I know I'm not the only one who feels the pinch in my budget during the holidays. Ouch! It's not much fun. Now, I'm not talking about the act of picking out and giving gifts; I really enjoy that part. It's the deflated bank account I seem to have after buying all those gifts.
If you've read previous posts or my book 8 (Really Creative) Ways to Save, you know that I don't use my credit card for Christmas. I strive to pay cash or use my debit card, that way, I make it into January guilt-free.
This year has been extra interesting because I am not earning a steady paycheck as I once was when I was a teacher. I say "interesting" not as a bad thing, because I've really gotten into shopping the sales, using coupons, and becoming very resourceful. My husband works hard for our money, and I want to make sure to honor him by spending as wisely as I can.
In fact, one of my favorite gifts this year hardly cost me anything. They are the presents for my music students. I have five students and they will each get to enjoy this gift. Here's some pics:
Here's the breakdown of these gifts:
1. A couple of years ago (after Christmas), I found these beautiful cupcake liners with matching embellishments. I purchased them for at least half off, so no more than $3 because the holiday was over. Then I put them with my other seasonal items in boxes so I'd have them this year. Cost this year: $0.
2. Cake mixes have been so cheap lately! I guess it's just because it's the holidays and that's when baking supplies are at rock-bottom prices. I stacked a coupon with an in-store offer and ended up with 3 of my favorite name-brand cake mixes for about .75 cents a piece. I decided I would doctor a box of devil's food cake mix with a recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor (if you've never tried her stuff, do it today!). Cost of my cupcake mix: .75 cents
3. I had most of the ingredients on hand for these chocolate cherry cupcakes with fudge frosting. Still, I needed two more ingredients to finish off the recipe. I bought canned cherry pie filling (store brand) and chocolate chips (name brand). Both were on sale and I paid about $2.15 for each. Cost for ingredients: $4.30
4. My students will appreciate the cupcakes the most, but their parents will appreciate this part the most. I designed and printed out gift-certificates for a free music lesson in the future (not pictured). I found my graphics online and they are commission-free, so I used those in a document and just added my text. I printed them out and attached them to bags of leftover cookies I have from a party I hosted a few days ago. Cost for certificates: $0
There you have it! Some of my favorite gifts ever and I made five of them for a little over a dollar a piece.
There are many ways to be resourceful this holiday season and beyond. You just have to think outside of the box!
What are some of your favorite ways to be resourceful during this season? I'd love to hear about in the comments below.