For Mom, 2nd grade teacher and homemaker: A bundle of Hallmark magazines from 2007. I know she doesn't subscribe to this magazine but I think she would enjoy reading my old copies.
For Dad, retired math teacher: A set of geometry crossword puzzles with vocabulary words and problems that I have made for my classes (I am a math teacher, too). He loves to do crossword puzzles and I know he enjoys math.
For Brother #1, college student living on his own for the first time: A set of easy recipes, many from thriftyfun.com, that I have made successfully and that he can make in his apartment, or cook for my parents if he decides to ditch his slacker roommates and move back home. He seems to enjoy cooking and talks about how his roommates only eat "gross frozen food."
For Brother #2, aspiring auto-mechanic: A monogrammed mechanics clean-up kit. This will consist of a bottle of dishwashing detergent with his initials written on it with a sharpie, as well as shop rags also with his initials in sharpie. Of course, the shop rags would come from my husbands pile of old clean socks with holes. (I know, it's kind of a stretch, but he is hard to think of gifts for.)
For Hubby: Fresh AA batteries and a new brush head for his electric toothbrush that he hasn't used in a few months just because he's been to busy to charge the batteries and I keep forgetting to get him a brush head.
I hope other people will also contribute their ideas!
By Allison from northeast TN
Good ideas, and great concept. I'm inspired.
My 3 year old son will get a folder of "coloring pages" printed out from his favorite websites.
The thing about thrifty gifts, is that it helps to have witty sense about them. What could you add to the magazines to give to your mother? A bottle of 99 cent store cologne? a collection of product samples.
Ditto your father's present - some old books on topics that interest him? His favorite dimestore candy? The auto mechanic gift is on the right track...Your husband - especially marked underwear? an old tool? A book?
I find that clusters of little things work the best.
Re: your husbands toothbrush. Might it be worth considering buying him a rechargeable toothbrush instead of costly batteries? I am sure that in the long run, you would save a lot more this way, than the constantly buying batteries ... & it would encourage him to use it all the time, rather than leaving it when the batteries need replacing. You would also save on dental bills, as the electric toothbrushes do a much better job of cleaning.
Maybe then, when his birthday arrives, you could buy him a pack of new heads for his toothbrush.
Hope this opens up some other ideas that may cost a little to begin with, but save a lot over a period of time.
My hubby is a retired mechanic and he still has his old habits of putting nuts screws bolts etc. in his pocket so I save old jars and such to put them in on his bedside table works great.
Other idea's I came up with: for a gardener (idea#1) make a kitchen composter, take a 3 lb empty coffee can, put charcoal in bottom (buy charcoal cheaply at fish & pet store) place a used clean produce bag inside the coffee can over the charcoal and close with the coffee can lid. Two would be great, that way gardener can let a can air out at times while using the other.
(idea#2) create a plant pot (think outside the box) out of a container you already have - for instance I took an old metal fan, removed the wire basket on either side, placed a cocoa-liner inside the wire basket, attached a metal plant hanging chain to it at top, filled with soil and a plant. IT'LL PROBABLY OUTLAST ME.
*For a cook: (idea#1) cut recipes and a piece of heavy vinyl tablecloth the same size and staple together; or
(idea#2) if you have a serger sewing machine, take an old towel and cut into pieces large enough for dish cloths and hand towel and serge the outsides, mine have lasted 3 years now and I feel good knowing I only used an old bath towel to make the dish cloths, you could cut out a pot-holder to match by serging the sides together and hand-sew a loop at top. Another idea : take small glass jars that hold a votive candle, decorate to your pleasing (ideas: use ribbon, leather boot lace, decals, beads & wire or decoupage - use your imagination and match to a persons interest)
Well, the gifts were a hit!
I called my husband's gift an Electric Toothbrush Repair Kit. I ended up finding brush heads for $1 at Big Lots-- of course, I left the price tag on and as I mentioned before, I charged AA batteries we already had to go in it rather than buying batteries.
I even thought of something for my brother's girlfriend, who is in pharmacy school-- I made her chocolate covered spoons and called them Mary Poppins Pharmacy Spoons. I wrote "Here's a "spoonful of sugar" to help the medicine (or coffee or hot chocolate) go down." on the tag. Of course, the plastic spoons were leftovers saved from several of those rare trips to pricey, unhealthy fast food restaurants.
LOL-- not only was I able to give thrifty gifts, I was one of the monthly contest winners, so I actually made $25!
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