It’s the holiday season. Some people in our lives can be more difficult to buy for than others. It can be hard to purchase for our kids teachers, because we don’t spend much time with them to get a good idea of their likes and dislikes. And, if you’re like me and have multiple kiddos and/or kids that are in middle or high school and have multiple teachers, it can get expensive. But, it doesn’t have to be. I put together some budget friendly gift ideas for you:
School supplies: Due to enormous budget cuts, many teachers have to come out of their own pockets for school supplies. Why not lessen their burden by replenishing these items this holiday season? Send in a basket with tissues, pencils, hand sanitizer, crayons, and more. I tend to over purchase when school begins, and have plenty to donate mid-year.
Gift cards: Teachers love gift cards! I’m sure any teacher you ask would rather go grab a nice massage or Starbucks coffee with a gift card, then get another coffee mug, right? Good news, you can save on gift cards too. There are plenty of places on the web that sell discounted gift cards. Even Amazon and Ebay run specials on discounted gift cards.
Reusable Water Bottle: Perfect for the classroom. And, having your child decorate it makes it even more special. You can usually find a good water bottle for around $10!
Handmade appreciation cards: If you’re on a very tight budget. A special, personal, handmade card is a great gift for your child’s teacher. And, because all you need is paper and markers or crayons, you could do this for the lunchroom staff, office staff, custodians, everyone on your child’s list!
Homemade treats: Another great idea for those of us on very tight budgets. Make a plate of delicious baked goods. Place in a decorative tin which can be found at the Dollar Stores around town, and you have a great gift for under $5!
There are just a few budget-friendly gift ideas to get you thinking. Happy holidays!
On the night before Christmas what we don’t want to do
is run out for bows, tape, or glue.
We’ve made sure we have batteries and all the right tools
to put together a big toy or two.
The stockings are hung and soon those we will fill
full of sugary things that will make our kids ill.
For dinner we’ll have turkey or ham,
corn on the cob and some candied yams.
We have our ingredients, sugar and spices
to fulfill all our taste bud vices.
There are plenty a way for our thirst to cure.
We have hot chocolate, eggnog and apple cider.
When our food choices put digestion to the test,
we know that mint herbal tea will help us the best.
We’ve put the tinsel and bells on our trees
and left out for Santa a plate of cookies.
Then send out the cards to those that we know
and call family to talk about snow.
We’ll set up our reindeer out on the lawn
and string lights that we’ll keep on all night long.
We know for this day we have been waiting all year
and found some good deals to help spread the cheer.
We have prepared for our family traditions
in spite of our untimely teenage sedition.
We have new pajamas and new winter hats
put wreaths on on our doors and elf ears on our cats.
Our doorways are garnished with sprigs of mistletoe
so we can steal a kiss with that someone we know.
We’ll read Christmas stories and perhaps go to mass
and vow in our hearts these feelings will last.
We’ll bring good will the rest of the year through
and bring soup to the hungry and those with the flu.
We will continue to do that which is right,
make people happy and avoid family fights.
Yes this is what we’ll do to reduce our stress
while living more and spending less.
And the last thing we need to do
is wish a Happy Holidays from us to you.
Merry Christmas from Thrifty Divas!
It’s not yet Christmas and I feel like I’ve been cooking and baking almost non-stop these days. One more weekend coming up between now and Christmas will likely mean more parties, get togethers…and more cooking. In case you find yourself needing a little break, make it a thrifty one. Here are a bunch of deals you can get right now. Give yourself a break without breaking the bank. Check out the great restaurant coupons and deals below.
Spend $8.00, Receive $2.00 with Ibotta.
Click here to print a coupon good for a free dessert with the purchase of one regular sub and fountain drink. This offer is valid through 12/16.
Click here to print a coupon good for a free appetizer or kid’s meal with the purchase of one adult entree. This offer is valid though 12/31.
Click here to print a coupon good for a $5.99 adult buffet. This offer is valid through 12/14.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill
This coupon gets you $5 off your next visit. This offer is valid through 1/4.
If you join Club Cinnabon here, you’ll get a coupon good for a free Minibon cinnamon roll and free MochaLatta.
How does endless appetizers for $10 sound?
Here’s a coupon for $1.00 off a regular Grand Gobbler sandwich. This offer is valid through 12/31.
Mix and match two sandwiches for only $5.00. You don’t need a coupon for this deal.
Click here to print a coupon good for a free combo meal upgrade with any purchase.
Hardee’s has a lot of freebie and $1.00 off coupons here.
How about a free pizza? Get a free pizza with every $25.00 gift card purchase. This offer is valid through 12/31.
Anybody else already tired of being in the kitchen so much?
You’ve put up your decorations. You’ve begun shopping and maybe even wrapping presents. You’re gearing up for the holiday you’ve waited for all summer. 😉 Okay, so maybe you haven’t yet, but I have.
Maybe it’s the planner in me. Maybe it’s the shopper in me. Whatever it is, I have started thinking about what deals I’m going to be looking for on December 26.
As our family decorated the tree this year, we managed to break an ornament. We broke a couple last year because the little ones couldn’t keep their hands off of the shiny, colorful “balls” on the tree. So, I’m taking notes.
1. Tree Décor. Take note of the tree décor you have and what you’d like for next year. Maybe you would simply like to replace ornaments that have been broken or lost. Perhaps you’re thinking you’d like to make more dramatic changes and alter the style or color combinations on your tree. You’ll never have a better perspective on the changes you’d like make than right now.
2. Wreaths and other holiday décor. I got a great deal on a wreath about six years ago. It’s been a great wreath. But, it was one of those that you buy green to add your own decorative pieces. It was a fantastic deal and super cute. But, some of those pieces are falling off now. So, I’ll be looking for deals on wreaths on December 26 this year so that we can be ready with a wreath for next year. If you have tablecloths that are worn or if you added another table to your holiday supplies (as we did), you may need a new tablecloth for next year. The best time to get the best price on a holiday tablecloth will be right after Christmas.
3. Lights. They can be such a headache. How is it that in the year that they simply sit in storage, they just decide to stop working? That happens every year it seems, right? Don’t wait until next year to be reminded how many strings stopped working this year. Take notes and replace them in two weeks!
4. Wrapping paper. I almost always buy Christmas wrapping paper the day after Christmas. It’s always at least 50% off right after the holidays. Since it’s so easy to store, it’s worth it.
Bonus Tip: Many stores now begin their Christmas clearance markdowns as early as December 23rd. So if there’s something that’s a high priority on your shopping list, it may be worth it to take a look early!
Will you be doing any Christmas décor shopping the day after Christmas?
Shopping for gifts can be fun and joyful or it can be stressful and frustrating. The difference is not simply about when and where you go shopping for your gifts but in how much you actually have to spend. When funds are tight, buying gifts can feel like a heavy burden. It can become difficult to imagine buying an iPad for your teenager when you know that he or she needs gas money or new shoes. So it’s important to keep in mind that giving can still be joyful if what you’re giving is something more practical than fun.
Here are a few gift ideas that may not seem exciting but would still be a blessing to a person who could use them:
•Gas cards for the teenagers
•A grocery store gift card for a friend or relative
•Paying a relative’s cable bill
•Drugstore gift certificates for family members
•Gift certificates at a campus bookstore for students
•Car insurance payment for college students
•Pizza delivery coupons for a college student
•Household or bath essentials
•Batteries or a battery charger
Stockings are also a fantastic place to stuff practical gifts. Items such as chap stick, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, and shampoo and soaps are great choices mixed with fun, but inexpensive, treats…like chocolate! 😉
Children don’t appreciate unwrapping practical gifts quite as much, however. That does not mean, though, that they need to have twenty boxes of toys to open up on Christmas morning. Opt for buying fewer but higher quality toys for younger children. They don’t know how many you wanted to buy them. Buy toys they like but give yourself a limit (either the number of toys or amount you can spend) so that things don’t get out of hand.
What other practical gifts have you given or received for Christmas?
Thrift stores are amazing places to find gifts. I don’t mean just clothes or gently used toys. These type of stores are also a great place to find discarded and gently used collector items. Here are a few examples I have found of fun collector gifts.
Do you have a book collector or history buff on your shopping list? Some thrift stores have an amazing variety of books for these types of people. We have found an economics book from the early 1900’s. We have found a very detailed personal account of World War II from Poland. We have even found historical and collector’s editions of news magazines. These items are just dropped off at Goodwill or The Salvation Army and then sold for pocket change, but they are invaluable to your book collectors and hobby historians.
Thrift stores are where home decor items go to die or be reborn. There are baskets, candle holders, vases, and fake flowers. I have found full tea sets and beautiful tea pots for your tea pot collector. I have even found a ceramic kitchen canister set for a quarter of the in-store price. There are wall hangings, curtains, and a diverse selection of lamps. There’s even a section filled with little figurines. I have seen everything from Precious Moments to Hello Kitty. Before going out and buying a new item, stop by the thrift store. Who knows, you may stumble upon a collectors dream come true.
There are more than just waffle irons and mixing bowls in your kitchen department at your local thrift stores. There are also donut and bagel makers. There are cake molds, egg pans, and fondue pots. These are the discarded tools of unrealized kitchen projects, but to your hard core baker these items could be a real find. You can most often find the correct color for your kitchen decor. These items will make your resident cook happy, and when the cook is happy so are you.
What awesome things have you found at a thrift store?
For children the time of Christmas is a time to get gifts and be excited for the fun traditions that go with the holiday season. Parents feel the same about the holiday season, but may also view gift giving in a more practical sense. Now is the perfect time to give winter wear, socks, and other needed items. Keeping the balance between the expectations of children and the practicality of parents can be difficult, but there are ways to go about doing so.
Clothes can be difficult to choose for kids. It’s even more difficult when you’re sure your kids don’t want clothes. There are a few ways to make receiving clothes fun for your children. They may have a favorite cartoon character that merchandisers have put on a shirt or coat. The colors of the socks can be bright or crazy patterns. Slippers could be in the form of a favorite animal. Make the clothing fun by tapping into your inner child and the silliness that can go along with clothes.
Give a gift that promotes your child’s favorite talent. You’ll most likely end up paying for martial arts training or painting lessons at some point. Make it a gift. Some classes offer discounts or deals during the holidays. It’s a good time to also purchase an instrument. These are long term gifts and your child will get more use out of them as well as a useful skill.
Don’t Go Overboard
While having a practical theme can be fun for you, it may not be fun for your child. For example, you may think it’s fun and practical to theme your gifts around potty training, but your toddler may not. Get a book with their favorite character and maybe some target stickers to put in their stocking. Also get something fun for them that has nothing to do with the practical theme. Make sure it’s something special, just for them.
It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I’ve begun to feel that pressure. You know what I mean, don’t you? The lists. The shopping. The preparations, which send me back to the shopping list. It’s my favorite time of the year. But it can also be such a stressful time in some ways. There are a few things we can do to try to ensure that the season remains calm and bright, rather than harried and exhausting.
Plan Ahead. Plan in advance the kinds of gifts you would like to buy and start comparison shopping to find out where you’ll get your best deal on those items. If you find that there aren’t huge differences in prices between a couple of stores, consolidate. That is, sometimes it’s worth the few extra cents to make one stop instead of two.
Shop Online. My policy is that if I can get it online at the same price or better than what I can get at a local store, I’m doing it! Having a package arrive at my door is my ideal way of shopping. Avoid shipping costs by consolidating online as well. Most sites have a minimum purchase of $35 or $50 to avoid shipping costs. It’s the best way to shop and avoid the hassles of holiday parking and crowds.
Give. This year our family is participating in Operation Christmas Child, a project which is organized by Samaritan’s Purse Ministries. It’s a wonderful way for our children to remember that this time of the year is not simply about getting a bunch of new stuff and comparing their gadgets with those of their friends. Giving to organizations like Samaritan’s Purse provides the opportunity to bring perspective to a highly commercialized special holiday.
What do you do to maintain peace of mind and perspective at this time of the year?