Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thrifty Holiday Presents from 2011

Here's the write up I promised you last year long before the holidays. I didn't want to share it then for the obvious reason of not wanting to spoil the surprise for any relatives reading =)

Last year we made (and met) a goal to be done with holiday shopping by July, and to do so as thriftily as possible, without using credit cards and still getting nice gifts people would like/want/use.

Here's the numbers and some of the gifts for extended family.


Christmas- 30 gifts
Total spent: $275
Average per gift: $9.17
Original cost: $991
Average gift worth: $33.03

here are several of the presents we got:

got my best friend an essential oil aromatherapy book and dvd PLUS 26 5ml bottles of different essential oils (which will be stored unopened in the frig until christmas, never fear lol). For a grand total of $17- just by stacking discount codes and sales =) It's exactly the sort of thing she LOVES but rarely buys herself ..... the discount code I stacked was the Groupon $15 ebay certificate they did for $7 a couple weeks ago. I waited until one of the reputable sellers of essential oils on ebay did a sale and then used the code for the sale + they were doing free shipping.
The book I got from Paperback Swap if you ask in the forum there or just pm the person you are requesting from you can normally get new giftable books that would otherwise cost you lots of money. If you buy credits through the book bazaar you can get them as low as $2.50 each. If you swap your own books and do deals on them so you are combining shipping for several credits you can get them cheaper (for example, I did a deal and shipped a whole box of books for 7 credits to a member that cost less then $12 to ship. On average I've figured a credit costs me about $2.

My mother in law, is an avid card giver and loves cards. So I kept an eye out at thrift stores and we got more then 100 new different cards (no duplicates) PLUS found nip hallmark 2010 card studio software. All 100 cards and the hallmark card studio cost a grand total of $10 =)

My dad loves wine, goes to tastings, goes on trips through wine country, has a wine cooler and storage and etc... we got one of his favorite wines from Chile we found on discontinue at a local store for less then $5 and a nice new giftable wine journal book from Paperback Swap for a credit that cost me $2. Spent less $7 total. We found the wine on discount for less then $5 and the book off paperback swap (brand new) for a credit that cost me $2.

My mom collects carnival glass. She literally has two large glass front cabinets full of carnival glass. She has one devil egg platter but had been hinting about wanting a second
sometime. We went to a local thrift store when they were doing one of the sales were most of the vendors took place and found a devil egg platter for $20 after the sale. These are normally about $30. We let my dad and siblings know so they know not to duplicate the gift.

For dh's grandmother who loves broches I got her a very pretty flower pearl broch (normally $99) off No More Rack for $4 after shipping. It was $12 on No More Rack and then I had the $10 credit you get for signing up through a referral link and then shipping is always $2 an item. So $4 for a $99 gift she's going to love =)

For my friend's daughter who wants to be a photographer (she's 17) I found new in package photo editing software at the thrift store for a couple bucks. I looked it up and it's sold on sites like target and walmart for $30

For my older brother who is a st louis cardinals fan I was at jcpenney and saw they had the st louis cardinals pillow pets on sale for $31.99 (list price $39.99) I used a $10 off $25 coupon they did a couple weeks ago and got it for $22. It's exactly the sort of thing he will love and use all the time watching movies and relaxing, but would never buy for himself.

For a neice who is 13 I got the Double Daring Book For Girls (sorta a for older girls version of the daring book for girls) Normally $25. It's brand new and I got it for $2 with a Paperback Swap credit

For my best friend's dad that loved watching westerns on tv but had to get rid of a cable I did a deal on Swap A DVD for 7 western dvds (most with multiple movies) with his favorite actors. All 7 dvds cost me 4 credits. Swap A DVD credits cost me on average about $3 each because I buy these from the dvd bazaar forum as I don't have many dvds I want to swap myself. So $12 for the dvds. I also bought one of those popcorn things from target's dollar bins for 50 cents on sale the other day and then put a bag of popcorn in it two. Movie bag cost me ~$13,

Trevor's other grandmother was probably the hardest person to buy from. she just down sized so we didn't want to get her items that would clutter up when she just got rid of so much. She was the last person we figured out. She's an avid reader though. Reads all the time, loves her books. So I made a card with directions to sign up for Paperback Swap (which we will help her with when we give it to her) and then I'm going to transfer 10 book credits to her account from mine =) So she gets 10 books of her choosing from us. For this gift I just figured the normal cost if you buy credits from the site for a 10 credit gift certificate, which is $34.50. $2 a credit they cost $20 (I already have them transfered and sitting in dh's unused account right now so I know we will have them at christmas time)

For a 3 year old neice I found a dora the explorer (dora saves the chrystal kingdon) new in box computer game frmo 2010 (that thrift store find wtih the computer software was awesome lol) $2 at a thrift store. Plus got the Dora dinner set from target's dollar bins (cup, bowl, placemat, plate, take along bowl with lid) $5. The game is normally sold at target and walmart for $20.

For my younger brother (17 years old) who is a military history junkee I did a deal on Swap A DVD for a new in shrink wrap collectors edition tin set of 5 dvds- WWII: Battle for Europe documentary. Normally a 5 disc set costs 5 credits. But I offered combined this request with another and did a deal that worked out so this one was 4 credits. So $12 ($3 a credit), for a $20 new in package set. Then did a popcorn bucket from target for 50 cents and a bag of popcorn.

For a mechanic friend's husband I found one of those big screwdiver in a carrying case sets that's normally $20 for $7 on sale at home depot.

For three younger kids on the list I did melissa and doug toys. I bought a $50 gift certificate to Children's Orchard for $25 on a half off friday event done locally. Then went when there was a sale on toys at the store and used the certificate. Got more then $65 worth of toys for just over $25.

Also we got a $20 in gift card to the mall because we are part of the mall club and took advantage of one of their emails if you spend a certain amount you get a free gift card. We did christmas shopping that day and then turned in the receipts for the gift card =) I didn't include the $20 off the above figures.... but if I did that would lower our total cost to $255. Plus a $5 target gift card we used that would lower it further to $250.
Anyways, it's pretty cool what you can do and what money you can save just keeping eyes open and getting a little creative =)

About Me

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I'm a semi crunchy stay at home wife and mama of two boys. Extend Breastfeed, Cloth diaper, Cosleep, Babywear, Homeschool, Homebirth. My sons and I have some serious health concerns (allergies, growth hormone, kidney, lung, spine, etc...). We didn't realize they were genetic (or I had) until after Trace's birth. Tristian had some big medical and possibly/probably autism related delays in early childhood but also taught himself to read at 2yrs and started on math equations at 4yrs. Trace is bit delayed across the board by about 6 months, but as he's 1yr+ behind in height... it's not very noticable ;-) Trace is very musical and hands on. With plenty of common sense, love, good doctors and faith we are doing wonderfully!

This wonderful chapter in my life of discovering the green subculture has (mostly) ended. Living green on a budget has changed from the thrill of discovery to habit. This blog remains in rememberance- with occasionally crossover posting. I hope you join me- the same green mama on a budget, in a new blog celebrating life's daily experiences- LIFE O'KAY Still lots of crafts & crunchiness- with even more sweet family moments.

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