Take another look at that empty bottle of Martinelli’s and think how much you can save!

DIY gifts

5 DIY Gift Ideas to Save Money this Giving Season

The holiday season may be the time for spreading cheer, but it also can often be the most bank-breaking time of the year.

Not only are you more likely to combat gloomy winter nights by socializing more, but you also have to participate in holiday gift exchanges, donation drives, and family gift giving. But fear not. You don’t have to blow all of your savings before the new year as long as you’re a little bit savvy about how you approach the gifting season.

Below, we give you five examples of dirt-cheap holiday gifts for your friends and family to help lighten your load:

Bottle Vases

Refurbishing old glass bottles isn’t just a stellar gift idea – it’s also great for the environment. Take your favorite bottles and turn them into beautiful vases, paperweights, or decorative pieces.

The best part about this DIY project is how easy it is – you can paint bottles, adorn them with fabrics like lace, or even add personal touches like photos. There are countless how-tos on Pinterest to check out if you’re in need of inspiration!

Mason Jar Candles

Making homemade wax might sound daunting, but there is an infinite number of recipes available to you online, most of which include basic ingredients that you likely already have lying around your kitchen.

Once you’ve created the candle, you can use an old mason jar to complete the look. (Maybe this can be a post-spaghetti dinner event.) My favorite homemade candle recipe is this lavender rosemary one.  

Picture Frames

This one’s a classic, and guaranteed to tug on the heartstrings of whoever you’re making the gift for. The best way to put a unique spin on a classic gift is to create a frame that’s as special as the picture it holds.

Consider buying a cheap, plain frame from Ikea or Target and decorate your frame in the best way you can (it helps if you’ve a bit of art in you). You could sponge paint it, or write a personalized message with a sharpie. The gift is foolproof because of the sentiment – along with your added creativity – it will go a long way.

Homemade Spice Packets

An increasingly popular party favor and DIY gift is a homemade spice recipe. You can make anything from a chili-spice packet to a barbeque rub, then package it in a container like a mason jar or a satchel so that it turns into a great gift for your friends and family.

Ok, maybe not quite like this, but you get the idea.

The next time they make chili or host a barbeque, they can use your packet and think of you!  You can find recipes online for whatever spice blend you want to create, and then customize the gift with ribbon, personalized messages, or decorations.

Homemade Coupon Book

This is my personal favorite, but be warned – it’s usually only appropriate to give to loved ones or very close friends. Instead of buying them a gift card or a voucher, you can fill a scrapbook or a binder with homemade coupons, such as “One free movie night.”

Not only is this a fun, cheap way to get your creative juices flowing, but it also sets you and your friend or loved one up to plan a bunch of fun activities in the future.

For more from author Caroline Burke, click here