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Frugal Child Birthday Party

Frugal Child Birthday Party

 

So our oldest daughter (who just turned 7) had a birthday on Nov 19th. We have a family policy - big birthdays every other year only. This year was the off-year, so we told her just 3 people. We still wanted them all to have lots of fun and rather than just have a small party, we piggy-backed an activity that was already scheduled at our church. The Primary organization was having a craft day on the same weekend as the party. So, naturally we just turned that INTO the party :)

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Gift Originality and Costs Thereof

Gift Originality and Costs Thereof

Birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day, Fathers Day... all have gift giving in common. Often the price of gifts add up and overwhelm many in to non-participation. I've found that you can turn a hobby or project into a gift for a relatively inexpensive cost.

For example, every once in a while, I get a craving to work with my hands (instead of writing code all the time). So, I've made some gifts out of wood and other items.Once I created a large Towers of Hanoi puzzle for my father for Christmas. I learned about the puzzle from a computer science algorithm sorting technique page. I figured this would be a great gift. The materials were inexpensive, the labor was free, and though it took quite a while, I wanted to work with my hands anyway... so I didn't consider the time poorly spent.

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Dollar Store Discounts Beneficial or Cheap Quality?

Dollar Store Discounts Beneficial or Cheap Quality?

I have found myself with a few wedding and baby showers (then the wedding and arrival of the new baby) to attend during this year. This past week I had two of the wedding showers to attend. I am part of a community that likes to support each other and love any excuse to get us women together for time to socialize. You may find yourself with a number of these showers to attend and watch the costs add up with each new shower to attend.

For one of the showers I was able to find a high quality set of dishes (I want to get a set for myself) with a beautiful pattern. I found them at our local Dollarama. So for a set of 4 mugs, 4 bowls, 4 plates and a large mixing bowl, I paid just under $15. The bride to be was very pleased with the gift. 

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Should I Buy Lotto Tickets or Holiday Tickets?

Should I Buy Lotto Tickets or Holiday Tickets?

I was at my local convenience store on the weekend. The lady behind the counter was telling me of all the different winning tickets that were bought from her store (winning amounts various including some quite large amounts). She was very proud and thought her store must be bringing good luck to a lot of her customers.

I wondered how much people annually spend on such tickets of chance like Lotto tickets and so I looked up some statistics on the internet.

Here's a link showing some household statistics for Canada and other information like what the Lotto proceeds are spent on.

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Cheap or Thoughtful Gift Giving

Cheap or Thoughtful Gift Giving

My girls just did valentine card exchanges at school. They gave the only homemade cards. The rest were store bought including one from their teacher. I thought it was pretty amazing that my girls gave the only homemade cards. I can also imagine thoughts from the other parents. "Poor things. I guess they don't have any money to buy cards or their family is cheap."

From my point of view, my girls love to be creative and this gives them the perfect opportunity to be creative and crafty (and for a couple of them, get to practice their newly acquired writing skills). We had the supplies needed already, so they cut shapes out from construction paper, folded more in half to make cards, pasted things together, wrote names and "Happy Valentines" on them, doodled pictures and stuck a sticker on here and there. They were very cute. 

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Is it Worth the Drive?

Is it Worth the Drive?

I plan on doing some bulk shopping today. Our toilet paper is running low and I live about 30 minutes from a Costco where I can buy toilet paper for about half the price of the cheap brand of toilet paper from my local low price grocery store. To make it worth my while I have to buy enough of the larger/bulk quantity of items to make up for the gas I'm spending. Plus I have to preparemy budget for a larger hit in the grocery area, reducing my grocery budget for as many weeks as it takes to make up for today's increased purchase.

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Lending My Hard Earned Money to a Friend... AGAIN!

Lending My Hard Earned Money to a Friend... AGAIN!

On occasion I've lent a few dollars to different friends. At one point before I got married, one of my friends and myself had low incomes and would bail each other out when money got a little tight for the small expenses we had in our lives at that time. We had an open understanding that we would not leave the debt unpaid to each other.

It can be very stressful on a relationship to lend money. Make sure all details are clear for both parties when lending the money. How much is being lent, on what day, the day it is due again, is it a straight lump sum payback or periodic small payments, will interest be charged or just the original amount paid back, what will happen if the money is not paid back on the day agreed upon.

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How Many Gifts Did I Get?

I read an article recently about a child who judged how much they were loved by how many gifts they got. Even when the mom would show this child the receipts and show that the money added up no matter the number of gifts, the child thought that the quantity of gifts was more important.

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Still trying to figure out what to give?

Still trying to figure out what to give?

You often run into different gift giving situations where you don't know what to give. Maybe the person has the ability to get what they want whenever they want. Maybe they're a very picky person to buy for. Maybe you don't know what to get for that age. In our case, for Christmas, we have our 5 kids to buy for and so that could be very expensive so we thought we could get a gift for the whole family.

Some ideas we've come up with:

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Gift Alternatives:Gifts that Keep on Giving

Gift Alternatives:Gifts that Keep on Giving

Christmas Day arrives.

Sally gets a new doll.

Johnny gets a new truck.

By mid January they have joined the pile of their other toys leaving the purchaser wondering if there is a better way, a better gift to give that will not be so short lived. There are some better ways. You can be the one to give a gift that ripens with time. A gift of this nature will be truly appreciated in crucial times of people's lives, not just in the moment.

Here are some suggestions for gifts that keep giving after any initial joy of new toys wears off:

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Global Giving on a Budget - Just in Time for Christmas

Global Giving on a Budget - Just in Time for Christmas

Technology has made it easy to stay much more connected to more people throughout the world. Gift giving, as wonderful as it is, can be challenging for people in different areas of the world. Often by the time you have purchased the gifts to give away, you have to pay an arm and probably two legs for shipping costs (which can be more expensive than what's in the box).

Here are some ways to reduce the cost of spreading gift giving joy around the world:

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What Charity Is Good To Give To?

What Charity Is Good To Give To?

I've heard a number of people desire to give to a charity (which comes up a lot more at this time of year, with the spirit of giving in the air) but debate which charity they should donate to, if they should, because they felt not enough of the funds were actually getting to the people in need. Too much of the amount they donated had to help cover the expenses of running the charity itself.

There are alternatives that can help local people in your community, as follows:

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Costly Christmas Food Outings Adding Up?

Costly Christmas Food Outings Adding Up?

Christmas is probably my favorite time of the year; it brings joy, kindness and warmth to colder weather and hearts . The Christmas season also bring family and friends together, usually involving elaborate dinners or trips to restaurants for group celebrations, not the mention the fast food consumption during shopping trips. Its great in the moment, but we can be left with huge dents in our budget over the food costs which add to an already very expensive season.

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Christmas Shopping Ideas

Christmas Shopping Ideas

Its prime Christmas shopping season! Although I'm more of a 'week before Christmas' shopper, many people I know are out hunting for the perfect gift. Here are some ideas for keeping your Christmas shopping in line with your budget and perhaps, some innovative and inexpensive ideas.

My family has a great tradition between my 2 brothers and my father to make the most difficult to open gift. This typically involved steel, concrete, wire coat-hangers and other assorted impervious materials. Often the costs of "wrapping" the gift can exceed the cost of the gift itself, but the joy of opening the gift is exceedingly great. We use old recycling things, such as old broken computers... as evidenced by my joy in opening 2006's gift from my brother.

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Standing out from the crowd

Standing out from the crowd

It is so easy to get caught up in the flow of what everyone else is doing. It's easier in the moment to follow the crowd rather than doing what's best for you (assuming they may be 2 different things :) ).

My mother-in-law's family has dinner together every Christmas, which ends up being a very large gathering, about 25 to 40 people. 5 years ago they decided to have a Secret Santa gift exchange to make it a little more fun for everyone. We were okay with the extra purchases, even as our family grew in numbers, which would increase our gift purchases (each family member is assigned someone else to give a gift to) - we're up to 7 now...)We could find a way to keep cost low since most of the children we had to buy for are under age 7 (dollar stores fills that ticket easily with some nice, budget items).

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Regifting

Regifting

We all do it, so lets stop thinking about this as being cheap. Its simply a fact of life. At some point you are bound to get a duplicate gift or a gift you don't need (or want).

Rather than return the gift, simply keep it in a special location, called the "regifting pile". Next time you need to give a gift, always consult the regifting pile first to see if there's something convenient there to give as a gift. (Just be sure not to give it back to the original giver or close family!).

My regifting pile has probably saved me $100's, and many trips to the shopping center. Also, I reuse all those gift bags I get since they are easily resuable. No wrapping paper needed. No fuss. Hurray Regifting!

I've regifted things like crock-pots, trinckets, clocks, tool sets. Whats' your favirite regifting story? Or are you an anti-regifter?

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