At the beginning of each month I write down my projected expenses for the next 30 days. Each month I plan a budget for at least one birthday party I need to go to, and the projected expense for that particular event varies, depending on how close I am to the person who’s celebrating.
Now, there are several months in a year when I have 2 or more birthday parties coming up.
So, how to stretch your monthly salary throughout the month, not going broke with the fantastic gifts, and still not be ashamed of what you picked up for a present?
I’ll share with you 3 birthday presents I made myself (in one case with the help of friends). Maybe these examples will answer my earlier question and give you some ideas how you can save money on buying presents, and still come up with unique and amazing gifts.
Gift # 1 – a tape
This was 10 years ago, it was my best friend’s birthday. She’s known for enjoying hearing about herself more than an average person. So, a few months before her birthday I started carrying around my recording device and an empty tape with me. Whenever I met up with mutual friends, I’d ask them to comment on my best friend. I made a list of 10 funny questions, and people got very creative with answers. The whole tape is a treat to listen to, full of hilarious accounts, interesting insights into my friend’s behaviour, and she’s never been happier about a birthday gift. I can’t remember how much the tape cost then, but I’m sure it wasn’t over a dollar or two.
If you want to surprise your friend with a similar gift, you can collect photos throughout the years you spent together, and make a little book in pictures, inventing funny lines to go with each photo. You can make it a comedy, or even a thriller/horror story.
GIft # 2 – “goth” necklace
Another friend of mine was goth in college. She loved fashion and all sorts of accessories. I made her a really interesting necklace. I used a black pantyhose lace, a black plastic flower from a cheap earring I never wore, and an Egyptian symbol “ankh” that fell off my keychain. With the help of glue and thread and needle, I put together a really funky fashion detail for the birthday girl.
Gift # 3 – a box full of memories
For my boyfriend’s birthday I put together a real treasure box. I used an ordinary shoe box that I decorated nicely using my drawings and shiny chocolate paper. I filled it with: used plane tickets to Greece, to remind him of the romantic time we had there, a mix CD with our favorite songs, funny photos, a box of small screws and bolts (he loves making small figures out of screws), a story by his favorite author cut out of The New Yorker, his favorite chocolate bar, a voice modulator toy I found at a garage sale, and many more trinkets that took him half an hour to go through and laugh his eyes out.
If you had to chose between a gift from a store, or a memory box/an hour of listening to funny comments about you from your friends, what would you chose?
Allison Moody is a writer and entrepreneur who recently created a great online application, Labeley, for creating beverage labels You can check it out and create labels online for free.