Tag Archives: presents

The $100 Holiday Challenge: Did I make it?!

The $100 holiday challenge: Can you spend just $100 on gifts this holiday season? This lady tried it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! This year we are celebrated both! This holiday season I also lost my mind and challenged myself to spend only $100 on almost 20 presents for friends and family. Check out the original post if you need a refresher.

And for those of you who were curious about my strategy, this post explains it. If you’re not feeling extra literary, here’s the short of it: I used coupons, I had a no-gift pact with my husband, I crafted and I shopped early, among other things.

Since it’s now Christmas, I can share the full details with you!

  1. Mom – $2 necklace flea market find
  2. Dad – $10 pants with a coupon at JC Penny
  3. Dog – .99 soft toy from Ikea
  4. Sister – Necklace made from materials at Michaels $10.11 with coupon and Etsy: $10.00
  5. Sister’s cat – .99 soft toy from Ikea
  6. Sister’s boyfriend – $2.78 hat with coupon from Kohl’s and coffee from my CSA (free)
  7. Mother-in-law – Gift basket made with things from the Dollar Tree: $8.00 and a neck relaxer .53 with coupon from Kohl’s
  8. Father-in-law – Set of grilling accessories: $5.33 with coupon from Kohl’s
  9. Brother-in-law – Slippers with coupon from Kohl’s: $6.39
  10. Sister-in-law – Made with same supplies from sister’s present: free
  11. Niece – Finger puppets from Ikea: $4.99
  12. Kid Cousin – $9.99 toy vehicle kit from Ikea
  13. Kid Cousin – $4.79 necklace making kit from Kohl’s with coupon
  14. Gift exchange – Made with same supplies from sister’s present: free
  15. Friend – Ice scraper from Kohl’s with coupon $7.26
  16. Friend – Purse $4.06 with coupon from Kohl’s
  17. Friend’s kid – $10 Groupon
  18. Co-workers – Nuts made with ingredients already on hand and packaged in bags from the Dollar Store $2.00

Total: $100.21

You guys, I got so close! It’s almost unbelievable! Admittedly, I probably didn’t add in tax for everything (which is pretty low here). I would have been under if everything had worked as planned– but of course it never does! I had planned on redeeming some of my credit card/debit card points for gift cards, but they didn’t arrive in time. Although I ordered them a month ago. Ugh!

Regardless, I’m considering this a win!

So what did I learn? Start early– super early. I thought I was starting early enough with a month’s leeway, but I could have used more time. The holidays are such a busy time, I’d love to just be able to sit back and enjoy them without all the shopping and craziness.

Use cash because it’s more tangible and you can easily figure out exactly how much you have left in your budget.

I also learned to look in the clearance section before even looking at something that people might enjoy. Then, use your coupons strategically. I always tried to get things for less than a dollar, if possible.

Check out those savings!

Check out those savings!

And luckily, I have a coupon crazy mom who graciously couponed for me and gave up some of her Kohl’s cash for me.

Happy holidays, ya’ll! It’s been a fun, wild ride, but I’m glad it’s over. I can’t wait for the refreshing start of a new year!

love,
melanie

20 Low-Cost Gifts to Make this Holiday

20 Low-Cost Gifts to Make this Holiday

How is it December already? Weren’t we just pumpkining all the things, jumping in all the leaves and carving all the jack-o-lanterns? Oh well. The holidays are almost here whether I like it or not.  I’m not making all my gifts this year. The handmade holiday challenge that I did last year was kind of insane. But I’ll still make a few gifts and I’ll still try to stay under $100, of course. If you are a fellow nut and want to MAKE ALL THE GIFTS here’s a few (or 20) ideas for low-cost gifts to make this holiday.

For the fashionista:

  1. A knotted bracelet
  2. A clay beads necklace
  3. Polymer clay hair accessories
  4. A holiday crown

For the foodie:

  1. DIY vanilla extract
  2. Upcycle a rolling pin
  3. Low sugar nuts
  4. Infused liquors!
  5. A personalized mug filled with coffee or chocolates

Can you knit or sew? These projects are super fun

  1. A knitted baby cape
  2. A chunky, knitted scarf
  3. A knitted scrubbie
  4. A leather clutch
  5. A look-alike, handmade American Apparel circle scarf

For everyone:

  1. Beeswax candles
  2. Pillows!
  3. A toy for your furry friends
  4. A clay bowl for jewelry, change or paper clips
  5. A hand-painted and customized ukulele
  6. And last, but not least, make everyone’s favorite gift (cash!) a little more exciting with this cash mobile.

What gifts are you making this holiday season? Tell me about them in the comments!

love,
melanie

Handmade Holiday Challenge Roundup

Gorgeous handmade socks by Hedgehog Fibres on Flickr

Gorgeous handmade socks by Hedgehog Fibres on Flickr

I didn’t finish my holiday challenge or stick to my strict budget of $100, but considering everything I had going on, I think I made a commendable effort. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

  1. Mom: This year, I gave my mom homemade vanilla extract. I think she’ll enjoy using it in her baking. $1.49 for the bottles and $2.99 for the vanilla beans. I already had the bourbon and the vodka, so I didn’t count it towards the budget. how to make vanilla extract
  2. Dad: I didn’t get anything for my Dad because he told me not to, and well, I didn’t really have time. I still love him though and he knows it.  Handmade Circle Scarf
  3. Sister: I made this imitation American Apparel circle scarf for my sister. It cost $16 for the fabric. A little steep, I tried to get cheaper fabric online, but my order was cancelled.  handmade cat toy
  4. Sister’s cat (weird, I know, but we always give our pets gifts in my family): I made Franklin, my sister’s cat, this toy with stuff I had around the house and out in the yard! He loved it and it was free. Animals and children always seem to love the presents that don’t cost anything the best.
  5. Mother-in-law: For my mother-in-law, I ordered a book of our wedding photos. Our wedding was a year ago and I have yet to print out any photos. I suck sometimes. And although, I’m not considering it homemade, I did get a good deal on the book through Groupon. ($10!)
  6. Father-in-law: We just ended up getting him a gift card to a local gun store. He has done a lot for us this year. He’s helped us to fix up the trailer and let us live on his land. ($50) customized ukulele
  7. Niece: This was probably my favorite project of the challenge. We customized this ukulele for my niece. She may be too young for it. She’s only 2! She wanted to tear off the strings when she opened it! :/ But it’s cute enough to  just sit on a shelf until she’s old enough to learn to play. I can’t find the red model that I purchased on Amazon. It was $29.95. But a similar model is sold on Amazon for a bit more.
  8. Brother-in-law: We bought him wool socks. It’s what he wanted. $20.
  9. Sister-in-law: Like my mother-in-law, I also purchased a Groupon and ordered a large canvas photo of her daughter from our wedding. $12.
  10. Husband: My poor husband didn’t get anything from me this year. We decided not to exchange gifts. We combined our anniversary and Christmas gifts and right now are on a relaxing trip to Austin, Texas! Priceless. infused liquors
  11. Friends: Our friends all received infused liquors this year. They were pumped. To make it, I used ingredients we already had on hand.
  12. Co-workers: My lovely co-workers didn’t get anything from me this year. I just couldn’t do it all.

I ended up going over budget at $142.43, but all considering, I’m proud of the work I’ve done. Next year, I’ll start on my projects earlier, so I’ll have time for unexpected things to pop up.

I hope everyone had the best of holidays. I’ll see you all in the new year!

love,
melanie