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I Made It Myself

Homemade gifts need not be exclusively an option for children. Here are several budget-minded and classy ideas for putting your craftiness to good use.

When I look over my monthly budget, there are almost no splurges. I buy groceries, I get gas, I make coffee at home, I rarely eat in restaurants, and I almost never shop for clothes. The one thing I do find myself spending indiscriminately on? Gifts.

I admit, it happens where I’m pressed for time and I just run out and grab something without worrying about the price.

Sometimes I’m smart about gift-buying, and I’ll pick up something that I think a friend will love, months before her birthday, when it goes on sale. I’ll also comparison-shop, sometimes ordering online to get the best price. I even have a “present closet,” a concept I adopted from my mom, who always had adorable, generic gifts on hand for just-in-case occasions. And whenever I can, I make my own. 

The spring and summer gift-giving seasons are rapidly approaching – think Mother’s and Father’s days, high school and college graduations, baby and bridal showers. You’ve got some time, so make your own gifts for these special occasions. If you’re crafty, great! But even if you’re DIY-challenged, there are plenty of gifts out there you can make. Check out some easy, inspiring ideas from Pinterest:

Sugar scrub – For mom! This is so simple; you will never buy the stuff again. Mix sugar, mineral or olive oil, and a flavored extract like vanilla, lemon or lavender. Package it in a little jar, make your own gift tag using paper scraps and tie with a ribbon. It’s non-toxic (you can actually eat it!), inexpensive and makes a wonderful gift to give and receive.

Car wash kit - For dad! Pick up a couple sponges and a roll of paper towels at the dollar store. Make your own upholstery freshening spray and window cleaner, and splurge on a car-wash soap (don’t use dish soap!), a chamois and good wax. Dad would love this gift even more if it came with a few IOU car wash coupons.

Journal in a Jar - For the grad! Pick up a cute journal with plenty of lined pages. (Be sure it’s appropriate, you don’t want to give 22-year-old Steve a journal with puppies and daisies on the cover.) Fill a Mason jar with these folded scraps of paper, each with a question or topic intended to prompt a journal entry. All the cutting and folding will take you a little time, but it’s worth it. What a great way for a recent grad to permanently record thoughts and memories!

DIY baby gifts - For the new mom and baby! Make mom’s job recording baby’s first moments easy by giving her this adorable homemade baby book (with free printables!). Help new parents keep track of escaping pacifiers with a pacifier clip. Or get colorful with this sweet tie-dyed onesie.

Bridal shower "cake" - For the bride! Grab some good-quality kitchen towels, a couple utensils and instruments off her registry and some scrapbooking embellishments for this adorable shower gift, sure to be a favorite! Don’t forget to check out Marshall’s, Ross and TJ Maxx for great deals on this cake’s “ingredients.”

Billie Bakhshi April 01, 2012 at 01:41 AM
I've been making bath salts in a similar way to your sugar scrub. Combining epsom salts, organic scented oils from Whole Foods, plus appropriate food coloring to fit the corresponding scent...these look really great in mason jars on a bathroom shelf.

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