Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guest Blogger with some Frugal Fun Holiday Talk!

Today we have a wonderful guest blogger stopping by to get us in the frugal holiday spirit! Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online schools. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.  I'm so thrilled she has stopped by to give us these frugal tips before the holiday shopping starts! Maria can be found at http://www.onlinedegrees.org/about/.  Thanks Maria for stopping by!

Holiday Shopping: Frugal Fun for Christmas

It’s easy to get apprehensive about spending too much this Christmas, but don’t let your practical side take all the fun out of holiday shopping. You can be savvy and enjoy the holiday season at the same time by getting a little creative with your resources. There are plenty of ways to stay on-target with your spending, from making gifts to shopping with friends. For some helpful tips that will appeal to your fun-loving side, check out the following list.

Thrifty Transportation

Instead of taking your car out on multiple trips, try using local public transportation if it’s available. You can also carpool with a friend and pay for only half of the gas cost. You’ll have more fun shopping with someone else and save money at the same time. Another frugal practice is planning your shopping around the number of trips you need to take – see if you can get everything done in one or two trips. It’s possible with careful planning, and you’ll save on transportation costs as a result.

Group Gifts

When giving to your siblings’ families, couples, or any other people who share a home, don’t get one gift for each person. Instead, see if you can find one gift or a combination of small gifts that will make everyone happy. For example, you could put together a “movie night” basket with a bag of gourmet popcorn, a new DVD, and some boxes of candy. It’s inexpensive and easy, but it’s also a great gift to receive. Other ideas include bath or spa baskets, dry pre-mixed baked goods in pretty jars, and coffee or tea baskets that include mugs, gourmet coffee beans or tea bags, and fancy stir-ins or chocolate-covered spoons.

Creative Contributions

If you have a creative hobby, you’re in luck when it comes to the holiday season. If you knit, try making scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, sweaters, or any other winter-worthy clothing that could keep your friends and family members toasty. Hand-made jewelry is a frugal and unique gift for the ladies on your list, and you can even make hand-made beads to reduce the costs of your materials. Just make miniature origami ornaments like the teardrop, spray with a clear acrylic coating, and string like regular beads. You can also give photos as gifts in creative frames, record and make CDs if you play an instrument or sing, and use software to make personalized calendars for the upcoming new year. If all else fails, make some delicious baked goods and your gift will be greatly appreciated.

Other Options

The mall and other retail stores in general can be tempting and expensive places to do your Christmas shopping. If you’d like to try going somewhere else for more frugal and unique options, try antique stores, craft shows and fairs, thrift stores, and second-hand bookstores. You’ll find reasonably priced items with personality, and you might even be able to track down that perfect gift.

Wise Wrapping

Don’t go out and buy wrapping paper – it’s tough to resist because it’s so shiny, but you can do it. Instead, use the inner (unprinted) sides of paper bags. This is brown and boring, so you can make your own holiday stamps using potato halves and use colorful holiday paint to liven things up. For example, you can cut a star shape into your potato half, either inverted (for a colored circle with star cut-out when stamped) or with the star sticking out (for a colored star). Simply dip your potato into some festive gold paint, stamp your fancy new wrapping paper a bunch of times, and wait for it to dry. Now, to finish it off, place a small sprig from your Christmas tree on top of your gift and tie it up with raffia. You can make personalized tags in a similar way – just cut out small rectangles from your wrapping paper, fold them in half, and write inside them.


  1. great ideas as usual NIkki! Especially when the Christmas list gets longer every year!

  2. Wonderful tips!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  3. Ooooh, I love the part about gifts for entire families, rather than a separate gift for each family member. Great idea!

  4. Great ideas! I love the "wise wrapping" and used to make potato stamps when I was younger, they are so cute!


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