First Person: We Are Saving Money with DIY Holiday Gifts

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First Person: We Are Saving Money with DIY Holiday Gifts

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Everyone loves to choose from a variety of Christmas cookies during the holidays.

My family plans to bake, make and take what we already have to create gifts as part of our DIY holiday plan to save money. According to a recent article by MSN Money, we are not the only ones who are going to be frugal this year. The article cited a Capital One Holiday Survey that showed 70 percent of people plan to make something instead of buying something. It may not be a good trend for some retailers, but could boost the sales at hobby shops and craft supply stores. Amazingly, the Chase Freedom lifestyle index survey revealed purchases in the craft store category were up 91 percent compared to last year, according to MSN Money. The survey Capital One survey says 43 percent plan to bake holiday treats. Forty-two percent intend to prepare meals for the holiday and 18 percent will design their own holiday decorations.

Sticking to a holiday budget

I have found it challenging to stick to a holiday budget when making craft items and homemade gifts. Oftentimes, I run out of supplies or ingredients half way through a project. Sometimes, I end up with extra ingredients I just have to throw away. This year, I plan to save money by making similar gifts for different people. I am going to take some people off my Christmas list instead of going over budget. The Capital One survey showed 57 percent of those surveyed are concerned their spouse or significant other will not stay on budget. I am not worried about my husband, who does the stocking-stuffer shopping.

Getting ideas on Pinterest

I found inspiration for low-cost holiday gifts by visiting the Pinterest site. One idea I got from the site was to paint pine cones as inexpensive holiday decorations. Since I have two pine trees in my backyard, it was easy for me to collect the pine cones. I also liked the idea of sawing off a piece of the Christmas tree each year to fashion the wood into Christmas ornaments labeled with the year. After finding my inspiration on Pinterest and Facebook, I search my yard for natural items that can be used for wreaths and indoor accents such as pine cones, berries, branches and bleeding heart vines.

Sharing the DIY holiday spirit

Other members of my extended family also like to make creative gifts for the holidays. People have told me they are tired of just giving cash gifts or gift certificates. One relative is making everyone ornaments using crushed glass. My son uses old-fashioned Mason jars to seasonal snow globes. My husband takes our favorite family photographs to create personalized calendars for each of us. Although I'm no Martha Stuart, my family members love to visit her site to get ideas for handmade gifts.

In addition to saving money with homemade food gifts and gifts in a jar, we also recycle old Christmas cards, wrapping paper, ribbons and decorations to save money. It's exciting not only to save money but to conserve resources for the environment. We feel better taking part in a truly "green" Christmas that doesn't put us in the red financially.

More from this contributor:

My Early Holiday Shopping Strategies

The End of Holiday Overspending

Consumer Sentiment Slide, but I'm No Scrooge


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