Making dimes look like dollars...

Discussion in 'Budget & Bargains' started by AuntJamelle, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Was hoping to get some discussion going on how you clever ladies make things look like a million bucks - without spending it!


    For example, if I do a gift basket I am using:

    - A basket purchased for $0.25 or $0.50 at a garage sale

    - The filler is Easter “grass” purchased right after Easter for as little as $0.25 a bag

    (Note: Look for the paper crinkles in green, they look less "Eastery". Blue crinkles
    would work great for a winter/snowflake/Frozen theme gift basket. For that matter, a
    Frozen theme gift basket for a girl would look great with PINK crinkle paper filler!

    - Cellophane purchased for at least 50% off at day after Christmas sales

    - Wired Ribbon purchased the same way

    TIP: When you buy new Christmas light sets, save the extra long twist ties they package them with. These work GREAT for twisting around the "neck" of the gathered up cellophane of your basket. Once secure, you can then easily take your time tying on the ribbon and making your bow!

    What are some other ideas for making things POP for pennies???
  2. FrostyShimmer

    FrostyShimmer Well-Known Member

    Well, everyone here already knows, if you buy after the holidays, you can get some amazing deals, so I'd say I save about 75% off on average by using items purchased after the last holiday.

    Doing gift baskets, it's often worth splurging (yes, I'm on a tight enough budget to consider $1.00 splurging) on some really nice wired ribbon from the dollarstore to do a pretty bow. They look expensive if you take your time and tie it neatly, puffing out the middle.

    Another trick I've used for friends who are very brand-conscious, is to buy a small brand name item to put at the front of the basket. It makes it seem like the other stuff is higher end as well. For example, a little 2-piece Godiva truffle box at the front of a box with mugs, cocoa, biscotti, etc. If everything else is wrapped in gold, and the word GODIVA is visible at the front, it looks pricier.

    I've also done this to make up a Christmas morning basket. Everything inside was pretty generic, but I did splurge on one little bottle of Hickory Farms maple syrup to put at the very front, and then wrapped everything to match in red and gold. Topped with a gold bow, my basket looked like it cost a lot more than it did.

    I've reused baskets I've been given, found them on clearance after the holiday, and found them very cheap at Craft stores like Michaels. Another trick to remember is that a "basket" doesn't have to be done in a literal basket. A baby bathtub is great to hold items for a shower, a washtub for a housewarming, a toy dump truck with a lot of space in the back for a little boy, etc.

    I used to make baskets for a company when I was a teenager, and one of the first things I learned is that there is often very little in the baskets you pay a lot of money for. It's all about spreading the products out and filling the basket very high with raffia, Easter grass, etc. to make it look more full. Often, we rolled up a big plastic bag to put in the bottom of the basket before covering it with crinkled paper.

    Hmm...last thing I'd mention is that if you watch for coupons and deals, you can usually pick up some nice items for next to nothing. At Christmas, Glade had their $17 wax melt warmers on for $7, and I found a $7 coupon. Added them to many of my baskets, for free.
  3. missjane

    missjane Well-Known Member

    Like FS, I look for things on clearance. I shop for a lot of household decor items at Ross Dress for Less. I have gotten some quality bedding and clothing, too, from there. It's hit and miss. I scour clearance racks for everything (clothes, shoes, decor, food, etc.)

    Of course, one of my favorite places to go is Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity stores, too. And don't forget garage/rummage/yard sales. I'm always on the lookout for taking something and re-purposing it or using it in some unusual way.

    I look for inspiration on Pinterest and just the internet, in general. There are so many ideas out there of ways to use things in unique ways. No need to reinvent the wheel. Remember, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

    I think the most important thing is that if you're satisfied with how something looks and it reflects you and your taste, don't be afraid to do it that way.

    Hope we got a lot of feedback on this thread!
  4. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    This is a great thread ...

    I am doing more baskets and gift bags filled with goodies for gifts this year.

    Last month I picked up several things from bath and body works during their clearance sale (75% off) plus I was able to pair that with a $10 off coupon. I coupon a lot so I am always looking to pair coupons up with sale items. I have a coupon binder and I always take it with me so when I stop in the stores (walmart, grocery) I check out the clearance section. You never know if you will find something that can added to the gift baskets/bags.

    I printed off recipes for some sweet snacks and some savory snacks that I will make in bulk. I am big into canning and dehydrating ... the plan is to use my dehydrator to make large batches of jerky and dried fruit. Something new I want to try this year is dehydrating veggies that can be crushed up and added to mixes and rubs for the cooks in the family. All of these will be bagged in assorted Christmas themed plastic snack bags that I picked up on clearance after Christmas and will be tied off with ribbon that I also picked on clearance. All summer long we pick fruits that I use to make jams, fruit butters, pie filling and applesauce that get canned. Some of them will make their way into the baskets and gift bags. For the tops of the cans I use material that has been picked up on clearance or at yard sales. All are inexpensive things to fill up a basket with.

    The dollar store is a great place to pick up platters, tins, any Christmas themes plastic wraps, mugs, etc the day after Christmas.

    All this talk has got me excited for the holidays now :)
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  5. ejagno

    ejagno Well-Known Member

    Several years ago I bought myself a beautiful Christmas Cactus. I babied it and this plant exploded. I divided it into 6 more Red & Ivory pots that I bought on clearance after the gardening season was over the following year. I added some beautiful Christmas ribbon and everyone was ecstatic with their expensive plants. I added a beautiful card with care instructions, a small 2 x 3 Ziploc type bag with Osmocote fertilizer and a pair of cute gardening gloves.
  6. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    FrostyShimmer – Love the name brand item(s) front and center in a gift basket idea! So smart! And watching for coupon deals all year long is a GREAT way to beef up basket contents for cheap!

    Missjane – I’m not sure if we have a Ross around here, I think we might on the other side of town and I’ll have to check it out! They sound kind of a like a TJ Maxx? Totally agree on the garage sale type scene! You never know what you will find! And what was life like before Pinterest, right? So spoiled! I remember the days of magazine tearfiles and checking books out from the library to get ideas! Not that both of those things aren’t still good to do if you like, but it’s nice to have options!

    Minta – Bath and Body Works is a really good place to score deals with sales and coupons! That clearance sale is the BEST! Yankee Candle is another place that once in a while will have a killer deal with coupons! I try to keep an eye on the deals websites for those types of things. Hip2Save is one of my favorite ones.
    And the canning/dehydrating is another great way to add all sorts of quality items to gift baskets for pennies on the dollar! Have you priced some of those fancier jams, etc. at the store recently – it’s crazy! Love the material topper idea too – that is brilliant!

    Ejagno – Love the Christmas Cactus idea! How perfect is that??? Such a good idea!

    I just wanted to add that garage sales in general are a huge resource for holiday decorating and gift giving for me! You never know what you will find but I commonly found and snagged like new cookie tins, platters, mugs, etc.

    And I also commonly found craft supplies at garage sales which can then be used to craft various Christmas gifts.

    Sometimes you’ll even find canning jars! Another good way to get jars for cheap is Craigslist. If I have to buy them at the store I usually find the best deals at Rural King, Big Lots and Menards!

    One more idea – if you are a Sam’s Club/Cost Co shopper that ever gets those big plastic tubs of cookirs/cheese puffs, whatever – those empty plastic tubs – with labels removed – make great alternative gift baskets!

    Here is a link to an example – this one is full of Animal Crackers

    One cute idea I heard on the boards years ago was to fill a tub like that with cars and label it “Traffic Jam” :) But the sky is the limit with how you could fill one of those. Slippers and pampering stuff for a girlfriend and so on…
  7. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Bath and Body work is having a great deal today. All their hand soaps are $3 each plus there is a coupon on their website, $10 off when you spend $30 or more. I was able to get 10 bottles of the foaming hand soap for $20 and couple of them will be used in one of the baskets at Christmas.
  8. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    I love reading this thread! :)
  9. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Just noticed this thread!!
    I like to do "theme" gifts so some of the ideas on here are terrific.
    It is amazing what you can achieve for not a lot of money. You just need imagination and a bit of time.
  10. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    I've been researching the best ways to assemble gift baskets so they look nice. What I've found is basically this:

    - Use crumbed up newspaper or plastic grocery bags to fill bottoms of deep baskets then cover the top with you crinkle filler, etc.

    - Put larger items in back, smaller in front, layer things and hold together with tape. I use packing tape for a stronger hold myself. I make a "loop" of tape, sticky side out, and use to sandwich in between items for a hold that doesn't show.

    - Hide pieces of floral foam or just plain Styrofoam under the crinkle filler to have a place to stick in wooden skewers you've taped smaller items to for a showy presentation

    I found a couple of rolls of plain cellophane at Target at 70% off that I've tucked away for gift baskets this Christmas!

    I also think I could use the plain cello for both of these ideas:
  11. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    Great idea sfor Basket wrapping. tfs
  12. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    AJ, I like the idea of the little lollies in the plastic bags. This would look great with a lot of different packets arranged in a fun container.
  13. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    I was really excited to find that idea too! Can really be adapted for so many things - nuts, trail mix, chex mix, etc. And for more than just Christmas gift baskets too!

    That whole website is actually full of great ideas! I pinned a LOT!
  14. Christmaslvr

    Christmaslvr Active Member

    Loving this thread!!

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