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The Frugal Gift Box

By Cyndi Roberts

Gift-giving occasions occur with almost mind-boggling frequency--

especially when you have children at home. Friends' birthday parties,

parents' birthdays, bby and wedding showers, Mother's Day,

Father's Day--the costs can become quite a burden. However, a bit

of organization and creativity can make these times a bit less

painful financially.

Some people find it very helpful to keep a calendar located in a

convenient place and mark all the year's special days on it. Then

at the beginning of any given month, you can see at a glance

the gifts you are going to require.

The key is to be aware of what gifts you'll be needing and to get

prepared, instead of waiting till the last minute and running out and

buying whatever you can find regardless of price.

Once you can remember "when" to give gifts, the next problem that

comes up is "what" to give. That's where the Frugal Gift Box can

help. Designate a spot, whether it's a shelf in the closet, a box,

or storage bin in the garage, to keep all your gifts together.

Throughout the year, watch the clearance sales, garage and yard

sales, thrift stores, etc. for items suitable for gift-giving. One of

my best buys in the past was a brand-new, still in the package,

set of American Girl books bought at a garage sale for pennies.

I saved it till our granddaughter got old enough and now she's about

to get it for her 8th birthday next month.

When my children were young and going to birthday parties every

week, it seemed, I kept a watch on clearance sales and when I

saw something that was age and gender appropriate for one of

mine, I figured their friends would like it, too, so into the Gift Box

it would go. I tried to keep at least one gift for each child on hand

at all times.

It's a good idea to keep a list of the Christmas and birthday gifts

you will need for your immediate family. I keep a list in my purse

and it is always with me. That way when I buy a gift I can add it

immediately. It's also good for reminding me of what I already

have on hand.

Last, here's a gift idea sent by a newsletter subscriber, Gina.

It's a great craft project...make several and keep them in your

gift box ready for mom's or sister's birthday!


Basically this is an pillow filled with rice and herbs, you put it in

the microwave for 2 minutes or less for warmth and heat, or throw it

in the freezer to ease injuries, or for headaches.

You can use scrap fabric... use large scraps for larger herbal cozies

(for the back, legs, etc.) and smaller scrap pieces for a small one

that you can use on the forehead or on the eyes, to sooth eyestrain

and headache.

I sew 'channels' in mine, by sewing a line every two inches, and

feeling each pocket - so everything stays in the right place, but

that's optional. They can be as simple as a 'pillow' type.

Fill them with rice and herbs. You only need 1 part herb to 5-10

part rice, depending on how strong you want them.

Herbs you can fill them with:

mint - clears sinuses, good for headache

chamomile - eases tension, relaxes

cloves - muscle pain

rosemary - relaxes, muscle pain

lavender - ease tension, relaxes, soothes, good for headache

ginger - soothing, good for muscle pain

cedar shavings - eases aching muscles

Herbs are VERY cheap bought in bulk, or you can use

your dried, homegrown, or even cut open teabags.

About The Author

Helping you live the good life...on a budget!

Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another"

bi-weekly e-newsletter and founder of the website of the same name.

Visit to find creative tips, articles, and a free e-cooking book. Subscribe to the e-newsletter and receive the free e-course "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill".

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