Not sure if it’s a sign of the times but this year I had a tough time narrowing down the best budget friendly gifts to make it to this list. I’ll admit, I just couldn’t limit it to the usual dozen This year there will be more than one guide. There will also be some mentioned in the BSG newsletter. There will also be a stuffing stocker guide. And as the gift ideas are still rolling in, I might put them on Twitter too.
So how did I pick this year’s lists? One they had to be under $100. Any company willing to offer you guys a discount were included. And third, as I like to promote entrepreneurship, many of these gifts were from companies that are just getting launched. In these tough times, let’s give them a hand if we can.
Okay, let’s getting rolling…
A Cook Book for Everyone
Taste of Home, #1 cooking magazine in the country has published The Taste of Home Cookbook, Cooks Who Care edition, filled with good food and good stories and packed with delicious budget-friendly recipes that use everyday ingredients, so you won’t break the bank to make a mouth-watering meal. The Taste of Home Cookbook not only has 1,300 plus recipes, but features 21 heart-warming stories of people helping others through food-related efforts. When you buy the cookbook you also get access to exclusive bonus web content of 349 additional recipes; 30 how-to videos demonstrating specific techniques or recipes; and community boards that allow visitors to share their own Cooks Who Care stories. I got to preview this cookbook, it’s beautiful and, well, I think it will become a favorite on my shelf. And did I mention that you also get a free year’s subscription to Taste of Home magazine too? Price $29.95. www.tasteofhome.com
The Eat Cleaner Ensemble
I love any gift that gives you more than one item for your money and this one fits the bill. The recipient even gets a year’s subscription to a magazine. The Eat Cleaner set includes-
•4 oz. all natural concentrate of Eat Cleaner — a revolutionary wash that rids foods of harmful pesticides, wax and bacteria — it’s odorless, colorless, tasteless and has the added benefit of keeping fruits and vegetable from browning
•Scrub brush for produce
•Bright Green salad spinner that doubles as a serving or storage bowl.
•One year subscription to Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine
•This Wash and Dryer Kit is available at www.eatcleaner.com for only $22.00 and includes free shipping.
Something for The Teenage Girls
There’s something else teenage girls love…besides the Twilight books and movies and that’s beautiful skin. Check out the Good For You Girls® 100% Natural Skin Care for Tweens
Price range: $13.99 to $24.99.
They sell a kit $24.99 that contains everything a girl needs to start a healthy skin care routine including 100% natural Gel Cleanser, Refreshing Toner and Oil Free Moisturizer. Created with only the purest, natural and organic ingredients that are effective and safe for young skin, all Good For You Girls products are free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulfates, synthetics, phthalates, dyes and irritants. And they are vegan-approved and cruelty free. www.goodforyougirls.com
Don’t Keep Giving Money to the Coffee Shop
Okay, some people are going to hate me, but I’m always amazed how many people sit in line at the drive through at my local coffee store. Buy this next gift for someone, add a package of coffee and look how much money they can save in 2010. It’s a heated mug that you can take with you. Plug the heater mug’s power cord into a computer’s USB port or vehicle’s 12V DC power outlet and beverage stays warm indefinitely. http://cableorganizer.com/outlet/EFL-1421000.html $21.20
Goodies for the Holidays
No holiday would be complete without some sweet treats. These cookies called Chip’netzel and are made from pretzels and potato chips and covered in white or dark chocolate. The company sent me two boxes to sample. They’re delicious, not too sweet and yes, only a few are left! An extra hour on the treadmill for me this week. The cookies come in a signature tin or gift box for around $25 plus shipping and handling. Check them out at www.sarasnacker.com
You’re heard of the BOGO now there’s the GOGO.
Just in time for the holidays, CVS and The Container Store are offering GOGOs (Give One, Get One) on their online gift cards. For instance, when you purchase $100 in eGift Cards at The Container Store, a $25 gift card is added to your cart. Use it for yourself or as another “free” gift for someone on your list. It’s a great way to check off some folks on your holiday shopping list and get a little something extra in return! And CVS is giving $5 back on every $25 card purchased – another great way to save this holiday season.
You know I like to pass along info about anything you can get for free. If you have a college student on your list, here’s something to tell them about. It’s Scitable, a free online science resource for college students that is poised to replace textbooks as we know them. It’s simple, free, and fun – so give the gift of education, just sign up for your free membership to the site, log on and join the millions of other students/parents/knowledge-seekers out there searching for more than books can provide. Scitable is the place where education meets social media – students, educators, parents and scientists come together to ask questions, give answers and can research from over 30 different Nature journals, as well as newly-authored, peer-reviewed articles from members of its staff. www.nature.com/scitable
An Alternative To Credit Cards
Many people say they would buy more gifts online but hate using their credit card. If that’s you, try ebillme. www.Shop.eBillme.com It’s offered by over 800 online retails sites including Sears and K-Mart. Check out their Black Friday site where they’re featuring gift ideas and discounts when you pay with cash instead of credit. (That’s a great way to keep tracking of your spending and keep your budget on track too).
There are also coupon codes for some specific product discounts http://shop.ebillme.com/occasions/black-friday/coupons/
If there’s a party in your future this holiday season, you might want to use a Sterno’s buffet kit to keep the food warm while you enjoy the festivities. Sterno’s buffet kits are ideal for both indoor and outdoor entertaining. The kits include a newly designed folding rack for easy storage, standard size pans so the rack can be used over and over again, a water pan to keep food temperatures and textures uniform. Each kit also comes with Sterno’s patented gel fuel which is known as the high-quality, safe and reliable heating solution.
And here’s the good news, the company will give away full size kits to four lucky readers. The company can only ship them to an address in the US, so this is for US residents only. The first four people who leave a tip about ways to save money during the holidays…or you can e-mail them to me as well, wins one of these kits. Good luck everyone!
Sterno’s half-size buffet kit will be available at Wal-Mart stores beginning September 2009. The full-size kits will be sold at regional retailers. The suggested retail prices for these reusable and portable buffet kits are $15.99 to $19.99 (full-size) and $9.99 to $12.99 (half-size). www.sterno.com
For the Little One
I was sent a whole bunch of ideas for young children, but this one won me over. It’s under $20 and I hope you think it’s as cute as I do. www.leapfrog.com
My Pal Scout and My Pal Violet
Age 6 months+
Jewelry That Won’t Break the Bank
Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend but not when you have to mortgage your house to pay for them. Paula Huckabay is the designer/owner of http://www.pacificjewelrydesigns.com. Many of her necklaces and earrings are in the $20-25. She wanted me to tell you that each piece is jewelry is always gift boxed ready for gift giving and insured shipping is always free in the US.
Have someone on the list who loves to knit, or maybe used to like to knit but they have arthritis or can’t find the time to knit with regular needles. Here’s something that’s perfect. The Knifty Knitter. The company sent me some samples and while I haven’t tried them yet, I can’t wait to get started on a project this weekend. They sent a few photos of projects you can make with their products. I’m thinking even if you don’t buy one for a friend or family member, get one for yourself, make some hats, scarves, whatever and sell them on sites like Etsy.
The Knifty Knitter line is available at a lot of different places, including Toys R Us, Amazon, Wal-Mart and others.
http://www.provocraft.com/products/index.products.php?cl=knifty%20knitter has some useful information, including the different looms as well as some projects. Under $20
For the Photographer
I’m guessing you have at least one budding photographer on your list this year. Here’s a product called LightScoop. which is for anyone who has a dSLR camera – Canon or Nikon – and wants a lightweight, convenient, inexpensive gadget that easily creates pro-quality for indoor photos…yes, no more red eyes! It costs just $35 and more information can be found at www.lightscoop.com
Bags for Everyone
Don’t know about you, but sometimes I go through a bag or two a year. I was happy to hear about this company, Ecogear www.ecogear-products.com that sell eco friendly bags of all kinds at prices that won’t break the bank. Ecogear bags are made from special materials including Ecoweave (Ecogear’s patented PVC-free, harm-free coating), sustainable components, such as natural canvas, and toxic-free dyes.
They retail from $29-49.
Help Our Four Legged Friends
You know I love helping charities, here’s a press release I received and promised that I’d pass it along to you-
In addition to the festive gift ideas for the holidays, there is another way to get into the spirit of giving this season.
On Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season, shoppers can help needy pets by shopping online with major retailers including Macy’s, Amazon, Zales, Walmart and iTunes. Consumers can log on to these retail sites through www.BringPetsHome.org and a portion of the purchase (amount varies by retailer) is automatically donated to shelters nationally or locally, at no additional cost to the shopper.
Additionally, one shopper will be selected and have $5,000 donated to the shelter of their choice and s/he will also win a $5,000 online shopping spree, courtesy of Intervet Schering Plough Animal Health.
For more information visit http://www.bringpetshome.org/shop/shop.aspx.
That’s probably enough ideas for this first guide. I’ll try and post the second one on Friday. There’s more good stuff to tell you about and some discounts too. Take care and Happy Thanksgiving