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Super Stretcher – Creative Gift Giving That Won’t Break the Bank

Gift Giving

Gift giving on a restricted budget doesn’t have to be stressful – not when you embrace it from the perspective of creativity. Here are three ideas for memorable gifts that won’t break the bank!

Potted pleasureGift Giving

What if you knew you could create 15 gorgeous gifts for just $60 (that’s $4 a gift), and what’s more, they’ll be a pleasure to shop for! That’s the opportunity awaiting you when gifting living, potted plants. To get started, head to your local op-shop or recycling centre for 15 planters – terracotta always scrubs up well, as do bright ceramic or plastic pots. While you’re at it, look around for wrapping paper and ribbon.

Next, you’re off to the garden centre for a budget 20 litre bag of potting mix and 3 punnets of healthy seedlings. Choose fuss-free annuals which will spread, sprawl and burst with colour (think: petunias, impatiens and begonias). If you have barbecue fanatics in the family, choose herb seedlings to complement a grill (think: marjoram, rosemary and thyme). Children will love cacti, succulents and strawberries.

Back at home, clean up your pots, fill with potting mix, plant and nurture (Google plant care information to match your seedlings). Work at least 3-4 weeks ahead of time, and your living gift will be at its best by the time you’re ready to wrap it  and tie off the ribbon! If you bought the same gift from a garden centre, it would cost upwards of $15 – $20.

Cooking up a storm

Who doesn’t love a new kitchen cooking appliance – especially when the ingredients come with it! Visit an op-shop, and you’ll be astonished at how inexpensive electrical appliances are. Pick up a few fun ones such as muffin, waffle, crepe and popcorn makers or slow cookers (note: electrical goods cannot be sold, secondhand, unless certified as safe but always do your homework by double checking with the store). If the appliances are not already spick and span, polish them up inside and out, but don’t be concerned with the odd ding or scratch – recycled goods are now accepted as the best sort to give!

Next, research some recipes to accompany your appliance, and hand write two or three onto pretty card. Better still, if you have some family favourite recipes that may suit, choose these! Punch a hole in the corner of the recipe card, and attach it to the appliance with ribbon.

Create a shopping list based on your recipes, then head to he supermarket for zip-lock bags and non-perishable ingredients (if fresh ingredients are required, purchase a supermarket voucher, instead). Pop ingredients into labelled ziplock bags. Wrap the appliance and the ingredients together, and you’re gift is ready to give!

FramedBudget friendly gifts

Personalised gifts, such as framed family photos, speak volumes, and photo frames come for next to nothing at op-shops. Before you head out to hunt down a few frames, choose the photos you want to give so you know the size of frame you’re looking for. Stop in at a stationery outlet for a glue stick and a pack of coloured card to back the photos. Back home, cut your card to fit the frame, and attach the photo to it, using your glue stick. If the frames are looking a little jaded, remove the glass, then freshen up the wood or plastic with a coat of acrylic paint (paint is often given away, free, at recycling centres or you could purchase a small test pot). Assemble your gift and be sure to attach a hanger if it doesn’t already have one, then wrap!

Gift-giving isn’t about the cost of an article. It’s about the love, care and creativity that goes into it, and a personalised gift which show’s you’ve taken time to think ahead, will be treasured forever!