Spend less time in the mall and more time enjoying the season. 6 Ways to Simplify Christmas Gift Giving Give an Annual Gift – Rather than wandering the mall year after year in pursuit of the… Read More >
Remember the joy of building a fort in your living room? Maybe you used a card table and sheets, or maybe you created a fort with a giant box and markers. Those forts could be castles high in… Read More >
Is Black Friday shopping part of your holiday tradition? Or do you prefer the joy of couch commerce, scouring the deals from your iPad in the comfort of your home on Cyber Monday? Whatever your shopping preference, The… Read More >
Once upon a time, Thanksgiving Day meant shuffling through the newspaper, clipping coupons for Black Friday. Then we would wake up in the wee hours of the morning to race around the stores snatching up bargains. With bargains… Read More >
If you have little ones in your life, Christmas morning is likely filled with toys and hours of figuring out how to make some of them work! I can’t make those instructions for putting them together any easier,… Read More >
The Bargain Shopper’s Pledge I promise to make a list and stick to it! I promise to use the internet to compare prices and read product reviews before making purchases. I promise to do everything in my power… Read More >
The Thanksgiving Feast for 20. Your annual cookie exchange for the neighborhood. You Christmas Eve open house attended by at least 50 folks. Don’t let holiday parties and family feasts take a bite out of your grocery budget…. Read More >
Print Ho Ho Haystacks – A Super Easy No-Bake Cookie Recipe If you need a homemade treat, but you don’t have a moment to spare…Ho Ho Haystacks are your answer! They’re a cross between a candy and a… Read More >
You know that you should “never show up empty handed” to a party. At the same time, buying a hostess gift every time you are invited somewhere can get really expensive – so expensive that some people honestly… Read More >
Still need a few gifts? Wallet feeling stretched? Let this collection of festive and frugal gift ideas inspire you…everything costs less than $10 and many will cost next to nothing! If it’s a homemade gift, don’t panic –… Read More >
Before you laugh, before you decide that I’ve gone off the frugal deep end…let me explain. You won’t actually be buying a gift from the dollar store, you’ll be buying the supplies to make a Dollar Store craft… Read More >
If you’re in the full-blown Christmas panic mode, take a deep-breath, relax and treat your hands to a Coconut Sugar Scrub. Actually, this super easy 2-ingredient sugar scrub is a nice treat for you, but it’s also a… Read More >
School’s out. Santa’s coming. Let the Christmas break fun begin! The Budget Diet’s Christmas Countdown gives you 12 festive and frugal ways to make a little “merry” for less this season. There’s one activity for every day until… Read More >
Another festive and frugal DIY gift from The Budget Diet girl! These make great gifts all year round…imagine the messages, imagine the gift giving possibilities – Get Well, Happy Birthday, Welcome to the Neighborhood, Good Luck, Welcome Home…you… Read More >
Don’t get me wrong, a bottle of wine is a great hostess gift, but sometimes we want to give something more unique. The Budget Diet girl has come up with some unique and budget friendly hostess gifts for every type of party. Why don’t you give one a try this holiday season!
Hostess Gifts – Think breakfast!
The party was wonderful, your hosts had a blast, but a late night of cleaning made the morning come way too fast! Wouldn’t it be nice to leave them a breakfast hostess gift!
- Muffins or Homemade Pumpkin Bread – try my recipe for Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Filling
- Fresh Bagels and Gourmet Coffee
- French Bread with Homemade Strawberry Jam
- Homemade Granola – try my frugalicious and fast Granola Recipe!
Hostess Gifts – No Cooking Required!
Look no further than your local T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Ross or Homegoods for inexpensive hostess gift ideas! The rosemary plant will have to be purchased from a garden center.
- Rosemary Plant – smells great, looks great and it’s useful!
- Cocktail Napkins – seasonal or silly!
- Candles – choose a seasonal fragrance like cinnamon, sugar cookie or pine!
- Christmas Ornaments
- Gourmet Foods – pasta with sauce or soup mixes will make dinner the next day nice and easy!
Hostess Gifts Ideal for a Family Party
A tasty gift is sure to please the entire family or have fun putting together a CD of your family’s favorite Christmas songs!
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix
- 1 cup non-fat powdered milk
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
- 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix Directions:
- Mix together all ingredients, put in a cellophane bag or glass jar and tie with a festive ribbon.
- Add a gift tag that says: To make 1 cup of peppermint hot chocolate – add 1 cup boiling water to 1/3 cup of peppermint hot chocolate mix.
- Orange Spice Tea Mix
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant iced tea powder
- 2 cups Tang
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Orange Spice Tea Mix Directions:
- Mix together all ingredients, put in a cellophane bag or glass jar and tie with a festive ribbon.
- Add a gift tag that says: To make 1 cup of orange spice tea – add 1 cup of boiling water to 2 teaspoons of orange spice tea mix.
- Make a CD of your family’s favorite Christmas music!
Hostess Gifts for an Girly Gathering
Your homemade hostess gift will help your girlfriend relax after the party!
- Homemade Sugar Scrub or Bath Salts – Make your own for a fraction of the cost! Try these simple diy spa recipes.
This holiday season, think outside the wine bottle! Please leave a comment to share your favorite festive and frugal hostess gifts!
Be festive, be frugal!
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Give an old silver tray a new life, give a festive and frugal gift, and spend less than $10 bucks! Sounds like my kind of gift! Uses for a Chalkboard Tray Hang it on a wall just like… Read More >
Make a little Merry for less when you throw a Christmas party Aldi style! Here’s your festive $100 party plan*, and your guests will enjoy a yummy spread of more than just chips and dip – thanks to… Read More >
The countdown to Christmas is on!
Let the shopping begin!
This year, you will save money on Christmas shopping when you use my 6 savvy shopping secrets!
You’ll learn how to buy a dress at J.C. Penny that is normally $60 for only $27.20, and that’s not just because it’s on sale! Read on and learn the secrets of a savvy shopper!
Plan Ahead, Make Lists
- Planning ahead gives you TIME, and time is required to shop for bargains!
- I love lists because they are one of the best tools for planning ahead and saving money.
- Lists will keep you organized – don’t you hate spending a day of shopping, coming home & realizing you forgot something? Lists will prevent that!
- Lists will help you feel in control especially when you check them off!
- Important lists: gift list, Christmas card list and meal/party planning lists.
- Be prepared, don’t shop without a list!
Preview the Black Friday 2011 Ads
- You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving Day to look at the Black Friday ads…catch a sneak peek by visiting TheBlackFriday.com. Some ads are already posted!
- Read the fine print! If it says quantities are limited…don’t get your heart set on that deal unless you plan to be one of the first in line.
- Prioritize! You can’t be at all the stores at once, so go for the big ticket items first to maximize your savings OR get your husband to turn off the football game and run few errands!
- Use the internet to compare prices before you hit the stores. Sites like PriceGrabber.com allow you to search by product, compare prices and read reviews.
- Don’t forget your list! It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy & make impulse purchases.
Buy Discounted Gift Cards
- Do you know that you can buy discounted gift cards to hundreds of stores & restaurants? Even better, nobody will know that you didn’t pay full price!
- Here’s how – go to:
Click on “buy a gift card”, browse the available stores and restaurants and buy cards for any stores you’ll be shopping during the Christmas season.
- Right now you can get a JC Penny gift card for 15% off! I suggest using it when JC Penny is having a big sale and combine it with a coupon from their newspaper ad. Yes, this is how you can buy that $60 dress for only $27.20.
- Discounted gift card inventory changes daily, so check regularly!
- If a gift card you want is sold out, you can set up an alert, and you’ll receive an email when that gift card is available.
- If you shop online, ecodes are available for some discounted gift cards. Once you purchase these, they are immediately available for use.
- Here’s the catch…discounted gift cards take about 1 week to arrive, so order now & be ready to shop Black Friday!
- Sign up for Ebates.com (it’s free) and you’ll earn cash back on your online purchases plus you’ll discover money saving coupon codes.
- Here’s how it works…
- Let’s say I want to make a photo calendar for Christmas.
- Go to ebates.com and on the left side of the page, click on “electronics and photos” to see a list of stores, and how much cash back you’ll earn.
- I discover that Snapfish is offering 20% cash back and a coupon code for free shipping.
- Click shop now & you’ll be taken to the Snapfish site.
- Every 3 months, ebates will send you a BIG FAT CHECK!
- Whenever you’re shopping online, get in the habit of making ebates your first stop! They work with over 1200 stores, so they’ll likely have just what you need!
Learn The Outlet Mall Lingo
- Don’t assume everything’s cheaper just because it came from an outlet mall! Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Ross & Homegoods frequently offer better deals.
- Do your homework first – you know the drill: make a list and compare prices online before you hit the outlet mall.
- Learn the lingo that you might see on the tags…
- MFO stands for Made for Outlet which means it won’t be the same quality as their regular store.
- Irregular – means slightly imperfect, so inspect carefully! Irregular items are usually a really good deal if you can live with the imperfections.
- Refurbished – these items have been inspected, tested and restored to their original condition. Refurbished items are common in electronics stores, and the prices are great! Just make sure to ask if it comes with the same warranty as a new item (most do!).
Take Advantage of Daily Deals
If you’re not already paying attention to daily deal sites like Groupon and Eversave, today is a great day to start! Groupon has recently started offering nationwide daily deals on great gifts like a personalized children’s book for half price! Check out the Groupon Gift Store today and everyday during the shopping season!
Now you know the secrets of a savvy shopper, so go forth and save money!
READY, SET, SHOP!