Frugal Moms – give this list to anyone planning on getting you gifts for Christmas! Or use it as a starter list for yourself. These are some ideas for gifts that have long-lasting or money-saving value.
Here are six, in order from cheapest to most expensive:
1. Free night of babysitting.
Moms (and dads) NEED this. I think my husband and I have had one “date” – just the two of us – in the last 5 years. This is because we have no family nearby and spend plenty on babysitting for when we really need it (those occasional extra work obligations and such). Single moms need a night off, too – if not more! Time with friends or family, not having to worry about the kids getting into trouble around you, is precious, especially if that time doesn’t have to cost anything.
2. Coupon book.
The Twin Cities 2013 Entertainment book is available online for 20% off ($28) and with free shipping, and the 2013 Chinook book is available online for $20. (The Chinook book is full of local earth-friendly, organic, health-conscious deals to encourage supporting such local businesses.) Or, find a friend or organization selling copies as a fundraiser for their cause. I would never buy a coupon book. Coupons are available for free everywhere, but if I received one as a gift, I’d have fun picking out and using the best deals in it, especially those for vendors I’d give my business to anyway. There ARE great coupons in these books, and they’re a lot of fun to browse through and use!
3. Slow cooker.
If you don’t already have one, ask for a large, 5-quart programmable slow cooker. I got one for only $10 last Christmas from Herberger’s using a rebate (check the Black Friday sales!). I have used it so much and couldn’t imagine being without one! Throw in a few ingredients, set it to low for a set number of hours, and dinner’s ready when you are! Meat is tender and great for little kids to chew, and clean up is quick and easy. The slow cooker has to be the best kitchen invention for us busy moms! Add in a great cookbook that I got a few months ago and LOVE called “The Busy Mom’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Jyl Steinback, available on amazon.com.
4. Gift certificate for a massage.
I mentioned in another post that I get a massage regularly and it helps so much. The tension builds in my shoulders and back soooo bad from daily life, dealing with child messes and spills, sibling fights, and never getting enough rest. Deals for massages are always available on sites like groupon.com or livingsocial.com. Otherwise, I recommend Katie Showmaker, LMT, who does my massages at my workplace. (As of 2012) She charges $1 a minute and does a GREAT job. Her phone number is 612-916-0403.
5. Prepaid pass card for a local gym or community center with a fitness area.
Like many other moms, I don’t have a gym membership for two reasons – 1) too expensive and, 2) I can’t commit to a set workout schedule. So some kind of card with a set number of visits that I use up, one by one, would allow me to go occasionally when I can but not lose me money.
Plus, I read that the percentage of people with gym memberships who don’t use them is a staggering 67%!!! Don’t buy someone a pricey gym membership that would likely go mostly to waste if you can buy them a pass card! Unfortunately, gyms like the YMCA do not offer options for a one-time visit or set number of visits due to their child care center offering limited spaces (members, of course, get priority), so I’ve found that community centers are the best options for buying prepaid passes.
6. Upscale expresso maker.
For those of us who LOVE good coffee and don’t want to go broke buying Caribou and Starbucks coffee all the time (though it’s tempting), a pricier but high quality expresso machine can be very appreciated and useful. I have never gotten great coffee from my Black & Decker coffee maker, and I have a cappuccino machine that makes a great frothy drink, but I think I speak for many frugal moms that a fancy Expresso machine that makes coffee drinks comparable to coffee shop drinks would be a PRIZED gift!