As a broke millennial sometimes the holidays aren’t so joyful. Especially if you’re trying to make it on your own, buying someone that special something can seem downright impossible. Even if you keep it to a minimum of $10 per person, if you have 25 people to buy for, that’s still $250. My head is starting to race just thinking about it. As someone who lives in one of Michigan’s most expensive places to live, you can imagine I’ve gotten pretty crafty when it comes to gift giving. I absolutely love giving gifts and I used to short my budget from my necessities just to buy the ones I love something for Christmas. Then I realized that the love I have for gift giving doesn’t have to be stressful and budget tightening. It can be cost efficient and (in my opinion) even more meaningful with something heartfelt and DIY.
Share the gift giving love with all your family, friends, and co-workers with these DIY Christmas Money Savers.
Bulk Baked Goods
I’m putting this first because it’s my favorite. Who doesn’t love receiving goodies on Christmas? For $25 or less, you can make a good amount of baked goods and decorate them in cute containers from the dollar store. Think easy baked goods such as no-bake cookies, fudge, sugar cookies, peanut butter balls, those awesome pretzel things with the M&M’s in the middle (no idea what they’re called.) These are all things with a high yield for a low cost. Don’t be afraid to doll up the containers you got from the dollar store with ribbon or a personalized message on a cut out piece of paper.
Hot Cocoa + Mugs
You’ll see a dollar store theme here (I love that place!) Pick up a box of hot cocoa and some white mugs from the dollar store. Then you can decorate the mugs however you want with a sharpie. Personalize them with names, doodles, or quotes and bake them in an oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees to set the sharpie. Gift them with the hot cocoa inside the mug and you can even add some extra marshmallows, a spoon, or wrap the whole mug in some cellophane wrap and tie it with a ribbon. Again, all things found at the dollar store!
If you’re not a DIY-er, that’s cool. It’s not for everyone. To keep your budget where you want it to be, get one main gift for your loved ones. Compare prices at stores and online, look for deals, and don’t be afraid to spend half the price of what it looks like you spent.
If you have a hobby that you love, share it! Whether it be homemade soaps, a knitted scarf, or a painting. People love these kinds of gifts because you took the time to make it yourself. They don’t even realize you did it to save money. A couple years ago I made my parents wall decor made out of old barn wood that was lying around my dads and some paint we had in a closet. They turned out amazing, still hang in my parents’ homes, and cost me $0.
I know sometimes the struggle is realer than you like to admit. If you’re thinking you can’t even make some of these Christmas ideas work, be honest about it. Let your family know that you’re a little tight on cash this year. Suggest that everyone does a secret Santa at your holiday party so you only have to purchase 1 gift instead of several. You can make it silly and have a white elephant party for your Friendsmas (where you wrap up something you have laying around your house you don’t need anymore and everyone votes on the silliest gift.)
Bottom line is, you don’t have to make the holidays stressful. Living on your own, trying to make a budget work, and figuring out how to “adult” is stressful enough. Don’t overthink your gift giving and start your shopping off with an idea of how much you want to spend in the end.
What gift giving ideas do you have for your budget this year? Comment below! I love hearing all the crafty things people come up with during the holidays.