Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Eat from the Pantry Inspiration: Creative Birthday Gifts

Since we're doing the Eat from the Pantry challenge this month, I was inspired to try to keep my January birthday giving under control. You see, I really like to give gifts and especially to wrap them! I have a thing for pretty paper and fabric ribbon. But alas, I digress.

Four of my closest friends have January birthdays, of course right after the expensive gift giving month of December. I usually like to spend around $25 per person on gifts and/or outings. But this year I set a goal to do the unthinkable - reduce my gift spending for this month to at least 60%, or $60.

I'm happy to say that I am on target to beat my goal! Here's a breakdown.

For friend #1, I brainstormed over and over and finally decided to make her a "breakfast in bed" package to deliver on her doorstep the morning of her birthday. She lives nearby and I coordinated via email with her husband so he'd know to pick up the gift bag from their doorstep at 8:30 am. I used food items I already had in the house and made a 9x9 egg casserole, banana chocolate chip muffins, and threw in a half dozen clementines. She has 4 people in her family, so I factored that in. I also wrote out a nice birthday card that I got free at Hallmark on coupons in December and threw in a nicely wrapped gift that I already had in the house. I count this a $0 gift because I used items I already in the house, things that did not come out of our "gift budget." Voila!

Friend #2 lives out of state. I spent $10 on her gift & card and $7.50 on shipping.
TOTAL: $17.50

Friend #3 lives out of town, but we met for lunch by driving 2 hours to meet in the middle. I spent $7 on her gift, and we used free birthday entree coupons to get our lunches free. I think we paid $3 each to cover the kids meal our kids split + tip. I'll add $20 for gas.
TOTAL: $30

I will treat Friend #4 to lunch at Chick-fil-a, using whatever Chick-fil-a calendar coupons work for that meal. I plan to spend no more than $10 on lunch for both of us, but it will probably be more like $5.
TOTAL: $10

And the grand total for my 4 dear friends' January birthdays?

Setting small goals for myself like this makes saving money more palatable. I'm also enjoying the extra challenge when it comes to creativity.

What ideas do you have for saving on birthdays? Leave us a comment to fill us in.
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