Posts Tagged ‘financial’

Christmas on a budget: Homemade Christmas Gifts for Everyone on your list

With the economy on a downswing, many are wondering how they can still have a great Christmas, or a Christmas at all. Luckily, there are many thoughtful gifts you can make for just a few dollars or even less.

Gifts for Kids

– Consider a toy swap with neighbors and friends. They may have new or gently used toys that their children are not interested in or are too old for.

– Check garage sales or thrift stores, you can find great toys, clothes and games at great prices. You will certainly have to dig a little, but great finds await you.

– Coloring books from the dollar store.
– Board games like Candy Land  are often on sale for 2 for $10 at Wal-Mart
– Buy discount fleece and make a no-sew blanket

If you have very young children, you can make many things at home for very little.
– A cardboard refrigerator box can be turned into a playhouse. Most toddlers prefer the box the toy came in to the toy themselves. You can cut out windows and door, then use markers, crayons, paint, fabric, etc. to make curtains, pictures, a fireplace, etc.
– Old socks can be turned into puppets with a couple button eyes and a permanant marker for a mouth. You can get creative and use fabric scraps for ears, a tougue, arms, etc.
– Fabric scraps can be turned into blankets, doll clothes, dress-up clothes… or use to make book or photo album covers, which you can also make yourself.

If you really cannot provide for your child(ren) this Christmas, check out local charities and see if you can get your child(ren) on an Angel Tree.

– A framed photo of your child with the grandparent(s)
– Have your child draw a picture and frame it
– Personally monogram a coffee mug, or have your child paint it
– Create a blog to share stories and photos of your family. This is especially great if there is some distance between the grandparents and grandkids

– Stencil napkins or linen hand towels and tie together with a pretty ribbon 
– Bake cookies or bread and deliver in a pretty basket, a plate or tin
– Potted plant
– Make bath soaps or bath salts with the kids. You can make all-natural soaps and milk-based soaps for eco-friendly options.
– Bargain books from Amazon or Barnes and Nobles
– Make ornaments with thick poster board and glitter
– Melt your old candles and make new ones. Or make them from scratch.
– Make a book of coupons: use services you can provide such as free babysitting, grass cutting, oil change, music or singing lessons… whatever you can provide to the recipient. This is completely free, other than for your time
– Check local trade schools. Many offer free or discounted prices for massages, manicures, and hair services.
– Decorate old jars with ribbon or craft foil and fill with candies or other treats
– Cookie jar – fill an old jar with the pre-measured dry ingredients for cookies or brownies with the instructions to add the “wet” ingredients and how to bake. Decorate with festive ribbon.
– Make a calendar. You can use your own photos or find images online. You can add birthdays, anniversaries, sporting events, and other important dates that would be important to the recipient.
– Make your own bath salts and put in a jar with a pretty ribbon
– Make a trivet. Buy a discount tile from a home improvement or flooring store and glue felt to the back. For a personal touch, add a monogram. If it’s for a grandparent, you can have the child paint it.
– Coupon for soup of the month club – give a quart of soup each month of the year. Great for an elderly neighbor or even a college student. Don’t like soup? Do a casserole or other dish theme instead.
– Create your own spice rub. Google spice rub recipes, make your favorite and deliver in a glass jar decked out in a festive ribbon.

– Coupon book for a night out without the kids, massage, or whatever you desire.
– Framed family photo
– Collage of family memories
– Make a photo album of favorite memories of your years together
College kid
– Make a hamper of essentials like shampoo, loopha, lotions, cotton balls, towels, washcloth, toothpaste, etc.
– Gift cards in any amount
– Make a scarf from discount fleece. Cut the desired length and then cut fringe on each end

Today Show: Martha Stewart’s Homemade gifts and goodies

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Holiday projects board

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How to save money at Whole Foods

With food prices skyrocketing, Whole Foods has become known to some as “Whole Paycheck.” The upscale chain has been hit by the slow economy and has seen its profits drop as consumers shop elsewhere.

Not wanting to lose its customers, Whole Foods has come up with a solution. They have “value gurus” who will take customers on a tour of the store and teach them how to save money shopping at Whole Foods – they highlight their own 365 brand, which I personally purchase and for the most part, it’s very good. They have also launch a website called The Whole Deal where customers share their stories.

Some interesting things I did not know about are:
• You get a 10% discount when buying 10 pounds or more of meat and/or fish
• They accept coupons from other stores

Certainly it is not “the” answer, but there are helpful tips nonetheless. Many just say the extra price is worth it (which supports their higher prices, not how to save).

Some comments are customers have a piece of mind knowing they can shop with confidence. This is true for nearly all of the store, but if you shop the body care section, I would encourage you to read labels there. I am avoiding PEG-ingredients when at all possible (and it IS possible) as well as fragrance, dioxanes, phthalates and other things that are still commonly found even in natural and organic products.

But overall, good job Whole Foods for sharing tricks for saving $$ in your stores and allowing customers to share their experience in saving money as well.