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Don’t Go Broke for the Wedding Gift

Wedding season remains in full bloom and while tying the knot is getting more expensive for the bride and groom, attending a wedding is becoming costlier, too. Some surveys reveal the average guest will spend $673 this year to attend a single wedding—including but not limited to travel, accommodations and attire.

 

Wedding flowers and gift

How much to spend for a gift?

I’m not here to tell you what to spend on a gift (check these figures if you want a general idea), but I can offer you a sigh of relief with this: Experts agree you can forget the antiquated notion that you must spend an amount equal to the cost-per-plate at the reception. A wedding is not a fundraiser. You are not obligated to pony up with a gift that reimburses the cost of your attendance.

Instead, you should come up with a dollar amount that makes sense for you. Never spend more than you can afford on a wedding gift. Going into debt to buy a gift is never a good idea, even if you’re sure you can pay it off next month. If money is tight, adjust your gift budget accordingly.

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Absolutely the Best Gift Ideas for Mom This Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day 2019 is right around the corner—this coming Sunday! If this is catching you by surprise, relax. You still have time to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift. And you can count on me to have been working tirelessly to come up with fabulous gift ideas to help you out. Because you love your […]

A Rescue Guide for Every Valentine’s Day Procrastinator

Mature woman thinking with hand on chin against white background with Valentine's Day vignette

Valentine’s Day is this week, Thursday! I know, I can’t believe it either.

Bless you, if you are prepared and way ahead of the game. For the rest of us, the way I see it we have six options:

  1. Ignore the day altogether and assume our spouses, kids, grandkids, friends, family, and co-workers, will think we forgot and give us a pass. Not recommended.
  2. Get thee to the card shop and post office to pick up Valentine’s cards and plenty of postage stamps, then get them in the mail, pronto!
  3. Make sweet treats in your kitchen befitting the day—still plenty of time for this one.
  4. Plan a date with your love, even if your wallet is a little thin. Get creative to find reasonable and fun alternatives that require only pocket change—or with any luck, some that are absolutely free. I have a few ideas for you in Great Dates for Couples on a Tight Budget.
  5. Plan a Fun Family Party. Here are 8 Fun Family Games for Valentine’s Day to get you started.
  6. Find the perfect little something for those perfect someones in our lives—there is still plenty of time to do this, too.

Should you be leaning toward option #6, here are 21 great gift ideas sure to please that won’t break the bank.

(You can get delivery on Wednesday, Feb. 13 for any of these gifts by using Amazon Prime, but you need to hurry! Not a Prime member? No problem. Start your 30-free trial today, place your order, get delivery on Wed., then cancel within 30 days—you will not be charged, but yet enjoy all of the Prime benefits including 2-day shipping. It’s legal and ethical; in fact, Amazon encourages us to do this.)

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9 Fabulous Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Need a last-minute gift for an office party, your trusty mail carrier, a beloved teacher, co-worker or anyone else on your Christmas gift list? Here are nine great ideas that won’t take much time, and certainly won’t break the bank.

Woman Offering Christmas Gift

Photo explosion box

Imagine a small photo album “box,” made from scrapbooking card stock, which folds out to reveal special photos when the lid is removed. What a perfect gift for parents, grandparents, children—anyone who loves photos. You can make this in just a few hours. In fact, while you’re at it make several. Find a complete tutorial HERE.

Holiday Hash

Combine in a very big bowl:
  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 3 cups Corn Chex
  • 3 cups Cheerios
  • 2 cups small pretzels
  • 2 cups salted peanuts
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) plain M&Ms
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) peanut M&Ms
Melt 2 bags (12 oz.) white chocolate chips or melting wafers according to the package instructions*. Be careful to not overcook as these chips burn quickly. Pour the melted white chocolate over the mixture and with a strong long-handled wooden spoon toss well to coat.
Spread the hash out on waxed paper and let set until the chocolate hardens.
Store in an airtight container or pour into gift bags. If you get the red and green M&Ms you’ll have a very festive looking result. This makes a lot. You should be able to make 10 to 15 gifts depending on the size of your containers.

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In the Midst of Joy, a Season of Doubt

Check the calendar and take a deep breath. We are entering a critical phase of holiday preparation. As shopping winds down and preparations come together, be prepared for something weird to happen.

You may begin to doubt yourself.

Woman-with-gifts-season-of-doubt-and-stess

I only know this because I know myself. It happens every year, so I’ve learned to plan for it.

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Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

Long on Christmas lists but short on cash this year? What you need are tips, tricks, and Gift Guides to help you save money, right?

“Save money?!” you sneer. “What if we don’t have any money?” 

That, my friend, is a reliable signal that it’s time to get creative. Often the most meaningful gifts and most difficult ones to give are those that cost no money at all.

A gift from the heart is a gift of time and talent. It’s going to require some (all?) of your free time over the next couple of weeks or so, but it sure beats going into debt to buy a bunch of gifts for others—or missing out altogether because you refuse to show up empty-handed.

No one was more creative than my mother-in-law one Christmas years ago. I’d always admired her beautiful crystal, a wedding gift from her parents in 1942. Imagine how stunned I was when she gave it—all of it—to me. My favorite pieces are the water pitcher and cordials. Her gift, which cost nothing in terms of money, was and continues to be priceless to me.

Are you getting the picture? Great. Ahead, 17 thoughtful ways to show someone you care that won’t require spending any cash at all.

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Best Creative and Inexpensive Homemade Gifts!

Whether it’s something from your kitchen, craft room, woodworking shop, or computer, there’s nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, plate of cookies, box of fudge, note cards—these are just some of the homemade gifts with universal appeal.

I love homemade gifts both to give and receive. No wonder I have so many favorites!

Homemade-christmas-gift-of-cookies

 

Shaving Cream

Seriously. Quite similar in process to the lotion above, you can make a big batch in one evening.

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Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies

holiday-gift-guide-foodies

Yes, another Holiday Gift Guide, and not so much because I love creating these guides for you (I do!) but due to popular request. And if it wouldn’t have appeared to be overly self-serving, for sure I would have titled this Guide something like my favorite Best Inexpensive really awesome kitchen things that foodies of all levels are sure to love as much as I do.

1. Pizza Stone for Grill and Oven

Finally, a pizza stone that is not so fragile I have to worry about it cracking under extreme conditions (I must be super hard on pizza stones because I have broken more than a couple)! First, it is extra thick at 3/4″. And heavy (thank you Amazon for Prime shipping). But here is the most amazing thing—guaranteed to withstand up to a whopping 1000 degrees F. Culinary Couture Pizza Stone for Grill and Oven will not crack! I leave mine on the bottom shelf of my oven at all times, which makes for easy storage, but also makes it convenient for baking bread as well as chicken, shrimp, and cookies, too. About $40.

2. Egg Rings

What a great idea, really. These Non-Stock Fried and Poached Egg Rings are perfect, too, for pancakes and anything else you want to come out round! Also comes in a heart-shaped option.

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