogspot.com/2010/08/homemade-christmas-canning-jar-soap.html">soap dispenser tutorial</a> at Blissfully Content.</p> <h2>23. S&#39;mores Gift Box</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holmakegift-88296016-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Do you have a friend who loves these marshmallow-chocolate treats? Make an easy s&#39;more gift box by putting graham crackers, marshmallows, and tablets of chocolate in a pretty transparent box or bag, and then tie it with a ribbon for a quick and easy gift.</p> <h2>24. Hand-Drawn Monogram Mugs</h2> <p><a href="http://www.designmom.com/2010/11/diy-monogram-mugs/">Design Mom</a> bought a few white mugs from the thrift store and hand-drew lovely monograms onto the cups using a porcelain pen (available at craft stores). After baking them in your oven, the cups will become pretty, personalized, and dishwasher-safe gifts.</p> <h2>25. Doily Table Runner</h2> <p>Pick up a few inexpensive crocheted doilies from an antique or thrift store, and sew them together to make this gorgeous vintage doily table runner. Ashley Ann Photography has the <a href="http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2009/12/16/diy-doily-table-runner/">tutorial</a> for this fresh take on a vintage look.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other ideas for handmade gifts?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Gifts You Can Make Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-3"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-uses-for-a-slow-cooker">10 Cool Uses for a Slow Cooker</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="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</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="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</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="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-coupons-20-great-free-gift-ideas">20 Great, Free Gift Ideas</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="http://www.wisebread.com/14-cool-things-you-can-make-with-an-ice-cube-tray">14 Cool Things You Can Make With an Ice Cube Tray</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> DIY Lifestyle cheap gifts crafts creative gifts easy Wed, 27 Jul 2011 10:36:06 +0000 Camilla Cheung 632644 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Father’s Day Gifts Dads Actually Want for Under $100 http://www.wisebread.com/10-father-s-day-gifts-dads-actually-want-for-under-100 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-father-s-day-gifts-dads-actually-want-for-under-100" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fathers_day.jpg" alt="Dad and son" title="Dad and son" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was a kid, shopping for Father's day was very hard. What do you get a man who has everything, wants nothing, and never wears a tie? Oh, the agony.</p> <p>But nowadays, it's much easier to surprise dad with a gift he'll not only like but also enjoy. To help narrow your choices, I've picked 10 items &mdash; many with exclusive discounts just for you &mdash; that will leave your pops feeling elated and appreciated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-gifts-the-man-in-your-life-really-wants">8 Gifts the Man in Your Life Really Wants</a>)</p> <h3>1. Grace Digital Audio Eco Extreme ($49.99)</h3> <p><img width="350" height="527" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/EcoExtreme.jpg" alt="Eco Extreme" /></p> <p>If your poppa bear gets all Bear Grylls when he&rsquo;s out with his buddies, the <a href="http://www.GraceDigitalAudio.com">Eco Extreme</a> from Grace Digital Audio &mdash; an all-terrain waterproof speaker case &mdash; is the perfect present to keep his gadgets safe while he moves to the groove. The dirt- and water-resistant design protects mobile phones, MP3 players, and personal items (like credit cards, a driver&rsquo;s license, and cash) from whatever nature throws his way. And so dad doesn&rsquo;t lose it &mdash; like he&rsquo;s known to do &mdash; the Eco Extreme includes a two-inch detachable carabineer to clip to his belt loop or backpack. Wise Bread readers can save 25% off and receive free shipping with discount code BEST25 at <a href="http://www.GraceDigitalAudio.com">Grace Digital Audio</a>.</p> <h3>2. PowerSkin ($49.99-$79.99)</h3> <p><img width="350" height="350" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u931/PowerSkin_iPhone4_Front_Front_Phone_Out.jpg" /></p> <p>When dad&rsquo;s battery is dead by quittin&rsquo; time, he&rsquo;ll tell you it&rsquo;s because of his all-day conference calls. But you know better; he went on an Angry Birds bender, and he&rsquo;s embarrassed to admit it. Give the guy a break with <a href="http://www.power-skin.com">PowerSkin</a>, a lightweight, flexible case that extends talk (and play) time from four-and-a-half to eight hours on many available smartphones, including the iPhone 4, BlackBerrys, and Droid X.</p> <h3>3. Scosche goBATII ($79.99)</h3> <p><img width="350" height="352" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u931/goBAT%20II%20-%20Connected.jpg" /></p> <p>Modern dads have a lot of devices &mdash; phones, laptops, tablet PCs &mdash; and they all require power. The <a href="http://www.scosche.com">Scosche goBATII</a> &mdash; a dual-USB portable charger and backup battery &mdash; will add extra juice whenever he needs it with an internal 5000 maH rechargeable lithium-ion pack that, when fully energized, can revive to capacity a drained iPhone 4 more than two-and-a-half times. It also includes a 10 watt port that&rsquo;s just right for charging Kindles, iPads, and virtually any other USB powered handheld toy. Wise Bread readers can save 15% with code WISEBREAD until June 19 at <a href="http://www.scosche.com">Scosche</a>.</p> <h3>4. Bonobos Washed Chinos ($88)</h3> <p><img width="350" height="525" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/BonobosWashedChinos.jpg" alt="Bonobos Chinos" /></p> <p>For more than 40 years, cotton has been the fabric of our lives (at least that&rsquo;s how long that catchy marketing campaign has been around), but it&rsquo;s never looked as good as it does when it's reincarnated as <a href="http://www.bonobos.com/landing.php/5">Bonobos Washed Chinos</a>. Because not only are these khakis ultra stylish with names like Graham Slackers and Grey Dogs and outfitted with preppy plaid liners, they&rsquo;re made with a curved waistband, medium rise, and tailored thighs to combat the baggy, saggy American cut that makes dad look dumpy. Bonobos Washed Chinos are available in boot cut and straight leg in British khaki, olive green, light grey, and navy blue. First-time customers can save $50 on a purchase of $100 or more &mdash; plus free shipping &mdash; at <a href="http://www.bonobos.com/landing.php/5">Bonobos</a>.</p> <h3>5. Coby High-Def Camcorder ($119.99)</h3> <p><img width="350" height="350" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u931/CobyCam.jpg" /></p> <p>Flip Video may have called it quits, but the <a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Coby+-+High-Definition+Camcorder+with+2%22+Color+LCD+Monitor+-+Black/9875664.p?id=1218187080271&amp;skuId=9875664&amp;cmp=RMX&amp;ref=06&amp;loc=01&amp;ci_src=14110944&amp;ci_sku=9875664">Coby HD Camcorder</a> is still workin&rsquo; hard for your money. This handheld wonder allows users to record high-def video in 1280x720 resolution on a 2&rdquo; TFT-LCD color display with 4X digital zoom and comes equipped with 128MB of built-in memory. Also included is a carrying case, hand strap (so dad doesn&rsquo;t drop it in the lake), a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, software, and an owner&rsquo;s manual. At press time, the camcorder was <a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Coby+-+High-Definition+Camcorder+with+2%22+Color+LCD+Monitor+-+Black/9875664.p?id=1218187080271&amp;skuId=9875664&amp;cmp=RMX&amp;ref=06&amp;loc=01&amp;ci_src=14110944&amp;ci_sku=9875664">on sale at Best Buy</a> for $54.14 plus free shipping.</p> <h3>6. Sprayground Backpack ($48)</h3> <p><img width="350" height="447" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u931/Soldiers1%20copy.jpg" /></p> <p>Founded by street-artist DBD, <a href="http://www.sprayground.net">Sprayground</a> recently launched a line of backpacks that have all the style young dads want combined with the functionality they need. The bags &mdash; which have been featured on Gizmodo, MTV.com, and Time Out New York, among other popular blogs and magazines &mdash; feature a plush velour-lined notebook compartment that fits up to a 17&rdquo; laptop as well as an interior slip pocket for an iPad/tablet PC, while the main compartment includes inner slip pockets and zippers for organization and other media, like MP3 players and mobile phones. <a href="http://www.sprayground.net">Receive 20% off your Sprayground purchase</a> with code JUNE until June 15.</p> <h3>7. G-Form Extreme iPad Sleeve ($59.95)</h3> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/GFormExtreme.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Dads were made to be rough and rugged. How else you gonna get that shed built out back? But being a man&rsquo;s man has its disadvantages, like, for instance, his iPad is thisclose to total destruction. Enter the <a href="http://www.g-form.com">G-Form Extreme iPad Sleeve</a>, made of soft, flexible, light-weight RPT technology that instantly stiffens upon impact and absorbs more than 90 percent of the energy resulting from a drop. Sounds too good to be true, but it isn&rsquo;t. In fact, it&rsquo;s proven to protect the device from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOuST53EHFQ&amp;feature=youtu.be">a 12-pound bowling ball drop</a> and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKNdknJI53Q&amp;feature=youtu.be">a 500-feet free-fall from an airplane</a>. You just know pops is totally gonna try that at home.</p> <h3>8. Native Shoes ($45)</h3> <p><img width="605" height="289" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u931/GLM01_TR_profile.jpg" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.nativeshoes.com">Native Shoes</a> may look like the evolution of the Croc, but they're so much more. Made from foam-injected molded EVA, they form to your feet for a lightweight, waterproof, washable, and odor-resistant <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-case-for-expensive-shoes">shoe</a> that lets dad step out in style. Inspired by classic silhouettes &mdash; such as Converse, Sperrys, and Keds &mdash; Native Shoes are uber eco-friendly, too. The manufacturing process contains low-energy emissions, is animal byproduct-free and produces zero waste &mdash; so there's no carbon footprint even when your baby daddy is kickin' it with the boys.</p> <h3>9. Snugli Baby Carrier ($39.99-$79.99)</h3> <p><img width="350" height="525" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u931/Snugli.jpg" /></p> <p>It&rsquo;s not just long-time men-of-the-houses who deserve a great gift on Father&rsquo;s Day. New dads are equally &mdash; if not more &mdash; deserving of a little something special on that second Sunday in June. Designer Jennifer Delonge identified that wide-open space in the marketplace with <a href="http://www.snugli.com">Snugli</a>, the recently released (and totally adorable!) baby carrier that will make hearts melt when your guy walks by. Available in four styles and 12 masculine patterns, Snugli features best-in-class technology such as one-handed buckles, breathable fabrics, and self-adjusting back straps.</p> <h3>10. RumbaTime Watch ($35)</h3> <p><img width="605" height="361" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u931/greenwich_group_02.jpg" /></p> <p>David Beckham is a global style icon, and he earned that status by making bold fashion choices. Like sporting <a href="http://www.rumbatime.com">RumbaTime watches</a>, a fun, fresh, and funky line of affordable wrist pieces available in a variety of styles and colors. New to the line is the Greenwich collection, a classic twist on time that references the exclusive stretch of its namesake street in Manhattan. Your man not a fan of Becks? Never fear. RumbaTime has plenty of other celeb clientele &mdash; like Steve Carrel, Kobe Bryant, Ben Affleck, Dwayne &ldquo;The Rock&rdquo; Johnson, and Matthew McConaughey &mdash; from whom he can take his cue.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: The author of this post handles publicity for Sprayground but will receive no incentives for its inclusion in this gift guide.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-father-s-day-gifts-dads-actually-want-for-under-100" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Father’s Day Gifts Dads Actually Want for Under $100" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-father-s-day-gifts-dads-actually-want-for-under-100">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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="http://www.wisebread.com/10-expensive-things-that-look-cheap">10 Expensive Things That Look Cheap</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="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</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="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-find-inexpensive-accessories">10 Places to Find Inexpensive Accessories</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="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-buy-discounted-designer-clothing-online">Where to Buy Discounted Designer Clothing Online</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="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-money-on-ipads-iphones-and-macs">6 Ways to Save Money on iPads, iPhones, and Macs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Shopping Style Technology cheap gifts Father's Day gifts for men Tue, 07 Jun 2011 10:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 562260 at http://www.wisebread.com Beat the Clock with Frugal and Simple Valentine's Day Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/beat-the-clock-with-frugal-and-simple-valentines-day-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beat-the-clock-with-frugal-and-simple-valentines-day-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/roses.jpg" alt="Roses" title="Roses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That sweet, gentle ticking isn't the beating of your loved one's heart.</p> <p>It's the clock, cruelly counting down the minutes remaining until another paycheck-draining Valentine's Day (ah, romance).</p> <p>OK, so it isn't quite that bleak, but the average consumer is projected to spend $116 this year on V-Day gifts, up 11% from last year, according to the <a href="http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&amp;op=viewlive&amp;sp_id=1075">National Retail Federation</a>. All told, Americans will shell out more than $15 billion on Valentine's Day items. But the reality is that couples don't have to empty their pockets in order to have a memorable, romantic day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weird-things-you-didnt-know-about-valentines-day">Weird Things You Didn't Know About Valentine's Day</a>)</p> <p>There are myriad inexpensive alternatives that are likely to generate the same kind of spark and memories as that <a href="http://www.gemvara.com/Really-Romantic-Gifts/jewelry/l/romantic-gifts/">heart-shaped bling</a> or a multi-course meal at a heralded restaurant. Here are just a few ways you can have an unforgettable Valentine&rsquo;s Day without breaking your budget:</p> <h3>Disregard the Calendar</h3> <p>Since Valentine&rsquo;s Day is on a Monday this year, it may be inconvenient to celebrate at the beginning of the work week. Likewise, most couples will probably make plans for the preceding weekend. Ask your significant other if it&rsquo;s OK to make plans for the following weekend. Also, after February 14 the corny gifts &mdash; chocolate, roses, teddy bears &mdash; hit the sales shelves.</p> <h3>Remember: The Little Things Count</h3> <p>Just because Hallmark and Zales advertise extravagant gifts doesn&rsquo;t mean you need to go big or go home. Pepper the romance throughout the day by writing notes and strategically locating them in your lover&rsquo;s pocket, car, purse, or lunch. Gifts can be cheap, especially when they reference inside jokes or show what you know. Mix CDs, scrapbooks, and photo collages are easy, thoughtful alternatives. For the less crafty and more traditional types, send a love letter via snail mail.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Use Coupons</h3> <p>Seriously. No one needs to know. Use an online portal like <a href="http://www.rateitall.com">Rate It All</a> to hunt down great deals on, um, <a href="http://www.rateitall.com/t-8914809-victorias-secret-coupon-codes.aspx">personal apparel</a>.</p> <h3>Show Off Your Culinary Skills</h3> <p>Breakfast in bed is always a great choice. Try prepping a nice lunch that you can deliver to your partner&rsquo;s workplace on your lunch hour. Then, wow him or her with a stellar dinner. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-affordable-ingredients-that-add-gourmet-flair-to-any-meal">Gourmet food at home</a> is guaranteed to be cheaper than going to a restaurant and comes without the hustle and bustle. Turn on some romantic tunes, dim the lights, and encourage nice attire to make it special.</p> <h3>Don't Forget Technology</h3> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t take tons of creativity to start a blog, and it&rsquo;s free. From now until February 14, post one or two sentences each day. Nothing needs to be poetry, but keep it genuine. Try by simply listing a little thing you adore each day. Come Valentine&rsquo;s Day, you&rsquo;ll have a list of sweet things to present to your lover. If you&rsquo;re willing to spend some cash, look for a digital picture frame. You can use a memory disk to load memorable photos.</p> <p>No matter how appealing and convenient those commercials portray expensive gifts, put forth a little energy to save some scratch and deliver a romantic, meaningful gift.</p> <p>Cliché it may be, but it's true nonetheless: So often, it is the thought that counts. Mimicking an advertisement doesn&rsquo;t require much thought, just more money.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-the-clock-with-frugal-and-simple-valentines-day-ideas" class="sharethis-link" title="Beat the Clock with Frugal and Simple Valentine&#039;s Day Ideas" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-the-clock-with-frugal-and-simple-valentines-day-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-5"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-dreaming-of-a-frugal-christmas-6-things-you-can-make-that-people-on-your-list-will-use-and-w">Dreaming of a Frugal Christmas: 6 Things You Can Make That People on Your List Will Use and Want</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="http://www.wisebread.com/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers">Flower Power - A Guide to Frugal Valentine&#039;s Flowers</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="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</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="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make 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="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-steps-to-buying-lingerie-for-your-wife-girlfriend-or-significant-other">4 Easy Steps to Buying Lingerie for Your Wife, Girlfriend, or Significant Other</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> DIY Shopping cheap gifts romantic Valentine's Day Thu, 10 Feb 2011 14:00:10 +0000 Chris Birk 489465 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Gifts You Can Get Through Bartering http://www.wisebread.com/5-gifts-you-can-get-through-bartering <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-gifts-you-can-get-through-bartering" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/massage.jpg" alt="Massage" title="Massage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="159" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A frugal holiday doesn't need to be a giftless one. Whether you&rsquo;re in a service industry, a professional, or just a frugal gift-giver willing to work, you can barter your time and services for wonderful gifts that have real value. Save money without cheaping out by bartering for these in-demand gifts that friends and family will actually appreciate and use.</p> <h2>Music Lessons</h2> <p>Ideal for music lovers, children, and would-be rock stars, bartered music lessons make an incredible gift. Fun and enriching, not only does playing an instrument provide a valuable creative outlet to adults and children alike, but studies have shown that music education helps children develop valuable skills like critical thinking, creative problem solving, and teamwork. Maybe that's why kids who take music lessons are also more likely to achieve in other subjects like math and science.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ranging in price from $30-$100 an hour, music lessons can be a substantial investment, but they're a gift that's sure to be remembered for a lifetime. Before bartering for lessons, however, be sure to determine what instrument you're bartering for (or, alternately, find a swap-friendly instructor who is multi-talented and can teach several different instruments) and whether or not lessons will include instrument rental. Need an actual instrument? Well, you can always barter for that too!</p> <h2>Massages</h2> <p>Who doesn't like a nice, relaxing deep-tissue massage? Not only does massage therapy feel amazing, but good bodywork carries a host of health benefits, including improved circulation, increased joint flexibility, and improved tissue regeneration. Ideal for people in stressed-out situations, massage therapy can go a long way in repairing the damage that a high-stress, fast-paced lifestyle can do.</p> <p>When swapping for body work, keep in mind that professional massages start at about $60 an hour and generally cost more at spas than at doctor and chiropractic offices. Also, although it's pretty easy to find personal massage therapists willing to barter for services, it's much more difficult to find a massage therapist who works in a medical practice to do so, so you may want to target beauty spas instead.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Oil Changes</h2> <p>With the average cost of car ownership hovering around $6,000 a year, most people are thankful for anything that takes a bite out of that bill. Not only are oil changes a nice, practical gift that most people can appreciate, but they also come in handy year round.</p> <p>Depending on how comprehensive the oil change is, prices can range from $20 to $75 each. If you're planning on giving a year's worth of changes, how many oil changes you'll want to give will depend on the age of the car. For the most part, 2002 models and older need oil changes every 3,000 miles, and models newer than that need changes every 3,000 to 10,000 miles.</p> <h2>Salon Services</h2> <p>The great thing about hair salon gifts is that they're versatile. Whether you're bartering for a trendsetting friend with a short, sassy pixie or giving a not-so-subtle hint to your mom that it's time to drop the bouffant, bartering with a hair salon can cover a number of gift-giving options.</p> <p>Because hair salon services are priced according to service and not time, pricing covers a wide range. In general, expect a standard cut from a salon to start at around $26, with prices increasing beyond that based on length of hair, coloring, and styling options.</p> <h2>Art Lessons</h2> <p>As sad as it is, there are plenty of talented starving artists out there willing to barter their talent and training. Whether you're looking to barter for painting, drawing, or ceramics lessons, there are usually plenty of bartering artists to choose from, each with his or her own style and perspective. Just like with music lessons, when you're bartering for art lessons, be sure to determine what supplies (if any) will be included in each lesson.</p> <p>Expect prices for art lessons to vary a lot, based not only on medium and supplies but on the skill of the artist as well. More established artists will inevitably be able to barter their skills (and work) at a higher rate than lesser-known ones.</p> <h2>What Can You Barter?</h2> <p>Think you don&rsquo;t have anything worth bartering? Think again. Just about anything can be bartered. Barterers don&rsquo;t just trade things, they also trade professional and personal services too. Are you a plumber, electrician, accountant, web designer, or mechanic? Then you have in-demand skills that you can use to trade for gifts. Are you an artist or musician? Then you have highly specialized skills that you can use to trade for objects, performances, and lessons. And if you don&rsquo;t have a trade to tap into, there are loads of personal services you can offer: daycare, housekeeping, pet walking, and personal gopher are just a few. Bartering is less about having the right skills and more about finding the right trading partner and working out a trade.</p> <h2>Where to Start Bartering</h2> <p>If you're new to bartering, you'll want to learn from the pros, so be sure to check out bartering best practices and sites online. And don't forget to go where all the blue-blood barterers go: <a href="http://www.craigslist.com">Craigslist</a>. Not only does Craiglist give you a venue for finding first-rate local swappers, but it's also free to post and peruse. To find what's on the bartering table, select the &quot;barter&quot; link from beneath the &quot;for sale&quot; header. Items regularly available for bartering include professional and personal services, cars, and gift certificates.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-gifts-you-can-get-through-bartering" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Gifts You Can Get Through Bartering" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Jenn Silva is a new freelance writer from the Midwest. She appreciates simple living and a nice cup of tea. Read more from Jenn:<a href="http://www.suite101.com/content/how-to-find-the-best-cheap-wines-a313457"><br /> </a></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.suite101.com/content/how-to-find-the-best-cheap-wines-a313457">How to Find the Best Cheap Wines</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.suite101.com/content/time-management-3-eco-friendly-ways-to-save-time-every-day-a313187">Time Management: 3 Eco-Friendly Ways to Save Time Every&nbsp;Day</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.suite101.com/content/go-green-6-eco-friendly-ways-to-save-money-a311486">Go Green: 6 Eco-Friendly&nbsp;Ways to Save Money</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jenn-silva">Jenn Silva</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-gifts-you-can-get-through-bartering">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-6"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away">Make 5 cheap ‘greeting cards’ that blow Hallmark away.</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="http://www.wisebread.com/barter-explained-why-its-wise-to-barter">Barter Explained: Why It&#039;s Wise to Barter</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="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">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="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15">5 Easy-to-Make Deluxe Gifts for Under $15</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="http://www.wisebread.com/get-more-for-your-old-treadmill-by-bartering">Get More for Your Old Treadmill by Bartering</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Frugal Living barter cheap gifts Christmas gift ideas Wed, 22 Dec 2010 13:00:10 +0000 Jenn Silva 406094 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy-to-Make Deluxe Gifts for Under $15 http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4806570330_99f5dbfd9e_z.jpg" alt="flowering cactus" title="flowering cactus" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As of last week, my home, Dinky Manor, has become my own personal sweatshop.&nbsp;Even though I don&rsquo;t personally celebrate wintertime holidays that involve gift giving, just about everyone I care about does. Alas, my entire budget for gifts this year is $200 for everyone. So here I am, knitting mittens for my hoards of nieces, canning donated backyard fruit into exotic jams for my friends and neighbors, and planning a weekend baking marathon that will involve the creation and decoration of 80 dozen cookies to give to everyone else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving" title="31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving">31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving</a>)</p> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got a little time and a little knowledge, it&rsquo;s easy to create beautiful gifts for a few dollars. For example, last year I bought a thick Calvin Klein cashmere sweater at Goodwill, unraveled the sweater, and re-knit the yarn into four cashmere hats for my girlfriends. Had I bought the hats new, they would have cost $75 each at least, but since I knit them myself, they cost me $2 each.</p> <p>But what if you don&rsquo;t know how to sew or don&rsquo;t have the time to knit for other people? What if your apartment doesn&rsquo;t have an oven? With a little creativity and some planning, you can still give thoughtful, memorable, and even luxurious gifts for less than $15 a piece.</p> <h2>A Lasting Baby Gift</h2> <p>When I don&rsquo;t have time to knit a baby sweater, my default <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-the-most-fabulous-and-frugal-baby-shower-of-all-time" title="How to Throw the Most Fabulous (and Frugal) Baby Shower of all Time">baby-shower</a> gift has always been a huge stack of cloth diapers. Since all of my friends seem to be cloth-diaper users, everyone loves this gift because they:</p> <ol> <li>Never have enough clean diapers.</li> <li>Never get enough cloth diapers as gifts because diapers are the &ldquo;boring&ldquo; gift on the registry.</li> <li>Use the cloth diapers for decades after the baby is done with them as the softest, most absorbent cleaning towels.</li> </ol> <p>A dozen new cloth diapers cost about $12, but what makes my $12 diaper gift the star of every baby shower is my presentation. I wrap the diapers in plain brown craft paper, but then I tie a sterling baby spoon to the top of the package with a satin ribbon. I buy the sterling silver baby spoons for $1 to $3 at swap meets, garage sales, and antique stores and store the little spoons for future gift giving in my silverware drawer, so they are easy to find when I need them (and don&rsquo;t take up additional storage space).</p> <p>This present is a huge hit because the gift combines two ultra-practical gifts that are gender-neutral and last forever. The shiny spoon and the satin ribbon make a $12 gift of diapers look <em>really </em>expensive. On several occasions I&rsquo;ve actually lucked out with the perfect monogram already engraved on the antique spoon, which is just all kinds of win.</p> <h2>Great Greens</h2> <h3>The Re-Blooming Wedding Present</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got even a borderline green thumb and a tiny patch of sunlight, you can give your newlywed friends a present of &ldquo;<a href="http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/southerngarden/roseprop.html">wedding roses</a>.&rdquo; If your friend has roses in her bouquet or in her centerpieces, ask if you can take some with you at the end of her wedding day &ldquo;for a surprise.&rdquo; Once you get the roses home, cut off the blooms and all the leaves. Then cut two inches off the bottom of the stems at an angle. Cut the naked stems into lengths that are about as long as a pencil. Dip the cut end of the stem pieces into Rootone or another rooting hormone (willow water, made with from soaking fresh cut willow twigs in water, works great too), and plant the stems in damp potting soil. Water regularly. The rose cuttings will take root within two weeks, eventually becoming tiny rose plants. Remember, Emily Post says that everyone has a year to send a wedding gift. By the time the couple&rsquo;s first anniversary rolls around, you should have at least one surviving wedding rose plant (if not a dozen) to gift to the couple for their garden.</p> <h3>Succulents for Friends and Co-Workers</h3> <p>You can turn other plants into beautiful, long-term gifts as well. <a href="http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-projects/propagate-succulents-00400000011657/">Succulents</a> and cacti are very easy to propagate from cuttings. In general, low-water plants will create their own pups that you just have to separate from the mother plant and repot. I have a round cactus that I got as a gift years ago from a friend. Every year I split the &ldquo;mother&rdquo; cactus into ten separate little baby plants and repot them into little ceramic pots that I buy for $1 or less at garages sales or thrift stores. These cacti, which flower in the summer with fist-sized yellow blooms, are unique stocking stuffers and truly the gift that keeps on giving.</p> <h3>Orchids: Solve a Mystery, Save Some Moolah</h3> <p>Another great plant gift buy is the &ldquo;mystery orchid.&rdquo; Since most garden stores are strapped for space, they don&rsquo;t want to take the time to water and care for the orchids after they&rsquo;ve bloomed until they re-bloom. Mystery orchids are the plants that have already bloomed, but not sold, and I buy all my orchids off the sale table at my local garden store for under $5. Although orchids have a reputation of being difficult, they only need to be watered once a week and are actually pretty hard to kill. Orchids make great gifts for men or women and are my favorite thank-you gift to send to business associates, as they match any interior and last much longer than cut flowers.</p> <h2>Signed Books for Bibliophiles</h2> <p>Since part of my job involves working with writers, publishers, and book agents, I attend a lot of book-related events. One of my least-expensive, but certainly sneakiest, gifts for friends is getting their favorite books inscribed by their favorite authors. Obviously, the easiest way to get a book signed by an author is to buy a book at a book signing. While I would personally love to support my local bookstores and authors, purchasing multiple copies of books for gifting, alas, is not in my budget. So, I&rsquo;ve figured out a low-budget method of book inscription. The easiest part of this gift is asking the author for a signature or inscription. The hardest part of this gift is stealing your friends&rsquo; beloved books off the shelves in their homes without them noticing.</p> <p>Since attending book signings is not something that is easy for everyone, most people can create this gift via the U.S. Postal Service. Some writers will sign books that are sent to them with return postage. Some best-selling authors are too busy (or old) to deal with the post office chore of sending back every book that is sent to them for signing, but instead are willing to send you a signed bookplate if you send them a stamped, self-addressed envelope. (Check out the FAQ section of a favorite author&rsquo;s blog for specifics on autographs and bookplates).</p> <h2>An Updated 1985 Gift for Music Fans</h2> <p>A gift that has been largely forgotten because of technological advances is the mix tape. Once a staple of high school romances, homemade mixes have fallen out of favor in exchange for the iTunes gift card. One of my favorite music gifts is the updated version of the mix tape &mdash; the personalized CD. A few years ago, I gave my friend Jane a CD of 15 songs that are about girls named Jane. I made a similar CD for my friend Lala, where I collected songs where La-La-La figured prominently in the songs&rsquo; choruses. (According to several lists, <a href="http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/top-10-songs-that-go-la-la-la/">I&rsquo;m not the only one who had this bright idea</a>).&nbsp;</p> <p>The mix tape can also be the audio version of a scrapbook or photo album. I think for most people, music is connected with specific memories and events in their lives. For example, I will always associate &ldquo;We Are Family&rdquo; with Panama, since Sister Sledge was practically the soundtrack of that country when my family travelled there in 1979. Thirty years later, Abba&rsquo;s &ldquo;Dancing Queen&rdquo; still conjures memories of my neighbor dancing around on the shag carpeting of her rumpus room when she thought nobody was looking. Creating a time capsule CD of songs that remind you of a certain event or time period is a great way to share memories with your friends.&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Totally Free Luxury Gift of Time</h2> <p>Last but not least, one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones is time off from housework. Whether it&rsquo;s the new parents who are trying to figure out how to deal with their first baby, the friend who has just lost her mother to cancer, or the HR Lady at the office dealing with the aftermath of the company Christmas party, all people appreciate a clean bathroom or kitchen, especially when they are stressed out. One person can deep clean a room in less than hour and make someone&rsquo;s day so much easier. In today&rsquo;s world where everyone is overworked and worn out, the ultimate luxury gift is the gift of free time.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Easy-to-Make Deluxe Gifts for Under $15" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Max Wong, who blogs at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/">My Roman Apartment</a>. Read more by Max:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">5 Ways Self-Storage Units Are More Sad Museums Than Savvy Solutions</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">5 Potluck Parties That Help You Share the Wealth</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/food-stamps-eating-202-june/">Food Stamps: Eating Well on $202 in June</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-7"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/7-savory-holiday-food-gifts">7 Savory Food Gifts</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="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</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="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-coupons-20-great-free-gift-ideas">20 Great, Free Gift Ideas</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="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake">15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake</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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget">How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> DIY cheap gifts Christmas gift ideas holiday gifts wedding gifts Mon, 13 Dec 2010 13:36:07 +0000 Max Wong 329200 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Buy Memories, Make Them http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-memories-make-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-buy-memories-make-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buses.jpg" alt="Buses" title="Buses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="172" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm all about cheap, or at least cheaper, gifts this holiday season. Further still, I'm all about creating gifts that actually last in value and relevance past the next news cycle, and I'm really &quot;bout it, bout it&quot; when it comes to gifts my toddler son won't have broken and be crying over by December 26.</p> <p>This year I thought of something to give him that could address all of those concerns. Here's the backstory:</p> <p>Lexington I. Leffall, my first-born masculine child,&nbsp;loves things that move: planes in the sky, big trucks that rumble and grumble, and trains that have gone from being &quot;choo choos&quot; to &quot;train trains&quot; and now just plain &quot;trains.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>But what he has the most affinity for is buses. His first complete sentence, coming at about 16 months, was not a sentence but a musical phrase yelled out at an ear-bleeding level: &quot;ALL THROUGH THE TOWN.&quot; (He had a musical yellow bus with a red button on it, that when pressed, it blurted out <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnupL42gmF4">this song</a>.)</p> <p>And all through the town &mdash; and country &mdash; we went together. We moved on airplanes, buses, trains, and trollies in my native Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, parts of New Mexico, San Diego, and New York City. Peering out of the window, his eyes were illuminated with the type of joy, wonder, and intrigue that evokes envy in a grown man with &quot;real-world&quot; issues, wishing I could be as passionate about something this little guy is about things that move.</p> <p>Wherever we go, Lex grabs all the brochures from the buses and trains, attempts to read them, plays with them, and calls out the stops as if he is the driver, conductor, or operator. He has dozens and dozens of brochures from a half-dozen cities.</p> <p>So this year I cut, pasted, and stenciled. With the help of a craft enthusiast, I created a masterpiece of memories: a scrapbook called &quot;Lexington's Book of Buses, Trains, and Trollies.&quot; (Shhhhhhhhhhhhh, don't tell him; it's for Christmas). It takes a little time, effort, and creativity for that person you love and care about. But scrapbooks are a great way to preserve memories, especially for little ones who still get thrills from just looking at pictures of the things they love, whether they're buses or butterflies.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you think scrapbooks are corny or time-consuming, or you don't know where to start, there are sites such as <a href="http://www.scrapbook.com/">Scrapbook.com</a>&nbsp;that can stoke the fire.</p> <p>So &quot;scrap&quot; the wonton consumerism and hit the books, so to speak. If you already have pictures, old magazines, or in my case, bus brochures, the source material is free. The cost of an album or book and materials is nominal at $20 to $45 compared to (insert the price of whatever hot doo-hickey here) that will be obselete by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day">Boxing Day</a>.</p> <p>Sure, you'll get a few other trinkets to play with, champ, but I hope you like you big book, Lex!</p> <p>I can't wait to see his face.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-memories-make-them" class="sharethis-link" title="Don&#039;t Buy Memories, Make Them" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-memories-make-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-8"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget">How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget</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="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-special-occasion-clothing-for-kids">How to Save on Special-Occasion Clothing for Kids</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="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-give-kids-cash-for-the-holidays">5 Reasons Why You Should Give Kids Cash for the Holidays</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="http://www.wisebread.com/15-money-saving-tips-every-parent-should-know">15 Money-Saving Tips Every Parent Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Family Shopping arts and crafts cheap gifts Christmas gift ideas for kids Fri, 10 Dec 2010 14:00:09 +0000 Jabulani Leffall 361552 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Great Gifts for Teachers http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift-78719619.jpg" alt="kid with gift" title="kid with gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While there is no requirement for your child to give a holiday gift to his or her teacher, it is a pretty nice way to tell an educator &ldquo;thank you.&rdquo; My parents, both teachers, have received a wide variety of gifts from their students, and over careers of 30+ years, they have amassed some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unusual-gift-ideas-for-a-memorable-holiday-season" title="Unusual Gift Ideas for a Memorable Holiday Season">interesting items</a>. I have compiled some favorites of theirs, as well those of a friend who recently retired from teaching.</p> <p>How about a mug imprinted with &ldquo;#1 Teacher&quot;? No. That teacher&rsquo;s coffee mug cupboard was probably full long ago.</p> <p>What about perfume? Nope. There are only so many gallons of Jean Nate that a teacher can wear in a lifetime.</p> <p>Wouldn&rsquo;t the teacher love a framed photo of your child?&nbsp;No.&nbsp;(One of those really showed up one Christmas, in a popsicle-stick frame.) Do you have framed photos of customers or clients around your home?</p> <p>Here are ten better ideas.</p> <h2>1. Frozen Ravioli</h2> <p>Winning the &ldquo;most memorable&rdquo; category, my father received a box of frozen ravioli. They were homemade by a family that had owned a renowned Italian restaurant on the Northern California coast, and they were absolutely delicious. He was thrilled with such a marvelous gift. While I think <a href="http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Make-Homemade-Ravioli">ravioli are challenging to make</a>, a basket with pasta sauce, pasta, cheese, and bread would be really nice, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-savory-holiday-food-gifts?ref=seealso">7 Savory Food Gifts</a>)</p> <h2>2. Cookie Mix in a Jar</h2> <p>For the teacher who suggested this, who was also a mom, this present represented the gift of time. She just needed to add a couple of things to <a href="http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/cookie-mix-in-a-jar-i/Detail.aspx">this mix</a> and could then bake holiday cookies with her own daughter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake?ref=seealso">15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake</a>)</p> <h2>3. A Homemade Game</h2> <p>My dad taught a math class for math under-achievers. Part of his strategy was to play math-related games. A student made him a beautiful <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_6731232_make-homemade-cribbage-board.html">wooden cribbage board</a>, which he uses it to this day.</p> <h2>4. Coffee</h2> <p>Just about everyone loves coffee, and teachers are no exception. My friend Nancy loved the coupon book she received for the local coffee shop. A coffee gift card is also a hit, and a bag of a gourmet blend is nice for the teacher&rsquo;s lounge.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. All-Purpose Cards</h2> <p>Nancy also loved <a href="http://crafts.kaboose.com/patchwork-star-thank-you-card.html">student-made thank-you cards</a> that she could use right away. This was a gift that was both charming and practical.</p> <h2>6. Add to a Collection</h2> <p>What does the teacher collect? This idea requires a little sleuthing. My mother, for instance, collected snow-globes. She was delighted when a new one showed up as a Christmas gift.</p> <h2>7. Christmas Ornaments</h2> <p>I still have some of the ones that my mother received, made by little hands. I can even tell you which students made them because she was so thrilled with them. The <a href="http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/christmas/#tabs">ornaments from Kaboose</a> are so cute that I need to borrow somebody&rsquo;s kid and make some.</p> <h2>8. Books</h2> <p>Some school book programs allow you to <a href="http://www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/experience/cwl.asp">purchase books for the classroom</a>&nbsp;according to the teacher&rsquo;s &ldquo;wish list.&rdquo;</p> <h2>9. Classroom Help</h2> <p>Field trips are pretty tough when you are trying to wrangle 20+ kids. A <a href="http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=11843&amp;pq-locale=en_US&amp;_requestid=27104">coupon for your time</a> would be wonderful. Elementary teachers often also need help with prepping for big projects. However, if you give the coupon, be ready to commit the time when asked.</p> <h2>10. Swedish Tea Ring</h2> <p>This is a <a href="http://www.sandisrecipecorner.com/recipe1799A.htm">wreath-shaped sweet bread</a>. I think I made four of them for my daughter&rsquo;s favorite teachers at Christmas during her senior year in high school. They were very well-received. Besides the great homemade appeal, the wreath shape is very festive-looking.</p> <p>None of these 10 items is very expensive, but they are all fairly memorable. My father chimed in that he felt &ldquo;homemade things were always the best.&rdquo;&nbsp;I thought this was good advice, as many of us look toward simplifying holiday gift-giving. One caveat, though: If your children are not yet mature, you might want to limit their participation to making non-food gifts for the best chance of a truly appreciated and useful gift.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Great Gifts for Teachers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-9"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/20-fitness-gifts-for-15-or-less">20 Fitness Gifts for $15 or Less</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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget">How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget</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="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim">The Gift Card Scam of 2011: Don’t Be a Victim</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="http://www.wisebread.com/20-gifts-for-the-guy-who-has-everything">20 Gifts for the Guy Who Has Everything</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="http://www.wisebread.com/9-holiday-gifts-to-give-the-neighbor-you-like">9 Gifts to Give the Neighbor You Like</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Shopping cheap gifts Christmas gifts handmade holiday gifts teachers Wed, 01 Dec 2010 14:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 344709 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Fitness Gifts for $15 or Less http://www.wisebread.com/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="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/exercise-5043166-small.jpg" 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="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holfit-stk201187rke-ggnoads.jpg" 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 Overstock.com.</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="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holfit-148298515-ggnoads.jpg" 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="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holfit-83405222-ggnoads.jpg" 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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-fitness-gifts-for-15-or-less" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Fitness Gifts for $15 or Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-fitness-gifts-for-15-or-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-10"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities">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="http://www.wisebread.com/12-foods-nutritionists-say-you-should-splurge-on">12 Foods Nutritionists Say You Should Splurge On</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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-almost-nothing-on-gifts-this-year">10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-on-a-scrooge-like-budget">How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Scrooge-Like Budget</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="http://www.wisebread.com/is-the-wii-fit-a-cheap-workout">Is the Wii Fit a cheap workout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> 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 http://www.wisebread.com Year-End Holiday Celebrations for Less http://www.wisebread.com/year-end-holiday-celebrations-for-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/year-end-holiday-celebrations-for-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/306200038_51d20fb2f0.jpg" alt="fruit platter centerpiece" title="fruit platter centerpiece" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're hosting this year's Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, or not, there are several small touches you can create that are both affordable and beautiful. My family has come up with a few ways to cook, decorate, and gift for far less. Here are our favorites!</p> <h2>Thanksgiving Hosting<b> </b></h2> <p>Since my husband and I don't have children yet, we are usually the ones visiting our families for Thanksgiving. We haven't had to host a Thanksgiving dinner yet and be responsible for the whole dinner, thankfully. However, I know that many people have family visitors during this holiday.</p> <h3>Pot luck</h3> <p>If you're the lucky one stuck with making Thanksgiving dinner for more than just your immediate family, then suggesting a pot-luck for the side dishes may be beneficial on your pocketbook. For instance, you might decide that you'll bake the turkey, since that usually takes the longest to cook. Assign one adult from each visiting family to bring the side dishes, such as sweet potatoes or yams, a green-bean casserole, an apple or pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce or applesauce. Understandably, if relatives are visiting from afar and can't cook, they have the option of purchasing a side dish from the grocery store deli or a neighborhood deli. Be sure you tell them ahead of time where to order from. If each adult brought one side dish to compliment your turkey, then your cooking will be minimized and your cost reduced.</p> <p>Another expense at Thanksgiving is the centerpiece for a beautifully-dressed table. One alternative to purchasing expensive, store-bought center pieces is creating your own center piece. Here are two low-cost options.</p> <h3>Candles</h3> <p>Candles make any table glow with elegance &mdash; large, small, tall, or short. If you use tea lights, which are usually sold in large quantity bags, you can use many of them on a large serving plate or wood chopping block to make a simple center piece. You can also dress up the candles with dried flowers or silk flowers at the base or with pine cones. Another option is floating candles in a fish bowls.</p> <h3>Fruit and flower bowls</h3> <p>If candles aren't your thing, (or your dad is a retired fireman and has a thing about fire in general) you can use a large bowl filled with fresh fruit and flowers to dress up any table. If you mix the sizes of bowls and the kinds of fruit, it gives the table a more bohemian decor.</p> <h2>Christmas or Hanukkah Happiness</h2> <p><b> </b></p> <p>For the past few years, my husband and I have gotten out of visiting our families for Christmas. One reason we have ducked out of this holiday is that his family celebrates over-consumption at this time of year, and it makes us both sick to our stomachs. Years ago, there was discussion within his family to reduce the amount of gifts purchased, but it never materialized and instead grew more out of control. We've tried a few tactics, but it just hasn't worked in our favor. Below are a few ideas for a simplistic gift-giving holiday season that we try to implement each year.</p> <h3>1. Reduce the amount of gifts.</h3> <p>Some large families I know select a name out of a hat and only purchase a gift for that one person. This reduces the pressure of having to purchase gifts for everyone and is a more economical option.</p> <h3>2. Purchase only one gift per family unit.</h3> <p>Instead of purchasing each individual within a family a gift, buy one item that family can share. Last year, my husband and I purchased Omaha Steaks for each family unit. They were appreciated and enjoyed by the entire family. Other ideas include gift certificates to the theatre, which our mother-in-law has purchased for us in the past, or theme parks for families with children.</p> <h3>3. Only purchase gifts for the children.</h3> <p>In our case, since we don't have children, this never has worked out quite as well as we hoped. However, we have, in the past, only purchased gifts for our nieces and nephew instead of their parents. This reduced our cost and the time spent shopping.</p> <h3>4. Make gifts.</h3> <p><strong>Gift jars</strong></p> <p>For friends and colleagues, I try and make gift baskets, with an assortment of chocolates, cookies, and coffees, or special gift jars. One year, a colleague of mine gave me a homemade cider recipe in a mason jar (a saving tip: you can use empty spaghetti sauce jars, they are often mason jars). It was a great gift idea and inexpensive. The ingredients were as follows:</p> <ul> <li>1&frac12; cups of Tang<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&frac34; cup iced tea mix<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>1&frac12; cups white sugar<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>2 teaspoons ground cinnamon<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>2 teaspoons ground cloves<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>1 teaspoon ground ginger</li> </ul> <p>Tipnut has more <a href="http://tipnut.com/free-gifts-in-a-jar-recipes/">gift jar ideas</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cards and gift tags</strong></p> <p>My husband and I try to add a personal touch to the gifts we give, especially if we ship the gifts instead of attending the holiday festivities. Some things we have included are homemade gift tags with our picture on it, or pictures of our cats wearing Santa hats. This year, we intend to make our own gift cards, and not the photo gift cards so many others mail out. I learned of a great art project, through an art teacher at school, that only involves using a black, felt-tip pen, some imagination, and a little bit of time. Drawing an upside down capital 'U' in the center of the page, you can create a Santa or elf-type figure with an immense beard. Here are the steps:</p> <ol> <li>Draw an upside down capital 'U' in the center of white construction paper.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Draw eyes, eyebrows, and a nose in the center of the 'U' for the face.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Beginning directly under the nose, draw any kind of line you like and repeat it six times, keeping the lines close together and extending it out to the edges of the paper. Continue filling up the 'beard' with many types of lines (squiggly, zigzag, curly, wavy, etc.). Each block of lines repeats six times. Fill in the white space inside the beard with small diagonal, horizontal, or vertical lines.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Draw a Santa hat or elf ears on top, or on the side, of the 'U' shaped face.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Once you've drawn your figure, you can Xerox copy it onto however many cards you need.</li> </ol> <p>I hope that these arts and craft ideas and gift ideas will reduce your holiday cost and the time spent shopping for gifts. I know that this year, we again intend to simplify our gift giving and remain under budget.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/year-end-holiday-celebrations-for-less" class="sharethis-link" title="Year-End Holiday Celebrations for Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/" rel="nofollow">Little House</a>. Links to more articles by Little House:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/?p=401">Small Houses Rock<br /> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/?p=541">Hypermiling the House</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/?p=296">Little House Plans I Adore</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/year-end-holiday-celebrations-for-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-11"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-split-food-expenses-with-a-significant-other">How to Split Food Expenses With a Significant Other</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="http://www.wisebread.com/21-foods-that-cost-under-a-buck-a-pound-with-recipes">21 Foods That Cost Under a Buck a Pound — With Recipes!</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="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-have-a-no-spend-holiday-season">12 Ways to Have a No-Spend Holiday Season</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="http://www.wisebread.com/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget">Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Budgeting Food and Drink cheap gifts friends & family Holidays Wed, 18 Nov 2009 15:00:04 +0000 Little House 3839 at http://www.wisebread.com Dreaming of a Frugal Christmas: 6 Things You Can Make That People on Your List Will Use and Want http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-dreaming-of-a-frugal-christmas-6-things-you-can-make-that-people-on-your-list-will-use-and-w <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-dreaming-of-a-frugal-christmas-6-things-you-can-make-that-people-on-your-list-will-use-and-w" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Amigurumi.jpg" alt="Amigurumi" title="Amigurumi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The problem with many great Xmas ideas is we wait until November to start them and then can&rsquo;t finish in time. Just devote a little Sunday afternoon time to all or one of these ideas and you&rsquo;ll have an arsenal of cool cheap Xmas gifts to play Santa with. I present to you a few of the ideas and projects I&rsquo;m working on and have done in the past.</p> <h2>Baby Food Jar Votives&nbsp;</h2> <p>Back in the day when my kids were eating baby food from a jar I must have saved up a hundred of those cool tiny little jars. Get a double boiler from the local thriftstore, some wax and wick from a craft store and you can have some fun. I&rsquo;m a candle person anyways so I always save my old candle bits and keep them in a color coated ziploc bags. Come candle making time I mix some of the old wax with new wax and some dye if you wish and you&rsquo;ve got some groovy little votive candles. I add a ribbon around the top of the jar so it looks less baby food and more clever disguise.</p> <h2>Bath Tea Bags</h2> <p>I order empty tea bag containers meant for the bathtub that can run as cheap as 20 cents a piece. If you&rsquo;ve got roses and lavender growing in your yard the way I do, you just found a great aromatic &quot;tea bath&quot; recipe! Most tea bags simply have you iron the sides together when you are done. It might take the better part of an afternoon but then you have what&rsquo;s often a $4 to $6 dollar item in a bath boutique made! Try this idea from <a href="http://www.yougrowgirl.com/use/giftideas_bathtea.php">You Grow Girl</a>.</p> <h2>Bath Bombs!</h2> <p>This is a hit with my family and friends. With a little baking soda, witch hazel, natural herbs and fragrances, you can come up with great bath fizziness that everyone will like! There are molds you can buy. Some are a bit pricey to set them in--but I found that empty apple sauce containers make great molds! Here&rsquo;s a recipe from <a href="http://www.teachsoap.com/bombs.html">Teach Soap</a> that works well.</p> <h2>Infused Olive Oil</h2> <p>Hey, people spend good money on plain old olive oil infused with rosemary or garlic or both for example--why not make it at home? <a href="http://www.worldmarket.com">World Market</a> usually has some great bottles for just a few dollars that can make a really stunning gift. Here&rsquo;s an easy to follow <a href="http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art14883.asp">recipe</a>.</p> <h2>Amigurumi</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s face it. Everyone has more than enough scarves. You don&rsquo;t need to knit any more. You can&rsquo;t knit everyone a sweater--you&rsquo;d have to have some serious downtime for that sort of project and yarn can be expensive. Enter the tiny knit project--make the kids and cool adult kids in your life some rockin&rsquo; amigurumi! What's amigurumi?&nbsp;Inexplicably cute crocheted and knitted animals and whatnot with excessively cheery expressions. No one can be depressed with these around AND if you buy them in a store you'll probably spend $20-$50 on them. Each one shouldn&rsquo;t take too long to make and you can use scrap yarn to do so. There are a bunch of <a href="http://amilist.blogspot.com/">cool patterns</a> for knit and crochet online&nbsp; but I went ahead and invested the book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Amigurumi-World-Seriously-Cute-Crochet/dp/1564778479/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1251698102&amp;sr=1-1">Amigurmi World</a>, that&rsquo;s been a lot of fun.</p> <h2>Fingerless Gloves</h2> <p>You know why gloves take so long to make? Too many fingers! Enter the fingerless gloves. All of your friends sitting at computers in cold cubicles and apartments will think you are the most amazing friend ever. Each glove takes about an hour + a little wiggle time for the thumb. One skein of yarn can get you through a pair and many yarn stores will have great sales of one skein left in a dye lot. I&rsquo;ve made these for awhile so I actually don&rsquo;t look at a pattern anymore, but <a href="http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter02/PATTvoodoo.html">Knitty</a> has a good basic one. I confess though, my kids were with me while I was looking at patterns and now I&rsquo;m stuck making a complicated Transformers hat and sweater. Kids, don&rsquo;t you want gloves?</p> <h2>Bottletop Checkers</h2> <p>Make a homemade checkerboard. I&rsquo;ve made some from cloth with a checker pattern; I&rsquo;ve painted old found wood as well to make a checkerboard. The fun comes in with the bottletop caps. We&rsquo;ve done a big board with peanut butter caps (red and blue) and milk caps (pink for the 2% milk; blue for the fat free) to make two sets. The kids can glitter glue up the tops to match as well.</p> <p>These are things I&rsquo;ve been making but my big sources of inspiration, patterns and ideas often come from checking out these places:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.craftster.org">Crafster</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.bust.com">Bust Magazine</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.readymade.com">Ready Made</a></li> </ul> <p>The weather is starting to cool off. Time to head indoors, sit down and literally make the holidays happen.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-dreaming-of-a-frugal-christmas-6-things-you-can-make-that-people-on-your-list-will-use-and-w" class="sharethis-link" title="Dreaming of a Frugal Christmas: 6 Things You Can Make That People on Your List Will Use and Want" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maggie-wells">Maggie Wells</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-dreaming-of-a-frugal-christmas-6-things-you-can-make-that-people-on-your-list-will-use-and-w">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-12"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wrap-gifts-with-leftovers">How to wrap gifts with leftovers.</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="http://www.wisebread.com/deadweight-loss-of-christmas-economist-explains-why-gifts-are-inefficient">Deadweight loss of Christmas: Economist explains why gifts are inefficient</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="http://www.wisebread.com/a-couple-of-morning-links-to-help-you-save-christmas-presents-anyone">A Couple of Morning Links to Help You Save (Christmas Presents, Anyone?)</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="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-the-clock-with-frugal-and-simple-valentines-day-ideas">Beat the Clock with Frugal and Simple Valentine&#039;s Day Ideas</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="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-wrapping-paper-5-options">Last Minute Wrapping Paper: 5 Options</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> DIY Shopping cheap gifts Christmas creative ideas gifts Mon, 31 Aug 2009 06:00:22 +0000 Maggie Wells 3555 at http://www.wisebread.com Make 5 cheap ‘greeting cards’ that blow Hallmark away. http://www.wisebread.com/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/scissors.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Before I share with you my 5 great ways to make outstanding greeting cards, I'd like to rant about the four issues I have with store-bought greeting cards, like those produced by Hallmark in the millions.</p> <p>The first is the price. On average, $4-$5 for a folded piece of card with a stock photo and a humdrum message seems just a little overpriced to me. <br /> <br /> Second, the messages themselves are so generically impersonal, I have a hard time believing you couldn&rsquo;t write something better yourself that&rsquo;s really from the heart. That&rsquo;s why, if I am absolutely in a rush and have no time, I&rsquo;ll buy a blank card and write the verse myself.<br /> <br /> Third, the printing of the price on the back of the card. I know, I&rsquo;m cheap. But it&rsquo;s the first thing people look at when they&rsquo;re shopping around for cards. It&rsquo;s kind of a &ldquo;yes, I like that person&hellip;but not enough to buy this $5 card.&rdquo; Then, the reverse happens. That person casually glances at the back of the card you do buy and says &ldquo;hmm, they like me&hellip;but only enough to buy a $2.99 card. I&rsquo;ll be moving them down my speed dial list.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s like Hallmark is guilting us into buying the more expensive ones.<br /> <br /> Finally, it&rsquo;s the occasions now available. &ldquo;Congratulations on taking the toll road this morning&rdquo; or &ldquo;Sorry to hear your ex-wife got remarried.&rdquo; If you can think of it, there&rsquo;s a card for it. Argh. Sorry, rant over.<br /> <br /> Anyway, I&rsquo;ve always tried to make my own cards. My wife, my folks, my nieces, they&rsquo;ve all received them and they all love them to pieces. And guess what. They&rsquo;re cheaper, more original and way more impressive than anything you can get in the card aisle. So here are 5 cards you can make quickly and easily, with very little talent required. And I guarantee, you will be in that person&rsquo;s good books for months. (By the way, I&rsquo;m assuming everyone has things like scissors, glue, and the usual office supplies.)<br /> <br /> <strong>Number 1 &ndash; The message in a bottle. $2.15 - $3.15</strong></p> <p><img height="224" width="300" src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/735867___message__.jpg" alt="Message bottle" title="message bottle" /><br /> <em>Shopping list - </em> <script type="text/javascript">spId="NUsC3MFARg6KCAfHbx3Kqg==/NTxkvscVQXSyd96_E9Z0PQ==";spLabel="Spring It!";spTextColor="#000099";</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://my.springpadit.com/public/badge.js"></script> <br /> 1 glass bottle with cork - $2 (I got mine from Michaels, try any craft store) <br /> 1 piece of scrapbooking paper &ndash; 15 cents (choose a theme appropriate to the message)<br /> A few small shells from the beach &ndash; FREE (or, get a bag for $1 from a craft store)<br /> <br /> <em>Instructions - </em><br /> Do I have to spell it out? Ok. Take the cork out of the bottle, write a lovely message on the paper, put a few shells in the bottom of the bottle, roll up the paper, pop it inside and put the cork back on. Really simple. Do it on Valentine&rsquo;s Day or an anniversary, or a message to friends/relatives overseas. Trust me, it&rsquo;s a winner. <br /> <br /> <strong>Number 2 &ndash; The Sweetheart Note. $1.65 - $2.00</strong><br /> <img height="250" width="223" src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/k9a.jpg" alt="sweethearts" title="sweethearts" /><br /> <em>Shopping list - </em><script type="text/javascript">spId="NUsC3MFARg6KCAfHbx3Kqg==/NTBQImW_QrWJHifRFz4zIA==";spLabel="Spring It!";spTextColor="#000099";</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://my.springpadit.com/public/badge.js"></script><br /> 1 box of sweethearts candy &ndash; 50 cents <br /> 1 piece of scrapbooking paper &ndash; 15 cents (choose a theme appropriate to the message)<br /> 1 large envelope &ndash; Around $1<br /> Glue<br /> <br /> <em>Instructions - </em><br /> This one takes a little creative thinking, but c&rsquo;mon, you can do it. Take a box of sweethearts candy, tip them out onto the kitchen table and find the ones most appropriate to your message. Then, simply write your message on the paper, and replace certain words/phrases with candy sweethearts. For instance&hellip;.<em>you have always been <strong>my love</strong> and I will give you <strong>2000 hugs</strong> every day</em>&hellip;etc, etc. <br /> <br /> You have to glue the candy onto the paper, so it&rsquo;s inedible (unless you use sugar paste) but the message and the delivery is great. Just pop the finished masterpiece into your envelope and wait for the reaction. It&rsquo;s really only for couples, but any occasion between two lovers is fine&hellip;a marriage proposal, anniversary, Valentine&hellip;anything. <br /> <br /> <strong>3 &ndash; Photographic Memory - $1.00</strong><br /> <img height="209" width="300" src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/252799_memories.jpg" alt="memory lane" title="memory lane" /><br /> <em>Shopping list - </em><script type="text/javascript">spId="NUsC3MFARg6KCAfHbx3Kqg==/NTkl9dQ0SjuVefPy-S19IQ==";spLabel="Spring It!";spTextColor="#000099";</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://my.springpadit.com/public/badge.js"></script><br /> 1 photograph of something special &ndash; 20 cents <br /> 1 piece of card &ndash; 30 cents <br /> 1 envelope &ndash; Around 50 cents<br /> Glue<br /> <br /> <em>Instructions - </em><br /> It&rsquo;s the thought that counts on this one.<br /> Find a photograph of something very special between yourself and the recipient. Maybe it&rsquo;s a photograph of the bench where you had your first kiss. Maybe it&rsquo;s you as a young child. It&rsquo;s really anything that has sentimental value.<br /> <br /> Just glue that to the front of a folded piece of card, with a headline underneath like REMEMBER WHEN&hellip;<br /> With a touching message inside, you&rsquo;ll hit a home run every single time. It&rsquo;s personal, it&rsquo;s from the heart, and it&rsquo;s about 4 times cheaper than your average greeting card.<br /> <br /> <strong>4 &ndash; Origami 101 &ndash; 95 cents</strong><br /> <img height="225" width="300" src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/paper_boat_sea.jpg" alt="Origami boat" title="Origami boat" /><br /> <em>Shopping list - </em><script type="text/javascript">spId="NUsC3MFARg6KCAfHbx3Kqg==/NTP7K4C3SwqQxfojfUZv9Q==";spLabel="Spring It!";spTextColor="#000099";</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://my.springpadit.com/public/badge.js"></script><br /> 3 sheets of scrapbooking paper &ndash; 45 cents <br /> 1 envelope &ndash; Around 50 cents<br /> Origami pattern (free on the Internet or from your local library)<br /> <br /> <em>Instructions - </em><br /> Ok, you&rsquo;ll need a few practice runs at this one, which is why I&rsquo;ve included 3 sheets of paper in the budget. Scrapbooking paper is perfect because it&rsquo;s square, and almost all origami patterns start with a square sheet of paper.<br /> Find a pattern appropriate to your occasion (there are thousands of patterns out there), and also your skill level. Be realistic. I&rsquo;ve included a link to get you started <a href="http://dev.origami.com/diagram.cfm">here</a> . <br /> Practice on your two sheets of paper. You want to get this right. Then, write your message on the 3rd sheet of paper, fold it into your Origami shape and pop it into your envelope. The words on the paper will be visible but the message won&rsquo;t be readable until the recipient opens up the folded paper. It&rsquo;s a nice surprise. <br /> <br /> <strong>5 &ndash; The Candy Bar Wrapper - $1 &ndash; whatever you want to spend!</strong><br /> <img height="300" width="200" src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/chocolat_au_lait.jpg" alt="Choccy bar" title="Choccy bar" /><br /> <em>Shopping list - </em><br /> 1 sheet of scrapbooking paper &ndash; 15 cents <br /> 1 candy bar &ndash; Anywhere from 30 cents to as expensive as you want to go<br /> Pens, pencils, markers (or use a desktop printer)<br /> Scissors, glue.<br /> <br /> <em>Instructions - </em><script type="text/javascript">spId="NUsC3MFARg6KCAfHbx3Kqg==/NTqbHGByTcuRlgwwU7nUsg==";spLabel="Spring It!";spTextColor="#000099";</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://my.springpadit.com/public/badge.js"></script><br /> This one requires the most skill if you want it to look authentic. I happen to have training in Photoshop and Illustrator so I&rsquo;m good to go. But that really doesn&rsquo;t matter. As far as I&rsquo;m concerned, anything that takes your thought and your time will be looked upon wonderfully by your loved one, even childish scrawl.<br /> So, pick your candy bar. Probably something the shape of a Hershey Bar to make life easy, but if you want to attack a Toblerone be my guest. Measure and cut your piece of paper to size, then write a nice message with a catchy headline. <br /> <br /> <em>A few ideas &ndash; </em><br /> A Giant Hershey&rsquo;s Kiss &ndash; <strong>COULD I GIVE YOU A KISS?</strong><br /> Any candy bar &ndash; <strong>I&rsquo;M SWEET ON YOU</strong><br /> <br /> Those ones just popped into my head, they are lame. And they are based around Valentine&rsquo;s Day, but this could work for a birthday or any other occasion. So, there you have it. 5 great cards, cheap as can be and full of thought and personality. I guarantee any one of these will make you look like a superstar. Have fun with them!</p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away" class="sharethis-link" title="Make 5 cheap ‘greeting cards’ that blow Hallmark away." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-13"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</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="http://www.wisebread.com/5-gifts-you-can-get-through-bartering">5 Gifts You Can Get Through Bartering</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="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-breads-guide-to-valentines-day">Wise Bread&#039;s Guide to Valentine&#039;s Day</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="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</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="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-the-clock-with-frugal-and-simple-valentines-day-ideas">Beat the Clock with Frugal and Simple Valentine&#039;s Day Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Frugal Living anniversaries birthdays cheap cards cheap gifts creative greeting cards greetings occasions Valentine's Day Mon, 02 Apr 2007 16:52:24 +0000 Paul Michael 435 at http://www.wisebread.com Being Frugal with Froogle http://www.wisebread.com/being-frugal-with-froogle <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/PPS-042705-01.jpg" alt="pennies" title="pennies" width="292" height="194" /></p> <p> I’m sure most of you are already fans of Google. But I wonder how many of you use Froogle, Google’s thrifty shopping aid, on a regular basis? Well, it’s well worth using if you’d like to save yourself a little cash on a lot of purchases.</p> <p> <strong>Where is it?</strong><br /> <a href="http://froogle.google.com/">Froogle</a> , for a while, had pride of place on the Google home page when it was first launched. Now, it’s a little buried. The easiest way to get to it, other than clicking on the link on this page, is by navigating to the google.com homepage, then hit the more&gt;&gt; button. Froogle should appear in that option.</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/froogle.jpg" alt="Froogle" title="Froogle" width="341" height="207" /></p> <p> <strong>How to use it.</strong><br /> It’s a no-brainer, really. Just type in the product you’re looking for and hit search. Instead of finding sites about that product, Froogle finds places that sell it with the prices listed. Now just order your results from ‘low to high’ and you’ll find out just who has that product for the lowest amount. Sometimes, the difference between stores is quite surprising, even for an experienced Internet shopper like me. But, as good as Froogle is, make sure you cross-reference your golden price on a few other price-comparison sites.</p> <p> <strong>The other good comparison shoppers.</strong></p> <p> <strong><a href="http://www.bizrate.com/">Bizrate.com</a> - </strong>I love this one almost as much as Froogle. Same deal, just type in what you’re looking for. Bizrate will give you a list of subcategories to search within, and then you’ll get your product/price list. On Bizrate you can enter your zip code and get a good estimate of the shipping price too. Usually it’s bang on. I’ve often found stores listed on Bizrate that aren’t on Froogle, so make sure you check here before deciding on a purchase.</p> <p> <strong><a href="http://www.mysimon.com/">Mysimon.com</a> - </strong>I actually used this one before Froogle or Bizrate. I don’t find it as useful as them though, it doesn’t seem as intuitive and it also seems to have a much smaller list of places to buy from. But, still worth a look from time to time.</p> <p> So, whether it’s Father’s Day and you’re looking for yet another bad tie, or you’re doing your Holiday shopping and need to save a few pennies here and there, try Froogle, Bizrate or MySimon. I guarantee, they’re money-savers. I wouldn’t shop on the Internet without them. </p> <p> </p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-frugal-with-froogle" class="sharethis-link" title="Being Frugal with Froogle" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-frugal-with-froogle">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">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-14"> <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="http://www.wisebread.com/cheapismcom-where-cheap-is-chic">Cheapism.com: Where Cheap is Chic</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="http://www.wisebread.com/never-go-shopping-unless-youre-armed-with-a-cell-phone">Never go shopping unless you&#039;re armed with a cell phone.</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="http://www.wisebread.com/revel-in-a-corporations-misfortune-all-discovery-channel-stores-to-close">Revel in a corporation&#039;s misfortune - all Discovery Channel stores to close</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="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-buy-at-costco">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</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="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Shopping bargain hunting bargains cheap gifts Comparison shopping Froogle. Google Tue, 30 Jan 2007 23:54:25 +0000 Paul Michael 240 at http://www.wisebread.com