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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

      Copper-Dipped-Shot-Glasses

        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

                T-Shirt-Towel-Produce-Bags

                  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

                  Gold-Spray-Painted-Jars

                    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

                                  soap

                                    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 June 26, 2020

                                                              25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

                                                              25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

                                                              “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

                                                              If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

                                                              You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

                                                              Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

                                                              As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

                                                              And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

                                                              But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

                                                              • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
                                                                • food
                                                                • rent/mortgage
                                                                • cell phone
                                                                • insurance
                                                                • socializing/entertainment
                                                                • transportation
                                                                • hygiene products
                                                                • household bills
                                                              • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
                                                                • travel
                                                                • clothing
                                                                • medication (*depends)
                                                                • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
                                                                • gifts

                                                              Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

                                                              Save Money on Food

                                                              1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

                                                              Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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                                                              Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

                                                              2. Buy the store-brand version

                                                              Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

                                                              3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

                                                              Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

                                                              4. Have group dinners

                                                              If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

                                                              Save Money in Transport

                                                              5. Get a bicycle

                                                              Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

                                                              6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

                                                              Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

                                                              7. Find the cheapest gas

                                                              Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

                                                              Save Money in General Shopping

                                                              8. Shop online

                                                              Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

                                                              9. Sell your old stuff

                                                              Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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                                                              Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

                                                              10. Bulk buying stores

                                                              For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

                                                              Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

                                                              11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

                                                              You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

                                                              12. Generic brand medication

                                                              More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

                                                              13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

                                                              It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

                                                              Cut Down on Household Expenses

                                                              14. Printing

                                                              Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

                                                              e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

                                                              Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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                                                              15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

                                                              A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

                                                              16. Shop around for insurance

                                                              Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

                                                              Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

                                                              17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

                                                              If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

                                                              18. Don’t get a TV

                                                              Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

                                                              19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

                                                              My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

                                                              Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

                                                              20. Have house parties

                                                              Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

                                                              For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

                                                              21. Open festivals, meetups and events

                                                              It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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                                                              22. Volunteer

                                                              If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

                                                              23. Housesit

                                                              There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

                                                              Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

                                                              24. DIY beauty

                                                              French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

                                                              25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

                                                              If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

                                                              Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

                                                              Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

                                                              • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
                                                              • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
                                                              • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
                                                              • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
                                                              • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
                                                              • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
                                                              • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

                                                              Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

                                                              What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

                                                              Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

                                                              More Tips for Personal Finance Management

                                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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