I recently received a copy of the Little Book of Big Savings by Ellie Kay. Boy is this book filled with tons of great ideas on how to save money and how to make do with what you already have. For people who eat and breath being thrifty, this book could be eaten with a spoon, it is that delicious. Going beyond the “don’t buy a latte at Starbucks” this little tomb gives hundreds and hundreds of really effective suggestions on how to save money.
Here are some of Ellie’s great thrifty “out of the box” ideas for Holiday gifts that won’t cost you a lot but are high on thoughtfulness:
Save Big on Gifts
• Ask yourself. Do you really have to give a material gift in every circumstance? Wouldn’t a card work just as well in some cases? Or a personal letter that’s filled with words of appreciation?
• Consider making or baking some of your gifts. I value handmade or homemade gifts, because I know the time and effort that goes into them. Most of my welcome and hospitality gifts are baked goods. I’ve yet to have someone turn up their nose at a hot loaf of honey wheat bread given as a hospitality present.
• Watch for sales on trial-size products such as lotions and fragrance body washes. Then when you want to give an encouragement gift or something simple, arrange them in a basket with a loofah or put them in a gift bag.
• Give the gift of a Facebook page for Mother’s Day. Middle-aged women are the most quickly growing demographic on Facebook! Set it up and have the family write a profile for Mom. Tweens and teens love this one, and even Dad can get involved. Your mom can then use the site to do here own social and professional networking as well as to keep in touch with the family.
• Assemble a playlist for your special someone’s iPod or other portable music player. Know some songs that bring your special someone to mind? Nothings will beign a smile to his or her face faster than music with lyrics that say what that person means to you or that take him or her back to a special time. Think Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath my Wings” or the Caribbean tunes played on vacation.
• Plant a vegetable garden. State out a piece of the backyard or fill window boxes, barrels, and tubs, urns or pots, and hanging baskets with seedlings and starter plants for a vegetable or herb garden. Aside from the food bill savings, harvesting the bounty will provide months of good taste and good cheer.
Ellie Kay is the best-selling author of Half-Priced Living, Living Rich for Less, and many other titles. She’s a regular on CNBC’s Power Lunch, Fox News, and CNN and been the featured family finance experet in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Family Circle and USA Today.