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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 March 3, 2021

                                                              Top 6 Hacks on How To Build Credit Fast

                                                              Top 6 Hacks on How To Build Credit Fast

                                                              When done right, credit can open doors and provide a lifestyle that you never imagined possible. Anything from flying around the world in first-class and staying at 5-star hotels entirely for free to starting and scaling businesses. It’s also an area where it can be easy to make mistakes and hard to recover from without the right information. In this article, I will break down how you can build credit fast so you can open doors in your life!

                                                              When you start to think about improving your credit score, you have to answer three important questions first:

                                                              1. What are you trying to achieve by having good credit?
                                                              2. What really is your credit score?
                                                              3. How is your credit score calculated?

                                                              What Are Your Credit Goals?

                                                              Having a high credit score is great, but ultimately, your credit score is a tool in your personal finance arsenal that you can use to open doors. The first question you should ask yourself is “what will a higher credit score do for me?”

                                                              I work with many clients directly at Freedom Travel Systems to help them fully leverage the power of their credit so they can enjoy free luxury travel and start or grow their business. For my clients and many others, here are a few common goals many credit-savvy individuals have:

                                                              • Free Travel – getting access to travel rewards cards so you can get tons of free travel and even get first-class flights, hotel suites, and luxury amenities all for free
                                                              • Start/Grow a Business – getting access to business credit so you can start and grow a business with 0% or low-interest financing that does not impact your personal credit
                                                              • More Approvals – getting approved for credit cards, auto loans, or mortgages so you improve your lifestyle or build your personal wealth
                                                              • Better Rates – getting better interest rates on any loans you get will save you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime

                                                              What Is Your Credit Score?

                                                              Your credit score is simply a 3-digit number that tells potential lenders how reliable of a borrower you are. Keep in mind that lenders, such as banks and credit issuers, stay in business by lending. Their goal is to find the people that have the highest probability of paying them back and they assess this primarily through your credit score.

                                                              What’s important to know is that there are two major scoring models used to create your scores. These scores are your FICO Score and your Vantage Score. More than 90% of lenders rely on your FICO score, so when you are checking your score, you want to make sure you see the actual score that the lenders use. And no, checking your own score does not hurt your credit!

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                                                              Then enters the 3 main credit bureaus, which are essentially agencies that collect credit information on you. These are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. These bureaus then apply a scoring model to the information they have on you and voila, you now have a credit score! Bureaus sometimes have different information on your report, which is why you will see 3 different scores.

                                                              How Is Your Credit Score Calculated?

                                                              Next, you need to understand how the credit score is calculated. This will provide a high-level overview, but there is more detail to each of these factors alone.

                                                              There are 5 main factors in the calculation of your credit score:[1]

                                                              1. Payment History (35%) – This refers to the amount and percentage of on-time payments you have.
                                                              2. Utilization (30%) – This is how much revolving credit you use as a percentage of the total revolving credit issued to you. Note that installment loans like auto-loans or mortgages do not count towards this while credit cards do.
                                                              3. Age of Credit (15%) – This refers to how long your credit history is, primarily your “average age.”
                                                              4. Credit Mix (10%) – This is how many different types of credit you have. For example, there are credit cards, student loans, auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, and lines of credit.
                                                              5. New Credit (10%) – This primarily refers to how many inquiries you have for new credit.

                                                              Top 6 Hacks on How to Build Credit Fast

                                                              Now that you’ve learned more about your credit score, here are the top 6 tips on how to build credit fast.

                                                              1. Don’t Close Your Cards

                                                              Many of us are taught that getting a new credit card is bad and having too many will hurt your score. In fact, the opposite is true. You want to have many positive accounts reporting to your credit report. Logically, this makes sense because having more accounts with more on-time payments shows that you are a more reliable borrower. You just don’t want to open too many accounts too quickly since that can hurt your “new credit” factor.

                                                              Instead of closing a card, what you should do is simply keep the card open and put a small subscription service on it monthly. Why? Because each time you have an on-time payment, it helps build your payment history, the largest factor of credit.

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                                                              If you close a card, you are missing on potential on-time payments, age of credit, credit mix, and also lowering the total credit lent to you so your utilization percentage may go up. If you have an annual fee on a card you don’t like, see if there is a “no-fee” version of the card and downgrade it to that card rather than close it.

                                                              2. Use Autopay to Never Miss a Payment

                                                              This one is easy to do and easy not to do. Go into your credit card account and set up auto-pay. You can choose to either pay the full amount, the statement balance, or the minimum payment. Personally, I like to set up autopay to pay the minimum payment so that I never get a late payment. Then, I go in and manually pay the statement balance each month by the payment due date.

                                                              This helps me personally see my spending and have a manual review of my charges while ensuring, not have to pay interest, and still get the benefit of making sure that I never miss a payment if something goes wrong. Think about it, if you were to have a medical or family emergency, the last thing you want to experience on the back end of that is a late payment and a drop in your credit score. So, set up autopay.

                                                              A pro tip is to update your payment due dates across all bills and accounts to be the same so that you can “time batch” the process and have one time a month where you sit down and handle your payments. You can do this by simply contacting the credit card company or doing it online.

                                                              3. Get a Credit Limit Increase to Lower Your Utilization

                                                              One of the factors that get most people into trouble is using too much of their allotted total credit. Their utilization, which is the percentage of revolving credit they use, goes up, and their score tanks. You should aim for less than 30%, and in an ideal world, less than 10%.

                                                              To help drive this down, call your credit issuer and ask for a credit limit increase. This will help increase the total amount of credit extended to you and drop your utilization. Oftentimes, they will only give it to you when your utilization is fairly decent (less than 50%), so work to pay it down as best as possible before doing this. You should ask if the credit limit increase will give you an inquiry as some banks do a hard inquiry while some do not. If they do a hard inquiry, it is often better to just get a new card altogether or pass.

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                                                              4. Add Authorized Users to Increase Your Age, Add History, and Decrease Utilization

                                                              This is one of the best hacks out there as it helps with the 3 biggest factors of improving your credit: payment history, utilization, and age. This concept is also called “credit piggybacking” where someone with great credit history on a card adds an authorized user (AU) to the card. When the AU gets added, the credit history and information from that card are added to the AU’s report!

                                                              This is extremely helpful for people with young credit because it can drastically increase your age of accounts. It can also help many people with limited payment history or high utilization.

                                                              Please be aware that anything good or bad on that account you are added to will show up on your report. So, you want to avoid any cards with negative marks or high utilization. That being said, it is a one-way street, so nothing that you do with your credit can impact the primary account holder.

                                                              This is so valuable that there are companies that sell AU accounts. I always suggest starting with your family and/or personal network first as there are likely people in your network that can help!

                                                              5. Space Out Your Application Strategy

                                                              New credit is the smallest factor of credit, but it still matters! If you are looking to build up your credit, you should space out your applications. If you apply for too much credit in a short period, it looks very needy in the eyes of the lenders. For this reason, it is safest to apply for cards slowly over time unless you have really studied more in-depth how this works. A good rule of thumb is once every few months.

                                                              If you are in the credit game for the hopes of getting tons of credit card points for free travel, which is what I personally take full advantage of, you will want to familiarize yourself with the different bank rules and card promotions to put together the right application strategy. Applying blindly will waste inquiries and leave tons of benefits on the table!

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                                                              6. Review Your Report for Negatives

                                                              If you have any negative or “derogatory” marks on your credit report, this will hurt you drastically. They do impact you less as they age, however, you should review your credit report to ensure that everything on your report is 100% accurate and actually yours. Wrong information ends up on credit reports all the time and you will want to take personal responsibility for making sure it is accurate.

                                                              The “burden of proof” is on the credit bureau to confirm that any information on your report is in fact accurate. If you find inaccuracies, you can dispute that with them, or you could consider getting a credible credit repair company to help you.

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              There you have it, the top 6 tips on how to build credit fast so you can get closer to reaching your goals. Now that you’ve learned more about how credit score works and how you can improve yours, you’ll hopefully be able to make better financial decisions and achieve your financial goals quicker.

                                                              More Tips on How to Build Credit Fast

                                                              Featured photo credit: CardMapr via unsplash.com

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