Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ways to save money on gifts and cards

I love gift bags. I love them so much that I started saving them way back when I was engaged to my husband. I'd get these nice gifts in gorgeous bags that were too amazing to just throw away. Then the wedding came, and the holidays we spent together, and all those gift bags piled up.

I couldn't keep all those gift bags, so I started reusing the nicest ones to put gifts in that I'd give to family and friends. The gift bags that were a bit wrinkled I'd use to give back food containers (thanks, Mom, that was tasty!), loan out CDs to friends or donate small items to Goodwill, that kind of thing.

Reusing gift bags is a great way to reduce/reuse/recycle -- and it saves money! I rarely need to buy a gift bag to give a gift. See this gift bag here? I put it together for a friend's daughter's birthday using my stash, including a super nice piece of cloth-like tissue paper I had saved.

When it comes to cards, I don't reuse them -- although I know artsy people do cut off the front of cards to create something new from them. I save money on cards by making my own. Some people are expert card makers and put their whole selves into it. Seriously, I have a friend who can spend a month creating one card! I admire those people -- I'm not one of them. I buy a package of blank cards with envelopes from a craft store (around $5-6) and some nice scrapbooking stickers. Then when I need a card, I put a few stickers on the front of a blank card, stamp a message inside, and have a unique card, fast. And cheap. Sometimes for a kid's birthday, I will let my preschooler make the birthday card.

When you consider that gift bags and cards can easily be $3-5 each, well, you can see how it adds to the overall price of a gift. I say spend your money where it counts -- on the gift!