Frugal Gift Giving

I have issues when it comes to gifts.  Serious, elitist issues.  See, I like the recipient to know I spent time and put thought into picking out the absolute perfect thing, try to make sure I don’t come across cheap, and absolutely despise giving gift cards (can we say cop-out?).

The part I have the most difficult time with is the whole gift wrapping thing.  Shoving the item into a flimsy bag with a wad of tissue paper (or even worse… too little tissue paper) is like a dagger into my little snobby heart.  Of course, I’ve been known to do this if I’m in a pinch, but ONLY when absolutely necessary and ONLY with the cutest bag available (none of those plain, $1.99 Target crummy things).  Are you seeing the elitist thing coming out?  I’m ridiculous, I know.

Justin (a frugally-minded fellow) is highly bothered by this and likes to stress the point that we don’t have a ton of extra money to be spending on gifts for everyone we know.  He gets frustrated with me for wanting to give the gift that ‘little extra something’, when all those little extras add up.  This is also the same guy that wanted me to give a $10 gift card to his sister for her 25th birthday.  Yeahhh, we’re just not on the same page here.

I have come up with a little plan in an attempt to please everyone involved in this gift-giving fiasco — do it the Semi-Homemade way (à la Sandra Lee, minus the .15 blood alcohol level).  What I’m doing is purchasing either the gift wrap OR the gift, and while keeping a budget in mind, I make the other item.  It’s interesting to see how your creativity comes out when you’re working with a budget.  And the bonus: The recipient can see the time, thought and effort that was put into their gift.

A Recent Example:

Supplies before...

Basically, all I did was wrap the boring, plain box in some cute scrap booking paper, tied some ribbon around the edges and secured it with one of those super cute labels.  I LOVE those things!

The finished product

Happy Birthday, Mom!

How do you all keep gift-givings within your budget?   Is it rude of me to ask?

31 thoughts on “Frugal Gift Giving

  1. I am so like you, especially when it comes to some of my best girlfriends. And Stephen always gets mad at me for going over budget. He always makes sure to say, “The budget is for the gift and wrapping. You need to stay within it.” Boys!

    I do admit since becoming pregnant though that my gift giving has not been as creative or fun. I’ve given quite a few gift cards and used plenty of gift bags the past months. I did spice up my gift card routine for my best friend’s recent birthday though… I got her a gift card to one of our favorite clothing stores on actual thought out purpose because I want her to go post-baby clothes shopping with me and I don’t want her to be broke when we go. I also got her a bouquet of her favorite flowers to go with and thought a long time about what I wanted to say in the birthday card which made her cry. So, I for once didn’t feel bad about giving a gift card.

  2. @Liz: Thanks! :) It was super easy.

    @Lisa: Okay, you make me feel more normal. It’s not like we’re committing a crime in wanting to get people what they deserve, right?? Oh gosh, and I love getting flowers… I’m sure your friend didn’t mind the gift card either. :)

  3. (Ew Sandra Lee!)

    That’s soo cute Morgan. I despise giving gift cards too…they are just so boring…well unless I would make a cute box like that to put it in ;)

    PS, new house is having a CRAFT room. You betcha, my own craft room!

  4. @Alyssa: Lucky!!! That is so awesome! I must see photos of this when you have it all set up. :)

  5. I love the homemade giftbox idea! Storing that away in my brain for later!

    I’m a huge crafter ( I even sell some stuff on – a fantastic website with tons of artisans to choose from), so most of the time I make birthday/Christmas gifts. Especially those occasions when my sons come home from school on Friday with a invite for a party THE VERY NEXT DAY! Nice. Real nice. So when those instances arise, I haul off to my craft room and see what I can whip up. And I always let my kids help out when it’s a gift for one of their friends.

  6. That is SOOO CUTE!!!!!!!! You just gave me some inspiration for my next gift-giving event. (Which happens to be my son actually, so maybe my next..NEXT gift giving event!) I love stealing creativity from other people. Oh… and Sandra Lee is awesome. I find myself mezmerized by her. lol

  7. @Jen: Thanks! And I am absolutely loving your Etsy shop! I actually think I’ve been there before (those ribbon onesies are SO CUTE). It’s always great if you have a supply of crafty things in case of emergencies, haha. That’s awesome.

    @Kourtni: Hahaha! Yeah, Sandra Lee is hilarious… she ALWAYS has a cocktail recipe (or three) on her show and my husband and I laugh about it every time. :)

  8. no way! i wish i saw those {free!} printable labels from creature comforts before i bought a gazillion of those martha stewart label stickers from michaels! argh… and loving the wrapped box.

  9. @diana: Oh gosh, I’m sure your Martha Stewart ones are just adorable too! I LOVE that section at Michael’s!

  10. beautiful!!! One time I cut out some of my friends fav. fabric and found an old basket I was no longer using and draped it inside of it and let it hang over the sides and then filled it with all kinds of goodies!

  11. okay, wait now I can, phew….

    I was going to say how I am the complete opposite of you when it comes to gift giving and receiving. I love to give money or gift cards…and receive them, as long as the gift cards are for some place that someone would actually use. I just think about giving someone something that they can really use. Haha, sorry.

    How about I make a compromise and do gift cards or money and then put them in a cute crafty box with a beautiful label like yours? Would that work? I am envious of your lovely box and label making abilities. You are too cute.

  12. @Jennifer: Okay, I completely forgot to mention the fact that I’m SO not picky when it comes to receiving gifts! I’m sure I seem like it now, haha. I LOVE getting gift cards too! Especially those Visa cards you can use anywhere (I always use them at the mall). :)

  13. That gift is so adorable! I’d love it if more people put thought into their gifts as well. It means a lot, and you’re not just going to throw away a box that’s that darn cute!

  14. Wowzers! That is the cutest gifty of ALL TIME! You crafty lady, you! I love that pink scrapbook paper! Sooo adorable! That necklace looks pretty dang snazzy too! Sometimes I am the cheapO bag at Target and tissue paper gal — when it’s a kid’s present or something but when I want to impress it’s fun to put a lot of thought into it!

  15. Oh my goodness this turned out so super cute and chic! I’m so glad you liked my labels! You really made them look amazing with this project!
    Thanks for the mention and for the beautiful packaging inspiration!

  16. I also am all about the Semi-Homemade. I have a friend who owns a print shop and when the rolls of paper get close to the end (still a ton of paper for me) they have to toss them or recycle them. I asked if i could take them and that was not a problem so with the help of a little ribbon I have on hand and some rubber stamping action I have an endless supply of custom made wrapping paper.

  17. I forgot to mention that I also make my own cards and several of my friends and family members say that the card is there favorite part because I put effort into it. My grandma has saved every card I have ever made her.

  18. Lindsey: That’s so awesome! I think people really do appreciate that little extra effort… Maybe I’ll have to try my hand at making cards!

  19. The packaging is the extra touch that makes the gift! I love your box!

    I’m with you– I want my gift to LOOK like I spent $100, when in reality I only spent $4.99. E-Bay and Day after Thanksgiving sales help me out a lot!

    Found you on Tip Junkie– great blog!

  20. That is just too adorable honey! How did you get so smart?


Comments are closed.