Turbo Tax

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Frugal Friday - Frugal Christmas

Today at LifeAsMom there are tons of ideas for a Frugal Christmas presents. I thought I'd give you my idea as well.

Three years ago when we started our frugal living journey we didn't have one penny for Christmas.  I was heartbroken.  I just didn't know what we would do.  It was bad enough the shame that I felt, thinking  others might look down upon our hard luck, how we'd been foolish and it was bad if you couldn't give our family and very close friends gifts.  (I've since learned to give myself and others much more grace!) The worst, however, was to think of not giving my children anything.  I was scared and desperate.  As God so often does in His infinite mercy and grace,  He saw our trouble and stepped in.   We were given $100 extra twice by someone very close to us.  They didn't even know we had no Christmas money and that they were our saving grace that year.  I will be forever grateful to them and to God for saving us.

I knew that $200 wouldn't get us very far if we weren't extremely careful.  As you know Christmas is about the kids.  Especially your own.  So the majority of that was spent on our children and parents.

I just wasn't sure what to do about my close friends and my siblings.  We never spent anything big, but we did exchange a little something.  I didn't have any money to spare.  I had to make something for eight different families and it had to cost less than $40.

I kept thinking about what I would to give them.  Desperate for an idea that was frugal.  Finally, I took a different approach.  I decided to think of what I would do if money was no object.  The first thing that came to mind is a gift certificate for a meal out.  I realized I couldn't give them that.  However I had lots of produce from the garden and food in my freezer.

I used some creativity and decided I would give my friends and family their night off of cooking by making freezer meals.  That first year I used cooked and shredded chicken into a meal with gravy and vegetables with biscuits on top.  It was the most economical meat there was and I needed to stretch the money as far as I could.  I put the meals into foil pans that wouldn't need to be returned from Dollar General.  Then I placed the pans and a plate of dessert in a basket from the Dollar Tree.

For 8 families I spent less than $30.  That didn't include the things I already had in my cupboards, but even if those items would be included,  the cost still shouldn't be more than $5/gift.

Do you have any great gift ideas for less than $10?  Please share them with us, we'd love to hear about them.  Also, be sure to pop over to Life As Mom for more great ideas!


Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a neat idea and one I would love to receive.
Good thought.

Mom2fur said...

I absolutlely love the idea of thinking 'money is no object,' and then adapting from there! It's brilliant! And how wonderful that you got that extra money to save the day. You are right...God always surprises us when we need it!

Jes said...

What an inspiration...we too gave ourselves $200 to work with on our children and family. Talk about thinking outside the box! Love it!

You should see our homemade frugal friday sled! hehehe!

Thanks for tip! And Happy Holidays!

robbie @ going green mama said...

I truly love this idea.

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