Introduction: Stretch Your Resources ( This Christmas Season )

About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.
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

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

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

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: . Target coupons: . Energy star: . 

Step 4: 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

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

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: .

Step 7: Gift Ideas

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: . 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

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.