Introduction: Stretch Your Resources ( This Christmas Season )

Picture of Stretch Your Resources ( This Christmas Season )

This is busy time for all of us here on Instructables.  We are making gifts for our family and friends as well as attending parties. More and more of us are conscious about saving money and making our bucks go further. This Instructable offers ideas on how we can stretch those bucks this season.   

Step 1: Saving on Craft Supplies

Picture of Saving on Craft Supplies

For those who do not know about the Hobby Lobby or Michael's coupons:  Hobby Lobby has offered (almost every other week ) a 40% off any regular priced item (coupon.) It is listed in the newspaper as well as online. Their add is not an enclosure.  On the off weeks they usually offer a 20% off coupon. If you sign up for their weekly add, you will never miss the deals. You may have it sent to your cell phone so there is no need to print the coupon. I can't tell you how many times I did not remember to bring a coupon. I print extra coupons and give them to customers in the store while I am in the checkout lane. If you are giving a Hobby Lobby gift card to someone, remember to print out the 40% coupon and insert it into the gift envelope.  I recommend giving the card early so they may use the coupon. The coupon expires on Saturday that week.  I have noticed this 40% coupon in every add the past few weeks, so I am guessing they will have this until Christmas. In my area this coupon may be used for fabric even if it is on sale. Just mention at the cutting table you wish to use your 40% off coupon instead of the 30% off sale.  Michael's offers a similar coupon.  

Step 2: Veteran's Discount

Picture of Veteran's Discount

My husband bought materials for my son's house and could have saved a lot of money had he known this:  Veteran's receive a 10% discount on their entire purchase every-time they shop at Home Depot. All they need to do is show their Veteran's ID card.  

Step 3: Coupon Enclosures

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If you are not giving as many gifts this year but plan on mailing out Christmas cards, enclose a coupon that you won't be using.  Perhaps you received a free turkey coupon from work or received a coupon in the mail,buy one dinner and get one free. This time of the year a lot of people are eating out and can use them. I found a coupon with no expiration date for 40% off dental work.  A lot of people over look this and could use a good discount on dental care.  The receiver will appreciate your thoughtfulness by taking the time to add an enclosure. When purchasing large ticketed items ask the store clerks if there are any rebates.  Check online for coupons and offers you can print.  Check with the electric company in your area for rebates on appliances. Here are a couple of links that I found that could be useful: http://www.pge.com/rebates/ . Target coupons: http://coupons.target.com/#?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&CPNG=groceries+search&adgroup=coupons+general&LNM=Coupons&MT=broad&AFID=googlestr&LID=28p1240267&KID=31d1a9be-6d97-e929-1a77-00000a764c98 . Energy star: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=rebate.rebate_locator . 

Step 4: Feeding a Crowd?

Picture of Feeding a Crowd?

Do you plan a dinner for a large crowd?  Years ago when we planned a dinner for a large crowd so  I went to the produce department and asked the manager if he would honor a discount  if I placed an order. He did! It was IGA if I recall.   I had to purchase case lots to receive a discount.  

Step 5: Giving Pro

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How many of us have been asked for the recipe, pattern, or instructions on how to make something? This year I am going to include a note with all my handmade gifts and recipes. I will include my Instructables user name and a link to the recipe or gift. This will save me time and help our community. Many of you are published authors here on Instructables.  Share your fame! If you have an abundance of Pro Coupons now is a good time to give them to your family and friends.  My sister nudges me every once in a while for one.  

Step 6: Gift Wrapping

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I do not buy wrapping supplies very often. I enjoy making my own from using things that I might normally throw away. I save all of my bags, used wrapping paper, bottles, cans, and gift bows. I paint jars and cans for packaging gifts in. For the sharp edges on cans I use a sealant around the edges until it is smooth and safe. I allow it to dry and then I paint it and embellish it with old buttons or used ribbons. Sometimes you get what you pay for. I bought some rubber bands at the dollar store. They were all cracked so I decided to use them around the jar lid for embellishments.  It worked nicely. Card stock junk mail can be used for index cards by covering them with a printed recipe. Here is one of my links showing the decorated can: https://www.instructables.com/id/GO-RUSTIC-BAKE-IT-IN-A-CAN/ .

Step 7: Gift Ideas

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My friend's husband travels a lot.  They saved all the toiletries from his trip and gave them to a church to give to the elderly and homeless.  This is also a  good way to recycle fast food condiments. We rarely eat out but Domino's pizza offered energy saving light bulbs around Halloween with a large pizza order. I think they still have this offer. Everyone could use a few energy saving light bulbs.  My friend saves me her magazines because someone ordered her magazines she never reads.  I have had so much enjoyment from them.  I consider this a luxury I can't afford. I am sure the elderly would appreciate a gift like this. Have you considered making laundry soap for gifts this year?  It is fast, easy, and cheap to make.  I have an Instructable here about how to do that: https://www.instructables.com/id/2-Ingrediants-Water-Laundry-Soap-In-1-Hour-Or-/ . Do you have trees or plants in your yard that produce seeds? Any gardener  would appreciate seed packets enclosed in their Christmas card. How about sharing your bumper crop? 

Step 8: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

Picture of Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

I have saved a lot of money the past few years by using coupons and knowing about these offers. I am always looking at packaging to decide if I am going to be able to make something before I place it in the recycled bin. Not all of these ideas can be used this year but it will certainly give you an advantage for next year.  Save up those coupons that have an open end.  You may not use them but someone on your list could.  

Thank you for stopping by and do have a safe and Merry Christmas.
Sunshiine

Comments

kathynv (author)2012-03-31

I was so glad to read your hints that I thought I'd give you one of my own:

If you have a hobby, consider practicing/learning/reading until you are as good as you can get. I design jewelry. I started about ten years ago by simply stringing beads. I discovered that many people will jump through hoops for plain old strung jewelry. Everyone got strung jewelry that year for gifts, some people getting more pieces than others. The prevents the "you gave the mailman the same gift you gave your mother" complaint.

I got bored stringing beads. I went to the library and over a few months, borrowed every book they had (or could get) about making jewelry. I took copious notes and made lots of the projects in the books. That year everyone got a "library book project."

Each year since then, I've taken classes, read online and practiced like crazy to get better. A couple of years ago, a shop owner asked me if she could buy my work. (I didn't sell, but for reasons not necessary to go into here) Since then, many shop owners have asked to buy my jewelry, not to mention the hundreds of strangers. My friends and family are delighted to get jewelry that I make.

Even when you use expensive components, you save 90% or more over the price of gift shop jewelry. I am often stunned to see some piece similar to one I made selling for hundreds of dollars, when I spent less than $10 for the materials.

It's not just jewelry: My mom is an expert knitter, and people go crazy over the Aran knit sweaters she makes. A close friend makes prize winning quilts, and I treasure the lap quilt she gave me for my birthday. Another friend does a little crocheting, and made kitchen towels with a crocheted top for hanging the towel on the stove handle. She got kitchen towels that coordinated with the recipient's interests/kitchen color, and everyone was reportedly thrilled. Even though she is a beginner, her gifts were enthusiastically welcomed.

Thanks so much for the wonderful 'ible that you wrote. I'll use quite a bit of it when holiday time comes!

fjordcarver (author)2011-12-08

I was thinking of a similiar idea for a maker in my family, in addition I was going to give them a box of stuff and a link to an Instructable they can make with it.

sunshiine (author)fjordcarver2011-12-08

They will really appreciate the thought! Most of my craft stuff came from people I know that no longer used it. I have tons of fabric and am so glad I do. It is not cheap. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and have a beautiful day!
Sunshiine

sherrycayheyhey (author)2011-12-07

I really like the idea of gifting from your own plants. If you keep some potting soil and a few decorated pots around you never have to worry about last minute gifts, just clip and gift haha

Thanks for sharing.
Sunshiine

sherrycayheyhey (author)2011-12-07

Great idea! What about using a QR code instead of a link though? Just a thought, I've been really into QR codes lately and I have been thinking about making some out of Lego or for my cards.

I will have to check into this a little more, I have not heard of it until you pointed this out. If you make some please post here so we don't miss out. Thanks for sharing.
Sunshiine

Servelan (author)2011-12-07

Another route is to do a potluck, or do a traditional meal potluck-style where A brings the rolls and B brings the sweets and yams, etc.

sunshiine (author)Servelan2011-12-07

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Have a great day!
sunshiine

susanrm (author)2011-12-06

Nice thoughts. A few other tips: AC Moore is the Michael's competitor in this part of the country. If you subscribe by email, you are more likely to get coupons. Michael's has an app where you can get coupons on your phone.

For cans, try getting one of those safe, no-sharp-edges can openers. I bought one after my animals got into my recycling, and I didn't want them to cut themselves. They aren't expensive, but they are wonderful!

sunshiine (author)susanrm2011-12-06

Thanks so much for sharing this information! I will add it to this to the body of my Instructable after more comments come in! I did not know they made can openers like this! I am adding it to my wish list and putting it at the top of the list! Thanks again and have a splendorous day!
Sunshiine

canucksgirl (author)2011-12-06

Great job sunshiine! A lot of helpful ideas and tips to get us through the holidays.

sunshiine (author)canucksgirl2011-12-06

Thanks and have a fantastic day!
Sunshiine

Robot Lover (author)2011-12-06

This is a great ible' full of wonderful tips! Where I live, Michaels accepts competitor coupons like Hobby Lobby's. Good Job!

sunshiine (author)Robot Lover2011-12-06

Thanks, have a beautiful day!
Sunshiine

You got great ideas! I'm a big couponer, too!

I appreciate your comment! Have a great week!
Sunshiine

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Bio: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I love the sunshine thus the reason ... More »
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