Friday, March 5, 2010

Gifts on the Cheap...I Mean Frugal

Tonight The Big Guy and I stopped at Menards (a Home Depot-like store here in the mid-west) because we wanted to pick up a birthday gift. We were on a date...don't you always go to the hardware store on a date? We bought a great 20 inch hand saw and MADE $7.45! Yep, we made money buying a gift.

Here's how:

The saw cost $10.55 with tax. I had a $8.00 merchandise credit or rebate from a previous deal. When we applied the credit, we paid $2.55 for the saw. However, the saw was a rebate item and we'll be getting another merchandise credit for $10.00. So, we made $7.45! There is a little bit of paperwork involved, but it is worth it.

Here's why:

Having 5 children, 9 nieces and nephews and 2 god daughters (not to mention my children's friends) means that we give lots of gifts each year. I love coming up with gifts they, hopefully, enjoy. However, because we do our best to live within our means, I don't have a great deal to spend on gifts. What I can't spend in money, I try to make up for in creativity and thoughtfulness. Hopefully, none of the above gift receivers read this and protest. I may come up short at times, but it isn't for lack of trying.

One of my favorite things to give our kids are gifts they can use both now and later. (My friend, Lisa, my creative Mom hero, gave me this great idea years ago.) Starting at age four, we give each of our sons a tool and each of our daughters a kitchen "tool." I use the quotes because some people don't consider them tools - they're wrong!

So, when our first son turned four, he received a REAL toolbox - the kind that men walk out of Home Depot with. It was a load for him to carry but he loved it. He also got a tape measure that year. The next year he got a hammer and some nails. The following year he was the recipient of a saw. And so on...

When our first daughter turned four, she received a Rubbermaid container and some rubber spatulas and wooden spoons. The next year we have her measuring cups and spoons. You get the idea.

The purpose of these gifts are two-fold. First of all, they give our kids a chance to do some real work while they are young. They learn useful skills and have fun doing it. These gifts also give The Big Guy and I the opportunity to spend time teaching them to use these gifts. Second, when our kids leave home, they will hopefully have a box of tools they can use to take care of themselves and their families.

I appreciate these gifts for a number of reasons. They don't cost an arm and a leg and keep us within our gift budget. I love seeing what my children can do with their tools. They are very proud! These gifts don't clutter our home with toys that make noise, have lots of small pieces or get lost over time. I also don't have to spend lots of time thinking about what to get them - it's all planned out for 14 years.

We do get our kids another gift to go along with the tools, but they really do like the tools.

I like the thought of one of my sons reaching into his toolbox when he is 25 and taking out the hammer we bought for him. The thought of one of our daughters using her tools to make a great meal for those she loves makes me happy. We pray they can use these simple gifts to bless others!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the "tools" idea :) Very creative! It is so much wiser to invest in something that they can use for a lifetime, instead of wasting your money on some cheap little toy that will be sent to the yard sale pile in very short time!