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The Frugal Gift Box

Gift-giving occasions occur with almost mind-boggling frequency-- especially when you have children at home. Friends' birthday parties, parents' birthdays, bby and wedding showers, Mother's Day, Father's Day--the costs can become quite a burden. However, a bit of organization and creativity can make these times a bit less painful financially. Some people find it very helpful to keep a calendar located in a convenient place and mark all the year's special days on it. Then at the beginning of any given month, you can see at a glance the gifts you are going to require. The key is to be aware of what gifts you'll be needing and to get prepared, instead of waiting till the last minute and running out and buying whatever you can find regardless of price.

Once you can remember "when" to give gifts, the next problem that comes up is "what" to give. That's where the Frugal Gift Box can help. Designate a spot, whether it's a shelf in the closet, a box, or storage bin in the garage, to keep all your gifts together. Throughout the year, watch the clearance sales, garage and yard sales, thrift stores, etc. for items suitable for gift-giving.

One of my best buys in the past was a brand-new, still in the package, set of American Girl books bought at a garage sale for pennies. I saved it till our granddaughter got old enough and now she's about to get it for her 8th birthday next month. When my children were young and going to birthday parties every week, it seemed, I kept a watch on clearance sales and when I saw something that was age and gender appropriate for one of mine, I figured their friends would like it, too, so into the Gift Box it would go. I tried to keep at least one gift for each child on hand at all times. It's a good idea to keep a list of the Christmas and birthday gifts you will need for your immediate family. I keep a list in my purse and it is always with me. That way when I buy a gift I can add it immediately. It's also good for reminding me of what I already have on hand. Last, here's a gift idea sent by a newsletter subscriber, Gina. It's a great craft project.

make several and keep them in your gift box ready for mom's or sister's birthday! HERBAL COZY Basically this is an pillow filled with rice and herbs, you put it in the microwave for 2 minutes or less for warmth and heat, or throw it in the freezer to ease injuries, or for headaches. You can use scrap fabric. use large scraps for larger herbal cozies (for the back, legs, etc.) and smaller scrap pieces for a small one that you can use on the forehead or on the eyes, to sooth eyestrain and headache.


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