This is late today because I was working on a project all morning that took up every ounce of mental ability and time I had. :-) Today I wanted to talk about frugal gift giving.
I really hesitated even bringing this subject up because it just sounds like I'm cheap! The reality is that we have zero discretionary income for gifts so I have to be very thrifty and very creative. Thrifty doesn't mean thoughtless though. I really try to put a lot of thought and meaning into the things I give others.
Some people appreciate it and others don't. Unfortunately, there are people out there who think gifts need to be big and expensive to be meaningful. So no matter how much I try, my gift won't cut it for them. Oh well! It's their loss.
Being frugal in this area will take some planning ahead. I always scope out the after the holiday, marked down items at different stores. You can get some really cool deals there. Like the time I found some really cute, fabric, animal Easter baskets for ten cents. I've used them to package a gift for a baby shower. I pack them full of sewn burp cloths or baby washcloths. They always turn out so cute.
One year I stocked up on crayons, child's scissors, markers, etc. as I found them on sale. I made tote bags and filled them with the craft supplies for my nieces and nephews.
Emily has done the same thing for her friends' birthdays.
This past winter, I found a child's cookbook on sale for $3. One of Emily's friends had a birthday coming up and she loves to cook. So I made her an apron and Emily gave her that along with the cookbook.
Another time, a friend celebrated her 50th birthday. I packed a basket with homemade bread, a jar of pickles, and a couple of jars of jam. I gave her a handmade card with a blessing in it. Each item in the basket had a bible verse to go with it. For example, Jesus was the bread of life and because of his death she now has eternal life. The pickles represented salt and how her life was seasoned with the salt of Jesus. And so on. While it didn't cost me anything but a few ingredients and my time, was very meaningful and she loved it.
I've made cards for gifts for Mother's Day. I just package together 8-10 cards and tie them with a ribbon.
I've given table runners, aprons, dishcloths, and various other sewn items.
So as you can see, gift giving can be frugal. But at the same time, if you put thought into the things you give, can truly bless someone.