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Save Money and Make Gifts

Updated on October 22, 2016
A card made out of board for Fathers Day for a triathlete dad
A card made out of board for Fathers Day for a triathlete dad | Source

To Buy Or To Make?

I love celebrating special occasions, whether it be a birthday or Christmas or some other special event. Sometimes these events catch us at a time we are financially stressed. Add Christmas to that list and you are left either in debt or with no money to live. As a result I have devised ways to celebrate and give gifts that are unique, cost effective and appreciated because love, effort and time have been poured into the gift. Making or producing your own gifts is both rewarding for you and the recipient of the gift. Making a gift does not require you to be a creative genius either. It just takes a bit of time and is usually more fun and a way to relax as you create.

Easy Gift Ideas

The gifts you choose to make don't need to be elaborate. Here are some ideas that you can use to create unique and personal gifts for family and friends.

  • Cards - Handmade personal cards are much nicer to receive than store bought cards. You can tailor -make them for the person you are making it for. They have more sentimental value too. Saving money on the card allows you to spend a little more on making a lovely gift too.
  • Photographs - Everyone loves a photograph as a reminder of memories. These days with digital cameras we have the opportunity to take numerous photographs without spending a cent. Take a photograph of your own family for a grandparent, or a photograph of a place that has special meaning for someone. Editing photographs online is very easy these days with free programs like PicMonkey( ). You can adapt your photo by changing the effects, adding text, frames etc. Once the editing is done, it is very easy to have your digital photograph printed at a photo counter. These digital prints are usually very cheap - we pay between 11 cents and 15 cents a photograph here in Australia.
  • Handmade jewelry - This is another way to create simple but beautiful presents. There are many bead shops that stock stringing supplies and clasps for jewelry making. We source our beads from online bead shops or we venture out to vintage thrift stores to find old jewelry pieces that are unique and we re-use the beads or jewelry to create something new. Glass tile pendants are an easy but beautiful idea for making a unique gift for someone. See my hub entitled How to make a glass tile pendant for instructions.
  • Fabric covered journals/notebooks/diaries - These are so simple to make and very reasonable. Get a plain notebook or diary from the 99 cent store or $2 shop as we have here, and cover it with some cool fabric. You can get step by step instructions on my hub titled Creating a Fabric Covered Book.
  • Hampers - Buying a hamper with special treats is very expensive and yet very easy to make your own. Purchase products that are on special or that you have made yourself - buy a basket from a thrift store/Op shop, clean it up and pack your items into the hamper. Clear cellophane wrapped around the basket and tied with colorful ribbon makes it look fantastic.
  • Homemade treats - Home baked biscuits, truffles, jams and preserves are all wonderful gifts to receive. Most people don't have the time to bake their own treats these days and rely on store bought products so this is a great treat for them.
  • Coupon Books - This is a booklet that you create on your computer or by hand for someone. Each page in the booklet has a coupon that can be redeemed by the person who received it from you. For example the one coupon may say something like, "This coupon entitles you to a free night's babysitting so you and your loved one can enjoy a date night out." You think of specific things that will suit that person. This is a fun gift and actually costs you nothing except time.
  • Homemade DVD - We have found that many young people are immigrating or having their overseas experience and their parents are in other countries. Making a DVD of your special moments, milestones, activities is a great way to keep them feeling connected to you and your family.Programs like Moviemaker or IMovie on the computer are easy to use and give great results.
  • Scented treats - there are many online tutorials how to make scented candles and soaps. Even little scented potpourri or lavender bags are easy and simple to make.
  • Decoupage - this is another easy way to make gifts. many craft stores have items like place mats, coasters, trays, jewelry boxes that are just ready to decoupage. I made a tray for my Mum once that used wrapping paper and some printed photographs of my children. I decoupaged it and it made a fabulous gift.
  • Potted plants - Many plants are easily propagated and so taking a slip of some lovely plant in your garden and potting it into a hand painted pot can make a lovely gift. Herbs are a particularly nice gift as they can be used in cooking.
  • Recipe Book - Make your own printed recipe book of tried and tested recipes. You can make it unique by adding family photos to it, cooking quotes or scripture verses or adding a bit of history from where the recipe came from. This can be easily done in a visual diary or large notebook.
  • Key Rings - You can make these as masculine or as feminine as you wish. You can also use a photo on a glass tile to make your key ring. See How to make a glass tile pendant and adapt it.

There are so many ideas for budget friendly gifts. It is simply a case of finding some inspiration from various sources. I love reading magazines about different homes and gardens. Often I see things that are inspirational and I try to work out a way to make or create them myself without buying them for a hefty price tag.


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    • Caro Hemingway profile image

      Caro Hemingway 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I couldn't agree more Sannel - people really enjoy things that have been made with love - I find crafting is a great stress reliever too.

    • SanneL profile image

      SanneL 6 years ago from Sweden

      Great hub!

      I make a lot of my gifts myself. Not only is it more cost effective but I found it to be more appreciated than the gifts I buy. And the added benefit is, that you have so much fun while making them.

      Thank you for sharing this,


    • Caro Hemingway profile image

      Caro Hemingway 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thank you glad you got some ideas

    • Morena88 profile image

      Morena88 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great ideas! You've inspired me to get back to making gifts rather than purchasing something generic :)