Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ways to Save On the Holiday by RebelsMommy

I was recently looking for someone to help run the blog my last few months of pregnancy and a friend of mine stepped up and said she would be happy to help writing blogs so that we have more posted for people to read and keep people informed.

Please welcome RebelsMommy on our facebook page!

Here is her first blog: Ways to Save On The Holidays

I know you hate hearing it, but in the economic recession were in (yuck) most families can’t afford to do much for Christmas this year. According to most retail stores, money is being spent mostly on children’s items. Most families are opting to buy more for their children and less for themselves.

I’m a unfortunate part of this statistic. My husband has been out of work for some time now and I’ve recently lost my job. Both of us have returned to school trying to expand our options before turning back to the classifieds. Needless to stay money is tight and we have s-t-r-e-a-c-h every dollar to the max. Christmas is no exception.
The past month I’ve scoured the internet and my own creativity to come up with simple ways to come up with the Christmas gifts you simply can’t afford. I gave myself a $100 limit for EVERYONE’S gifts. Our list included roughly 15-20 people including extended family and friends. I was able to make it work!
*Re-Gift. It’s not as tacky as you think. I had a bunch of brand new t shirts that simply did not fit me and were very…erm…not my style. They were BRAND NEW with the price tags still dangling but not returnable because, well, I don’t even know where the original gifter got them! I gifted them to my smaller, more ‘hip’ sister!
*Trade. In the event those t shirts could not be gifted, my second option would have been to trade them for something I could give as a gift! I’ve listed several items on craigslist and was able to trade them for one ‘big’ thing I wanted. Your ‘trash’ is another man’s treasure!
*Show your crafty side! From sewing to soap making to beading, you can easily make a gift for anyone. I took a pound of melt and pour glycerin soap and used simple food coloring and $2 (including shipping) molds from to make bags and bags of cute mini soaps in a variety of shapes and colors. I used scrap cotton fabric and sewed little bags to put them in so I wasn’t harming the environment (and wasting money) on plastic baggies. (With glycerin soap you do need to wrap your finished product in plastic wrap. Otherwise they will suck up all the moisture in your home!)
Have a baby on your list? I bought ½ a yard of fleece fabric from Walmart for $1.47 and downloaded Katrina’s Sew Quick Longies Pattern. I was able to sew up FOUR pairs of newborn longies for my neighbor’s goddaughter for A DOLLAR FORTY SEVEN! Even if I factor in ink, paper, tape, and thread, it’s still just $1.50
Older children will love crayon roll ups, which take minimal fabric (I used two pieces of (4 inch by 6 inch roughly, sometimes more or less) cotton fabric and one piece of fleece with about a foot of ribbon). You can find patterns all over the internet. New mom’s of boys will love pee pee tee pee’s and soft fleece blankets. You can find all sorts of patterns with a quick google search or by trying You can get a yard of cute fleece and make a tie blanket for the newborn on your list. As a mom I know, I could NEVER have enough blankets.

Have a teen on your list? Hit the thrift store or your closet for a old pair of jeans. Simply cut the legs off, turn them inside out and sew up the bottom. Cut holes on the top and take a strip of the jean material and weave it through the holes. Voila! Instant laptop bag! You could even add a strap to make it a fashionable purse.
Use the fabric scraps to make a pair of soft baby shoes. You could whip up roughly 3-4 size 0-6 month pairs with the two pant legs! has several free, easy to use patterns.
Teen boys are a little harder, but still completely feasible. I used some chunky wood beads to whip up my nephew a simple bracelet. In the past I have made ‘tshirt pillows’. My nephew was really fond of one of my husband’s Fender Guitar t shirts that was NOT school appropriate (it had a pin-up model on it). My husband never wore it but I couldn’t give it to him knowing he would probably sneak it to school and get in trouble. I cut the sleeves off, turned it inside out and sewed it up in a square, cutting of the excess. After turning it back out and stuffing it I just whip stitched it and needless to say, he was a very happy teen!

Lip balm. It’s fun and any one of any age or sex can use them. The internet is bursting with ‘recipes’ and you can tweak them to fit what you have on hand or can afford to buy. My favorite is 2 table spoons beeswax, 2 table spoons shea butter, ½ a tablespoon of cocoa butter, a healthy drizzle of olive oil, a few drops of LorAnne flavoring oil. Just heat in a double boiler and when melted, pour into containers. I usually let them completely harden on the countertop before putting the caps on and sealing them (it only takes a few minutes anyways!).

*Try making a few bucks, or gift cards. is a Google based search engine that rewards your searches with ‘swagbucks’. Use these bucks to ‘buy’ PayPal, Amazon gift cards, starbucks gift cards and more. I take surveys through pinecone research and I’m rewarded weekly with checks to deposit into my savings towards more shopping!

*Price check, price match, and couponing /store rewards. I just bought a pillow pet for $1.25. How? Coupons! My husband needed body spray today. I had $5. The body spray was $5.95. I bought it with money to spare. How did I do it? I had the drug store price match Wal-Mart’s prices. It might be a pain, but when it comes to saving money (and occasionally convince), it’s 110% worth it. The biggest frugal hint (especially when your grocery shop!!) is CHECK THE UNIT PRICE. It could be a lifesaver. A little math can save you a TON!

My last tip. DON’T BLOW YOUR SAVINGS! If you scoured and scraped by to accomplish everything you needed to and saved $100, then went out and blow it, you didn’t really save the money! You just were frugal and cheap until the last minute. Put those big bucks back in the bank until you have so much money you don’t need to be frugal anymore!

Happy Holidays!

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