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Gifts Under $5: 30 Sweet And Creative DIY Gift Ideas

Gifts Under $5: 30 Sweet And Creative DIY Gift Ideas

We live in increasingly difficult economic times, and the looming specter of Christmas will only draw any financial short-comings that you may have into sharper focus. The fluctuating state of the global economy has therefore played a pivotal role in driving the increasingly lucrative thrift market, which grew by more than 14% between 2011 and 2013 in developed economies around the world. If you want to save money without compromising on the quality of the gifts that you give to your loved ones this year, however, you may be better served by considering a wide range of DIY gift ideas that can be brought to fruition for less than $5. This will also enable you to proffer gifts that are meaningful and bear a personalized touch. Consider the following ideas: –

Quirky and Fun Gift Ideas

1. Colorful and Diverse Dotted Tumblers

Dotted-Tumblers

    Simply by taking existing tumblers that are clean and in good condition, you can embellish these with faux petals in a host of variable colors. Not only is this exceptionally cheap, but it also offers you the flexibility to experiment color and even alternative materials.

    2. Sparkling Glitter Shot Glass Vases

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      On a similar note, you could even look to turn simple vases into stunning table centers for any outdoor event. Glitter is extremely affordable to source in bulk, while the finished product looks extremely alluring and create a higher-end visage.

      3. Beautiful Copper Dipped Shot Glasses

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        While copper dipped shot glasses create a similar visual effect, they are a little harder to make. Still, by layering a typical shot glass with parchment paper and using a foam brush to apply paint to the lower portion, you will create an unusual effect that wows guests.

        4. Personalized Coasters with Unique Photographs

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          While the idea of transferring images onto canvas or materials was once quite complex, modern technology and photo-shopping software has changed this. With this in mind, you can use open-source programs to transfer personalized images onto basic coasters to create a unique, customized gift.

          5. Stunning Instagram or Pinterest Canvas Print

          Instagram-Canvas-Print

            Similarly, it is relatively cheap and simple to create a unique canvas print using imagery source from either Instagram or Pinterest. Whether you include personal photographs or a stunning piece of imagery, this is a gift idea that can be created quickly and for well under $5.

            6. Quirky Picture Magnets

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              While creating quirky and personalized picture magnets requires a slightly different process, it is still relatively simple and affordable. Using clear gem accents as the base, you can add images using magnet tape and create a unique gift idea for loved ones.

              7. Authentic Coffee Filter Flowers for the Home

              Coffee-Filter-Peonies

                If you want to create gifts that infuse the recipients’ home with color and vibrancy, authentic coffee filter flowers represent an ideal choice. Start by scrunching disregarded coffee filters together and connecting them using a slender piece of floral stem wire, before adding a color of your choice and creating anything from peonies to roses.

                8.Visually Unique T-Shirt and Towel Produce Bags

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                  If you have been inspired by the thrift market, you will recognize that every individual item in your home boats potential value. You can cut and embellish old T-Shirts and towels to create visually unique produce bags, for example, which in turn will help the recipient to reduce their waste and eliminate the need to use plastic bags.

                  9. Bold and Vibrant Spray-Painted Jars

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                    Sometimes the best ideas are also the most simple to execute, and this is certainly the case when it comes to DIY gift creation. Old pasta and condiment jars can be quickly transformed through the application of specialist spray paint, for example, with gold capable of creating a particularly alluring effect. You can even add lettering and create a personalized message if required.

                    10. Stylish Fabric-covered Books for Readers

                    Fabric-Covered-Books

                      In a similar vein, the application of bright and textured fabrics to books can also create a unique and stylish gift option for creative individuals on a budget. Whether you cover a notebook or the latest best-selling novel, these covers are simply to fit and can be created from a host of different materials.

                      Bath Bombs and Creative Cosmetic Gifts

                      11.Colorful and Fragrant Bath Bombs

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                        While there are a number of dry and wet ingredients go into creating a homemade bath bomb, you will have many of these in your home as staple cooking or cosmetic products. Including baking soda and an essential oil of your choice, you will need to follow a precise recipe and ensure that you focus on creating a colorful and fragrant gift.

                        12. Sweet and Exfoliating Lemon Sugar Scrub

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                          Although there is a common drive among home-owners to reduce the amount of water that they use on a daily basis, this does not mean that we should not enjoy the occasional bath. Instead, we should look to use cost-effective and environmentally friendly cosmetic products to make these experiences enjoyable and sustainable in equal measure. Take this homemade lemon sugar scrub, for example, which combines natural ingredients such as granulated sugar, coconut oil and lemon zest to create an organic and effective skin treatment.

                          13. Cute and Customized Cosmetic Bag

                          Makeup-Bag

                            Whether you are a novice or talented seamstress or tailor, you may want to apply these skills to create a customized cosmetic bag for a loved one. Simply by sourcing cheap exterior and lining fabric for the body, can can create a beautiful bag that is embellished with a functional zipper for easy usage.

                            14. Exotic Bath Salts

                            Bath-Salts

                              Bath salts are a hugely popular gift item at Christmas, while they are also created in a similar way to bath bombs and include many of the same dry ingredients. The most important of these are coarse sea salts, baking soda and Epsom salts, with food coloring and an essential oil of your choice will also infuse the gift with a unique shade and fragrance.

                              15. An Alluring Gardeners Skin Scrub

                              Gardener-Scrub

                                Every individual has their favorite color or scent, and it is important to infuse this in any homemade cosmetic gift that you create. Fans of the outdoors may benefit from this unique Gardeners Skin Scrub, for example, which can be made cheaply using readily available ingredients such as coconut oil and a unique combination of tea tree and peppermint essential oils.

                                16. Silky Body Butter

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                                  As you can see, coconut oil is a key ingredient of all homemade cosmetic and bathroom products. Along with citrus fruits such as lemon and orange, it can be used to form the base for a versatile body butter than can also be applied as a lip balm or skin moisturizer.

                                  17. Cleansing Soaps and Body Washes

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                                    As the thrift and homemade gift market has exploded, so too companies have developed products to help satisfy this rising demand. You can purchase low-cost soap bases that melt in the microwave, for example, while there are also soap molds in which you can set your homemade gift. Before setting your soap in the mold, however, you will have the opportunity to add a personalized list of ingredients and fragrance oils.

                                    18. Personalized Soap and Shower Gel Bottles

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                                      If you are loathe to create a homemade cosmetic product, you can still design a personalized or monogrammed bottle to hold individual soaps and shower gels. You can actually create a personalized label on the inside of your bottle, by printing it first onto transparent overhead paper and then inserting.

                                      19. Creative Mason Jar Candles for the Bathroom

                                      candle jars

                                        No relaxing bath is complete without a candle, so why not create your own unique product as a festive gift this Christmas? Mason Jar candles are particularly appealing, and they can be easily created using soy wax flakes, colorant and a wick. You can also add a scent of your choice, as you construct your unique candle in the jar and around the wick.

                                        20. Simplistic Wash-clothes for Presenting Bath Goodies

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                                          Not only is this idea unique, but it is arguably one of the most simplistic and affordable of our concepts. It can be executed by folding a wash-cloth and embellishing to create a unique shape or even an animal, before being packaged and tied together with a brightly colored ribbon or bow.

                                          Functional Gift Ideas

                                          21. A Fun and Attractive Shark Purse

                                          Shark-Purse

                                            While it may not sound like it, the shark purse is an extremely functional gift idea that will also add some bite to your outfit. You can make this easily too, firstly by cutting your pattern out from a blank piece of paper before transferring this onto your chosen material. You will then need to add the fin and individual teeth using white felt, before pinning the pattern to the fabric and completing the design.

                                            22. Personalized and Fun Photo Bookmarks

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                                              On the topic of simple DIY gifts, all you need to create a personalized and fun photo bookmark is some meaningful imagery and homemade tassel. The first component can be created from existing photographs of loved ones, while the decorative tassel can be manufactured simply by being wrapped around cardboard, embroidered and looped through an appropriate part of the image.

                                              23. Stylish Wine Glass Slip-on Coasters

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                                                Give the wine-lover an ideal gift this Christmas with some innovative and stylish slip-on, wine glass coasters. They are designed to lift with the glass as you sip, and can be easily made by cutting several wineglass-size circles from colored felt, before cutting a square opening and adding four diagonal cuts at each corner. Use fabric glue to cement the design and create a functional, affordable gift idea this Christmas.

                                                24. A Quaint, from Scratch Tea Set

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                                                  Tea is a quintessentially English drink, and one of the nations’ favorite. As a hot beverage it is also extremely popular during the winter, while it can also include a list of ingredients that are tailored to the needs of the individual recipient. A particular favorite includes ginger, cloves and dried apple chips, which are mixed together and then added to your individual tea filters. You can then use a string to tie together, and even add some festive cinnamon sticks or figs to complete the gift.

                                                  25. A Customizable, Handmade Travel-mug Cozie

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                                                    On a similar note, why not create a unique and customized travel-mug cozie for those winter morning commutes to work? Using a pre-existing pattern, you can set the size to suit a standard coffee travel mug before cutting out specific letters or shapes to personalize the design. On a final note, you may want to consider adding layers of fabric to embellish the cozie further.

                                                    26. A Functional Chalkboard Planner

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                                                      For gift recipients who like to lead an organized life, you should consider creating a six panel chalkboard planner. This should included six frames in total, five for each working day of the week and one for addition notes. Be sure to tape off your wooden frame with painter’s tape, while it is also a good idea to apply several coats of magnetic spray on the front of the glass if you want to add even more functionality to the design. To add the finish, use a paintbrush or a small, foam roller to apply your chalkboard paint.

                                                      27. A Recyclable Book Keepsake Box

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                                                        The ultimate in flexible storage space, the recyclable book keepsake box is an ideal gift for loved ones this Christmas. It is also easy to make too, as you apply craft glue to the inside back cover and allow to dry before adding some more to the edges of the book. The use a crafts knife to cut out a small rectangular square of space in the middle and remove the pages to finish your quaint hide-away.

                                                        28. A Bright Ceramic Serving Platter

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                                                          Bright and functional in equal measure, a colorful ceramic serving platter is the ideal gift for home-proud recipients who love nothing more than entertaining. You can create a vibrant motif around the edges of a cheap or existing platter, taking care to use ceramic paints for background colors and porcelain paint pens for more detailed aspects of the design. To ensure accuracy and a high quality finish, use a stencil for any lettering or large shapes.

                                                          29. A Uniquely Designed Vanity Dinner Plate

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                                                            On a similar note, you can also portray a visual representation of your favorite person on a ceramic dinner plate. This is ideal for recipients who are more than a little vein, while it can also be developed from a single photograph. Simply transfer the finer features on the plate use a tinted, porcelain paint pen, before taking a paint brush and adding color to larger spaces such as hair or a bandanna. The final design needs to be set and ‘baked’ according the specific manufacturer instructions.

                                                            30. Versatile Labelled Containers for the Home

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                                                              While standard storage containers are already functional by themselves, erasable labels add even more value and enable them to become versatile surface fixtures. Simply bring this gift idea to life using colorful vinyl stickers that can showcase chalk marks, ensuring that each label can be re-positioned according to your needs. Remove the paper backing and then relocate the label on each container, before embellishing this with any additional color or adornments.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Rubbermaid Products – Flickr via flickr.com

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                                                              Last Updated on January 2, 2019

                                                              How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                                                              How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                                                              Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

                                                              Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

                                                              Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

                                                              This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

                                                              Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

                                                              What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

                                                              Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

                                                              When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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                                                              How It Leads to Financial Improvement

                                                              It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

                                                              Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

                                                              Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

                                                              It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

                                                              Types of Personal Finance Software

                                                              When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

                                                              Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

                                                              For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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                                                              Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

                                                              When to Use Personal Finance Software

                                                              So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

                                                              Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

                                                              1. You Have Multiple Accounts

                                                              There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

                                                              If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

                                                              Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

                                                              2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

                                                              Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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                                                              There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

                                                              With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

                                                              3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

                                                              Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

                                                              Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

                                                              Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

                                                              4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

                                                              Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

                                                              You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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                                                              How to Get Started

                                                              From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

                                                              Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

                                                              It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

                                                              When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

                                                              Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

                                                              In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

                                                              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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