Thursday, June 11, 2009

Homemade is the New Hallmark

With Father's Day around the corner and birthday and barbecue invites piling in, costs associated with adoration of friends and family can wreck havoc on a Recessionista's budget. Instead of running out to Hallmark for a series of cards (running $2-6 a piece!) or purchasing a pricey bottle of Kettle One to bring to a Barbecue, consider homemade (and more meaningful) alternatives. Here are a few ideas:

1. Write a Letter. Your dad, your step dad, your grandfather, or whatever inspirational male figure has guided you through the years deserves a little celebration this June. Take a few minutes to think about what that special person has brought to you and jot those thoughts on paper (it does not have to be from Papyrus). No one expects you to be Shakespearean, but sincerity goes a long way.

2. Channel "Top Chef". Even if you abhor kitchen time, it is likely more economical to bring a dish to pass to the BBQ, rather than purchasing expensive alcohol or a platter to share. One savvy Recessionista I know puts together dishes to pass based on left overs in her refrigerator, and they are always big hits at parties (think Tuna Salad with almonds and white grapes or mini grilled-cheese sandwiches made with brie). Be resourceful and creative and you will save mucho dinero.

3. Gifts from the Heart. All of the best gifts I have received in my life have come with little or no monetary value associated with them (to my ex-boyfriends - this in no way means I do not continue to love the Prada handbags!) Recently, a friend greeted me at happy hour with a used book I adore. My sister crafted a jewelry box out of stained glass over fifteen years ago that is still on display in my apartment. Putting your resources and talents to use in order to create something memorable and special for a loved one will save you money and better express your appreciation for them. Also, there is the ever-reliable homemade "coupon book" if you get desperate - get witty and creative with this classic!

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