About three or four times a year Michaels comes out with some INCREDIBLE coupons. It is during these times that I stock up on 'gift' items. I usually purchase lamination machines or bead kits or scrapbook kits that are normally $50+ for half that, sometimes less. I then stockpile these items in my closet for those occasions when I'm in dire need of a special gift for a special person but I'm in between paychecks or I just plum forgot. I also pick these particular items on Black Friday (capitalized due to the fact that Black Friday is a holiday unto itself at my house) with coupons and deep discounts. While everyone is scampering for the large ticket items to buy for themselves, I'm picking items under $100 to stock up for others. If you haven't enjoyed the crazed frenzy of a Black Friday, you really MUST pencil yourself in for this year. There's nothing in the world like Black Friday! LOL.
I also recycle wrapping paper. As with the gift pictured here, I keep wrapping papers to reuse. Whether it be for wrapping another gift or for matting a picture on a scrapbook page, my recycled papers come in handy and help to pinch those pennies.
My final money saver is my Cricut. I know that sounds weird, but the gift tag pictured above also doubled as my birthday card and got the most attention at the birthday party I just attended. I used my Cricut, my Hello Kitty Greetings cartridge, scrap cardstock from my "scraps" bin and my Xyron sticker maker. Again, stuff like this sure comes in handy when you're in between paychecks. I set my size on 2" and cut "Happy Birthday" in the pink, I then chose the shadow option and cut the shadow for "Happy Birthday" in the pink and dark brown. I glued those two pieces together using the Xyron Sticker maker. The dark side would be the matte for "Happy Birthday" and the pink side is where I wrote my own personal message to the birthday girl. Finally, I selected the option to cut each individual letter of "Happy Birthday" and cut it in dark pink. I glued those letters on, punched a hole, threaded the ribbon through the hole and I was done. Complete card in 15 minutes! Thank goodness, because I just didn't have the cash to run out and buy a greeting card and gift tag. My Cricut has saved me a ton of money as time has gone by with cards and gifts and will continue to save me even more money the longer I use it. Here is a Christmas gift that I made last year...
This project was done by cutting out the lettering in vinyl and then using it as a stencil for glass paint. I then applied a clear sealer and baked to seal the paint and make the mug dishwasher safe. I was able to create multiple personalized mugs for under $20 and I STILL have supplies left for this year. SOOOO FUN! Here's to pinching pennies in the most heart-felt way! :)
For more great project ideas, check out http://cuttingabove.blogspot.com/
*** I got a TON of pull bows (like the one pictured on the gift) REALLY cheap at http://mygirlfriendshouse.com/. I don't know if they still carry that particular style/color, but I wanted to post the link.