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I Wish I Knew These Low-cost Christmas Tricks Earlier

I Wish I Knew These Low-cost Christmas Tricks Earlier

Ho, ho, ho—the jolly holiday season is upon us! Christmas is slowly nearing and everyone is getting excited about the biggest holiday of the year. Now, we’ve become a very consumer-oriented culture, one where everyone is expected to spend tons of money on everything from gifts and decorations, to Christmas cards and even specific types of candy, but not everyone can afford to spend lots of their hard-earned money. We all want to enjoy the holidays, prepare cool gifts for our family and bring about some of that Christmas spirit—it’s just that a lot of us need a more cost-effective way of doing these things. Well, being that it is the season of giving and sharing, let me share with you some great tricks for having the perfect Christmas experience on a very tight budget.

1. Have everyone help out with the cleaning and decorating.

Christmas decoration

    The best way to create a fun holiday atmosphere is to get the whole family involved in the preparation. Get the kids and parents involved, and if you’re living the single life and spending Christmas away from home you can have friends over to help you decorate. It is a fun bonding experience and it helps make things easier. Serve some snacks, cookies and drinks for the hard-working helpers and play some fun games when the work is done.

    1. Organize a fun photo session.

    In this day and age you don’t even really need a professional photographer to capture great family moments—everyone has a camera on their phone, and there’s at least one decent digital camera in most households. There are plenty of benefits to having regular family photo sessions about once a year around the holidays, and you can have tons of fun dressing up and snapping creative photos. You can later pick out the best ones, print them out and create some cheap, yet cool-looking decorations. There’s plenty of room for some creative photo editing and DIY frames, which will make the photos really stand out.

    2. Get creative with homemade Christmas cards and envelopes.

    You can get an assortment of different color envelopes and blank cards, or even just get plain white ones and spice them up yourself. You can color them, use markers, glue on small items like Christmas tree branches or colorful fabrics and ribbons, use snowflake cutouts, apply glitter, use buttons or pictures, and so on.

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    Make tree ornaments and decorations from everyday objects.

    pinecones

      When it comes to Christmas decorations, you can make some incredibly interesting things from simple everyday objects. All it takes is a few basic items, some creativity and a bit of work.

      1. Old t-shirt wreath

      Finally, there’s a use for those old shirts, t-shirts and assorted rags—cut them up into strips and you can braid a colorful wreath.

      2. Toilet paper roll crafts

      From calendars to figurines and lovely stars for your Christmas tree, with a bunch of toilet paper rolls and a few other materials you have lying around, you can create a variety of amazing crafts virtually for free.

      3. Unique homemade candle holders

      Some candlelight really helps set the mood during that holiest of nights, and what better way to enhance the atmosphere than with some great candle holders that are cheap and fairly easy to make.

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      4. Pinecone decorations

      You can color them green and set them upside down to create a mini-Christmas tree ornament, use them as window dressing, create wreaths out of them, and much more.

      5. DIY snow globe

      This will require a bit more skill and dedication, but it definitely pays off, as these can be used as either ornaments or cool gifts.

      Cheap and fun Christmas snacks

      Next up, you want to make sure that there are plenty of snacks around Christmas, so that everyone can enjoy themselves and have a nibble every now and then. Here are a few great snacks that won’t cost much to prepare:

      1. Healthy and delicious cereal

      You can combine some corn flakes, oats, dehydrated fruit, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and mix it all up in mason jars to get a very healthy instant breakfast cereal. Add a little bow and a card with the name of each family member and friend and give them out as a surprise when people come over. You can even make this a part of a nice holiday gift basket.

      2. Gingerbread house with all sorts of sweets

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      Gingerbread house

        Making a gingerbread house can be a very fun family activity, as well as a beautiful decoration and, of course, a tasty treat. You can choose from plenty of great templates and create your ultimate gingerbread house. Go wild with the decorations, adding candy canes, M&M’s and all kinds of different sweets.

        3. Personalized homemade chocolate bars

        Get some tasty chocolate, I would recommend dark chocolate, melt it in a pot, and add some additional ingredients like chopped nuts, cherries or raisins. Pour the mix into a mold that you can get for cheap online, and use aluminum foil and decorative paper to wrap up the chocolate. Use a strip of craft paper to write the name of your special chocolate and list the ingredients.

        4. Great DIY gifts

        So, we’ve covered some fun holiday activities, cool decorations and great snacks, some of which can make excellent gifts, but let’s look at a few more unique DIY gift ideas that your friends and family will appreciate:

        5. Knitted or felt smartphone/tablet case

        If you have some knitting skills you can sit down and make several fun and practical cases for smartphones or tablets, which will make excellent gifts for virtually anyone you know. Here are some patterns you can use. You can also make adorable felt covers which you can customize with some felt flowers and similar decorations.

        6. Recipe binder and book of memories combo

        Every family has that mom or granny who know hundreds of delicious recipes and gives the food her own personal touch. Sit them down and have them tell you these coveted family recipes, so you can write them down. You can have one page of your recipe binder feature the recipe, while the page next to it can have a comment or picture that brings everyone back to a special moment—like a picture of a young grandma presenting her first Christmas dinner or your little brother with his face smeared in chocolate from mom’s cake. Make sure to make a lovely cover for the book as well.

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        7. Fun Christmas-themed pillows

        Christmas pillow

          Another one that requires some skill, a set of unique pillows can be made with a very small investment – mostly time and effort. There are plenty of things you can sew in—like snowmen, Christmas trees, reindeer, write out names or messages and so on. Even if you can’t really sew, you can still make some nice decorative pillows using Sharpies and a steady hand.

          8. Stuffed toys

          When you have smaller kids, a stuffed toy is always a safe bet—they also make lovely gifts for your significant other, and the fact that they were made by hand only adds emotional value. You can find a few good ideas online to spark your imagination, but don’t be afraid to experiment—even if it takes a few tries to get right, you’ll work will pay off when you see someone’s face light up as they hold the toy in their hands.

          9. DIY pet toys

          doggy toy

            An excellent choice for people with pets are some creative pet toys and treats for dog owners or a nice scratch post for cat owners. You won’t have to spend much money, but you will still be able to make some durable and clever items that pet owners will really appreciate.

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            10. Special Moment Wall Clock

            A simple board and a picture of a very special moment, with a meaningful inscription, and a basic clockwork mechanism is all that you will need for this heartfelt gift. Here is a useful guide on how to print out images on tissue paper that you will use on your decoupage clock.

            With Christmas just around the corner, it’s never too late to start preparing, decorating and crafting gifts for your friends and family. I wish I had known some of these great low-cost tricks much earlier—I could have saved quite a bit of money, while at the same time making much more personal and meaningful gifts and decorations.

            More by this author

            Ivan Dimitrijevic

            Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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            Last Updated on April 19, 2021

            40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

            40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

            Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

            1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

            Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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              2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

              We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

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                3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

                Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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                  4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

                  Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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                    5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

                    Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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                      6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

                      We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                        7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                        This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                          8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                          One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                            9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                            If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                              10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                              Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                                11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                                Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                                  12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                                  Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                                    13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                                    You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                                      14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                                      With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                        15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                        Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                        Black-Bean-Cilantro-Mango

                                          16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                          If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                            17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                            The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                              18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                              If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                                19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                                Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                                  20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                                  I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                                    21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                                    Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                                      22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                                      You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                        23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                        Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                        Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                          24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                          Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

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                                                            25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                            Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                              26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                              If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                                27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                                Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                                  28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                  A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

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                                                                    29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                                    You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

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                                                                      30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                                      Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                        31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                        Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                          32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                          Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                            33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                            Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                              34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                              If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                                35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                                Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                                  36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                                  Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                                    37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                                    You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                                      38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                                      Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                        39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                        Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                          40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                          You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

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                                                                                            Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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