If you are answering yes to any of these questions, I have a solution that will make you feel a little better about your money situation.
Create your own mini economy at home.
Here's how it works.
Buying presents for family and friends all year round can cost a fortune. If you're like me you have a present / gift budget. I always like to beat the present budget and have money left over at the end of the year to buy treats. Yes I can buy presents on sale and that will save me money. If I go one step further I can keep most of my present fund within my home instead spending all that money at the shops.
Making presents is a great way to save money and results in a lovely present to give for just a couple of dollars. Because I have a well stocked pantry, when I make biscuits for presents, I just use what I have on hand. I estimate that a jar of biscuits costs me $2 for the jar and less than $1 for the biscuits. Ribbons and gift tags cost zero because I use free supplies to make my own. The present looks like it's worth much more, maybe even $10. I take $10 out of my present / gift budget and put it into my food / grocery budget ( envelope ) to pay for the ingredients. By doing this, my food budget has made a profit of $7.
The savings doesn't stop there. I might have budgeted $15 for a present for a friend. By only taking $10 out of the present budget to pay the food budget, I've saved $5 on the present budget.
Here's another example.
I made a couple of tote bags late last year to be given as presents. The material cost $4 in total for the two bags and I paid for it out of my clothing budget. That was the envelope I had with me when I was in Spotlight looking around. Tote bags cost about $10 in the stores if paying retail Using this valuation, I took $20 ( $10 for each bag ) out of the present budget and put it into my clothing envelope to reimburse for the material costs. My clothing envelope has just made a profit of $16. I usually budget $15 for each present so if I chose to give the tote bags on their own, I've just saved my present budget $5 on each present. Everyone wins. I gave one of these tote bags to Darren's sister for her birthday recently and she loves it. She's already used it too.
Here's one final example to seal the deal -
I love making jam. I also love eating it because it tastes so much better than anything I can buy. I also know exactly what's in it. If I make raspberry jam using our own home grown berries and lemon juice from our own lemons, the only cost is sugar. I have a few friends and family members saving jars for me, so no cost there. When I make a batch of raspberry jam, I might use one kilo of sugar ( for example ) which cost less than $1 That batch might yield 10 jars of delicious jam. If I put a retail price of $3 on each jar ( they are small / medium jars ) then the total retail value is $30, yet they only cost me $1 to make. I could be technical and add in the cost of the gas to cook the jam. I give lots of jars of jam as presents so each time I give one, I take $3 of of the present budget and put it into my food budget
You could use this idea for all sorts of presents. If you take cuttings of plants or grow seedlings from seeds, they make wonderful presents. Put a retail value on them and boost your gardening budget as well as saving a little money on presents.
Make some cards and give them in packs of ten wrapped on cellophane with a ribbon. Put a retail value on it and boost your craft budget.
Make soap, wrap it in tissue paper or cellophane with a ribbon. Put a retail value on it and boost your toiletry / make up budget. Or boost your food budget (wherever you took the money from to buy the ingredients ).
Yes you are still spending money at the shops. You are still helping businesses but you are not giving all of your hard earned money to make the rich richer.