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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

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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 June 6, 2019

                                                              The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

                                                              The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

                                                              Are you on track for retirement?

                                                              If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

                                                              Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

                                                              But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

                                                              If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

                                                              What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

                                                              Saving for retirement is tricky.

                                                              Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

                                                              Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

                                                              Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

                                                              Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

                                                              20’s – $16,000

                                                              During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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                                                              Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

                                                              30’s – $45,000

                                                              At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

                                                              Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

                                                              40’s – $63,000

                                                              This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

                                                              50’s – $115,000

                                                              During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

                                                              60’s – $172,000

                                                              By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

                                                              Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

                                                              The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

                                                              Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

                                                              First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

                                                              Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

                                                              Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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                                                              How to Save Money Each Month

                                                              By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

                                                              But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

                                                              Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

                                                              Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

                                                              Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

                                                              Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

                                                              Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

                                                              To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

                                                              How?

                                                              By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

                                                              Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

                                                              If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

                                                              Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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                                                              Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

                                                              Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

                                                              When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

                                                              Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

                                                              Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

                                                              If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

                                                              Why?

                                                              You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

                                                              Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

                                                              Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

                                                              Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

                                                              After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

                                                              You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

                                                              By starting a side-business.

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                                                              This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

                                                              The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

                                                              So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

                                                              Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

                                                              Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

                                                              What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

                                                              My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

                                                              Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

                                                              For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

                                                              If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

                                                              Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

                                                              Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

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