Making gifts for people can be a great way to both do something personal for someone AND save a bunch of money. But all of those supplies add up, and it’s quite easy to get caught up in the experience and break the budget. Let’s break down the costs.
This year I made scented soy candles for family, friends, and people at work. On my shopping list, I had several pounds of soy wax, wicks, candle scents, candle dye, something to set the candles on, candle mold, non-stick spray, decorative items, and gift packaging. Overall, I spent around $10 per person.
The key to keeping the cost down is buying inexpensive packaging and buying as much as you can in bulk or on sale. Even though I was making several candles, I kept my costs down further by only buying one mold. It took a little more time, but I still got them all made in under a week. The decorative stuff is especially important to buy on sale. It’s very easy to get carried away. If you’re making salt scrub, for example, you need a container. Those can get expensive, but there are places online where you can buy them for under a dollar a piece, plus shipping, and the price per container still ends up coming out pretty good. One year I made candles and put them in glass containers that I got at Michael’s Craft Store for $1 a piece.
The next thing to do: shop around. Some things may be cheaper at Michaels, but other things might actually be cheaper at Hobby Lobby. For example, the soy wax was much cheaper at Hobby Lobby.
The best way to go about this without breaking your wallet is to have a plan. Know how many items you’re making BEFORE you shop, know what you will need by way of ingredients and supplies, and have a limit on how much you’re willing to spend. This helps you stay in check when you see something gorgeous at Hobby Lobby. And you will! There are a lot of crafting sites out there, it’s pretty easy to find ingredient estimations online.
Hobby Lobby is on my list of danger stores, and I was in there with someone who also has that store on their list. It’s really not a great combination as neither one of us are really good at telling the other one to put something back. But I had my list and only went about $3 over my limit after buying some shiny jewelry pieces that were 50% off. Go me!
To combat the desire to buy everything, I kept in mind that I had a budget, and I didn’t buy anything (except for those jewelry pieces) that wasn’t on the list. NOTHING. And that includes the trip I made to Michael’s afterwards. I was laser-focused on buying only the two more things that I needed, and that was all I bought! Very exciting. 🙂
The best thing about the cost of making homemade gifts is that it gets less expensive every year. I already had candle dye and scents at home. And last year when I made hand cream, the biggest expenses were containers and boxes to put them in. I spent $17 for the containers from SpecialtyBottle.com and 59¢ a piece for the boxes from Hobby Lobby. Score!
So, have list, have plan, have a budget, and most of all, have fun! Making gifts for people is fun and great for your brain. Plus, I get at least a couple flowery thank you cards/text messages every year from people who really loved their personalized gift. It warms the heart. ^_^