Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Teen Corner: How to Survive the Holidays on a Teen's Budget

Our guest blogger today is Brittany, my 18 year old daughter.  For a brief introduction, Brittany is a senior in high school and is active in the chorus and Beta club.  She plays the guitar and enjoys photography.  Brittany actually provides most of the photos that I use on the blog. 

Hello! We've got a new twist on today's blog entry, as I (Brittany!) am writing this entry in place of my mom who normally runs this site. She asked me to talk to you guys today because let's face it- Christmas is a fun and wonderful time for everyone but it can also be extremely stressful, especially for those of us who are shopping on a tight budget. I know that many teens are stuck in a similar situation that I am during the holiday season: we don't have enough time to work a part time job because of school or extracurricular activities so we're short on money, but we still desperately want to give awesome gifts to our friends and family. Giving gifts has been my favorite part of the holiday season for a long time (as those of you who read last Thursday's blog probably figured out), so over the past few years I've discovered some great ways to survive Christmas time on a tight budget without breaking your bank.

The best gifts are thoughtful and homemade.
This may seem like a cliché, but its absolutely true.  These are great because you don't have to be super artsy or creative to be able to make amazing and memorable gifts and most of them cost around $10 or less to make.  The internet is a wonderful resource for craft and gift ideas. My biggest piece of advice is to make your gift personal and meaningful. My best friend is in love with giraffes, so last year I found a tutorial online and built her paper maché giraffe statue.  She LOVED it!

My favorite homemade gift ideas are: Custom designed calendars (these are wonderful because you can print many copies fairly inexpensively and give them to your whole family!), completed scrapbooks, photo albums, baked good platters (who doesn't love cookies?), snow globes, homemade candles, personalized pillows, and homemade blankets (these are super easy!).

Resources: is a great source for craft ideas and instructions. 
                    Walgreens has great deals on custom calendars and is easy to use.
                    An easy tutorial for homemade no-sew blankets: blanket tutorial video

If you're going to buy, shop at discount stores.
 TJ Maxx and Ross are both great stores to find discount designer items for a mother or girlfriend. Look around at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army as well. Those stores can be hit or miss, but its really exciting when you do find a great gift and its only around $5!

Give favors rather than things.
If you really don't have much cash to spare during the holiday season, you can always give people favors as gifts. One of my favorite gifts I used to give my parents was a "coupon" book.  It was basically a book full of cards with "redeemable" favors written on them. You can offer free babysitting, carwashes, dish duty, house cleaning, anything that you would normally complain about doing. I know my parents really appreciated these.

I hope this helps you guys have a fun and stress-free holiday season. Have fun with your gifts! Merry Christmas :)


  1. To be able to save, I will do homemade stuff this Christmas. I usually buy stuff but this is a good idea, not just you are able to save but mostly, the gifts will have personal touch.

  2. @Insulation Sales: I love gifts that have a personal touch. Let us know what gift ideas you come up with.

  3. I dream of the day my boys will give me a coupon book of things they'll do for me! Admittedly, they are only 10 and 7 right now. Signs are good, though, when I think about the times they make me a cup of tea or try to help out in other ways!

  4. @Suzanne -- They'll come around. Just drop a hint or two and you could be one pampered Mommy!

  5. So nice to hear from you Britanny, I love your ideas!! Our favorite is making Christmas decorations. Thank you for the resources, we will be sure to check them out. Happy holiday!

  6. This is super awesome. I love that your daughter guest posted on your site. She has some really great ideas as well.

    I think i will try to have my sister post on mine.