Archive for December 18, 2017

Ten Last Minute Gifts That Won’t Break Your Budget

No matter how hard we may try, it feels like it is impossible to get all of our holiday shopping finished by the time the big day arrives. May it be a last-minute Secret Santa at the office or an unexpected gift from a friend or family member, there are many reasons why it is hard to stay on track of your shopping. Luckily, there’s quite a few last-minute gifts that will impress others without breaking your budget. These ten items are sure to make you feel like you handled unexpected gifts like a boss, which will make your holiday shopping even more rewarding. So, don’t panic next time you realize you’re short a gift or two because these ten ideas will help you get through the holiday crisis.

1. Gift Card
If you want one of the quickest options for someone you’re not quite sure about, then a gift card can really do the trick. The best thing about gift card is the amount of options you have to choose from. If you’re not sure what to get then you can always grab something for coffee or food, as so many cafes and restaurants offer gift card options. There are also cards for department stores, game stores and so much more. Of course, you can also keep this gift close to your budget. They sell gift cards for as low as $5, so you won’t have to reach too far, especially if your office has a low cap on the gifts you can purchase. A small gift card can also top off a gift you may have already planned out, such as a mug.

2. Snack in a Jar
A snack in a jar is one of the best ways to put creativity to work. All you really need to begin this craft is a clean mason jar and a lid. Once you’ve decided what you would like to do then grab the ingredients and pour them so that they create a cute design. One of the best options is for a cookie in a jar. This will allow you to separate the flour, sugar and colorful ingredients, like candy, to create lovely layers. Of course, you can do this for hot cocoa, brownies and other desserts. If you don’t have a sweet tooth on your list, then consider a ramen in a jar treat or even packing Chex Mix and other savory treats. When you have your snack made and secured in the jar then dress up the exterior of the jar. You can add ribbons, reindeer antler, elf feet and more. Decorating after the development of the snack will help keep glitter and other craft items out of the food portion of your gift.

3. Decorative Plant
If you’re looking for a great gift for a colleague or even someone with a green thumb, then a decorative plant is a great option that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. One of the biggest trends for these plants are succulents, which don’t emit a strong odor and won’t take up too much space in an office. These can easily be found in home improvement stores or even department stores, so they will suit your last minute needs. These plants can even be decorated to suit the holidays with fun decals or even simple craft supplies. Of course, you can always go with a classic decorative plant too, which you can find year-round. These plants shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg either and can be picked to suit the person you’re shopping for.

4. DIY Painted Portraits
If you know someone that likes art or has kids, then a painted portrait is a great way to give this season. You don’t have to be a master at the world of art in order to pull off this gift either. All you need is a digital photo. You can place a variety of filters on it to make it suit the painting style that you want. This is great because it allows you a little freedom with your art. Two of the most common options are pop art and water color though, so if you’re looking for an easier task then one of these methods is the way to go. Once you have the filter added on to the picture then print it out. All you have to do is go over the printed image with paint to create a fun look. Of course, you can get even more into this craft if you have more time and experience. When your painting is dry then put it in a frame and wrap it up for the lucky recipient.

5. Personalized Mug
Personalized mugs are another great gift that are simple to do. Plus, they can suit your colleagues well and work perfectly for friends and family that love tea or coffee. You can make a personalized mug with your own craft supplies if you are in a real rush. This can be very inexpensive too. All you need is a blank mug, ceramic paint and a sealer. You might also print out or make your own stencil to help make the mug look professional. Of course, if you want to go the extra mile and have a bit more time to work, you can easily have a mug made up for the recipient. This will cost a bit more, but you’ll have a mug that will look great. In order to go the extra mile with your gift, toss some tea bags, coffee beans or hot cocoa mix into the mug for good measure.

6. Bath Bomb Set
Soaking in a tub is a great way to kick back and relax. That’s why a bath bomb set is going to be one of the best ways to give someone on your list a frugal gift in a hurry. There’s lots of bath bombs you can purchase at a reasonable price. These bath bombs tend to be of good quality and can help ease your shopping pains in a hurry. Of course, if you want to save even more money or you simply have a lot of people to gift to, then you might want to make them on your own. You will be surprised as to how easy this is and you can do it with basic household items and essential oils. Once you have your bath bombs made up, you can even make the packaging cute. For instance, you can put them in a customized bag or decorated mason jar.

7. Soft Blanket
One of the best things about winter is curling up with a soft blanket when the weather is cold. If you know a coach potato or just someone who is always cold, then this is a great option to choose for a frugal and fast gift. Since it is practically winter, you’re going to see a wide variety of blankets in just about any department store you walk into. Luckily, most of these blankets won’t cost you much at all. As a matter of fact, you can find some for $5 or less if you know where to shop. These blankets come in a wide variety of colors, prints and characters too. If you want to spend a little extra on someone then you can always find a blanket with a cute cartoon or geeky character to make things even more fun. This blanket is sure to be a hit with most people, particularly if they love to binge watch shows or read when the weather is frightful.

8. Baked Goods
Another great way to warm the hearts of anyone on your list is to add a special baked good under their holiday tree. This will be very frugal on your end and will allow you to put a little love into your gift. You might want to ask around and find out what kind of treats the recipient may want to eat. Of course, if you have a specialty then this might be wise to work with that, so you know you’ll be giving out something that you’re good at making. This is a fun gift to work with because the options are endless. You can make cookies, brownies, cakes or a combination of all three. When your goods are done then place them in a decorative tin, bag or box. This gift will be a special surprise if given when the items are still fresh or even hot, so you can really push the boundaries on this last minute gift. Plus, if you already had the supplies in your pantry, it won’t cost you anything extra.

9. Alcohol
If you’re celebrating with friends, then one simple gift that will make them happy is their favorite kind of alcohol. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and purchase an expensive bottle. Rather, choose a frugal option that you know they will enjoy. This is especially great as a gift if you’re headed to a party for a gift exchange. It can help cut back on the hosts expenses and will brighten someone’s day. You can even go the extra mile by making up a mixed drink starter to help the alcohol go further. Best of all, you can have fun with the alcohol bottles or cans. For instance, you can turn them into cute reindeers or even make them into holiday trees. This will add a festive touch on your gift and will ensure they are enjoyed even more.

10. Re-Gift
If you’re in a pinch and you have something lying around the house that you know someone is actually going to enjoy then go ahead and re-gift it. This will not only clear up space in your home, but will help you save money when it comes to buying for others. Re-gifting is probably one of the easiest ways to handle a crisis situation during the holiday season as it only takes a few minutes to re-wrap and tag a gift that was probably given to you by someone that hardly knows you. Although it is easy to feel guilty about re-gifting, chances are many of the seasonal gifts you receive won’t last long enough for someone to realize you gave it away anyway. It will also give someone else a chance to enjoy an item that you won’t get as much pleasure out of.

The holiday season can be really hard to navigate through when it comes to all of the spending we have to do. It is even harder when an unexpected gift turns up and you want to practice good etiquette by returning the favor. These ten ideas should help you get out of your bind without forcing you to spend a small fortune on gifts. Now, you can keep your cool when something comes up, because you’ll have a few frugal ideas to help you get through the occasion with ease.