It’s Monday. That means it’s time for Nicole McDonald of momsavesmoney.net to tell us how to be, well, better (at least when it comes to our finances!).
Today, she offers tips to save money on gift wrap and stave off the kids’ curiosity.
Nicole McDonald, momsavesmoney.net
The thought of buying $3-$4 gift bags and $2-$3 worth of tissue really bothers my frugal side. That’s more than $5 just to wrap a present! Crazy.
I would rather use that $5 and buy a nicer gift, especially when a kid will just rip the package open anyway.
So I am sharing my frugal wrapping ideas to save you money and still stay in the holiday spirit. I also included some tricky ways to fool those curious children.
- Reusable bags – Instead of buying pricey paper gift bags that rip and get thrown out, buy a $1 reusable bag for the gift. You can find really cute ones at many stores. The best part is you are giving an additional gift with the present, a new reusable bag.
- Recycle gift bags – Anytime I get a gift bag in good condition, I save it for later use. I consistently reuse old gift bags to wrap new presents. Usually, the gift bags will last for several uses and the recipient never knows it’s been used (unless it’s one they gave you.)
- Paper bag wrapping – Next time you grocery shop, grab a few extra paper sacks at checkout. Cut along the side of the bag so it is flat and turn it inside out. You now have a plain brown paper sack to use to wrap a gift. Have your kids color it, paste collage pictures or paint it to dress it up. Add a cute ribbon for the finishing touch. Grandparents absolutely love this when their grandkids color the paper.
- Newspaper/comic/advertisements – If you subscribe to the paper, these are free and you can find colorful comics or advertisements to wrap presents.
- Use corresponding container – Wrap a tool in a tool box with a ribbon, jewelry with a jewelry box or beauty items in a cosmetics case. Add a ribbon and viola, it’s wrapped and useful.
Here are some fun ideas for tricking those sneaky kids who like to shake, poke and figure out their gifts early!
- Use multiple boxes – If you have a small gift, collect several larger boxes and start putting the small gift in the increasingly larger boxes with some old newspaper as filler. Really trick them by adding a brick or two for weight or marbles so it will rattle when they shake it. My parents did this to me all the time when I was young. I would get really excited when I saw a box under the tree big enough for me to fit inside and was always surprised when I got to the real gift. This works great for electronic games or jewelry.
- Cereal or cracker boxes – Put a present in an empty cereal box or cracker box and tape it up. Your kids will think you got them a box of food and never be the wiser.
- Make it a treasure hunt – Use small gifts to represent a larger gift. For example, if you get your kids a bike, wrap a bell with a small note directing them to the garage, basement or truck to search for the real gift. You can even make it more fun by placing envelopes with clues around the house. Each envelope sends them to another location with another clue until they finally arrive at the location of the real gift. Not only is this fun, but it’s really hard to wrap a large gift, so it works out well. You can also do this with your spouse or other family members.
- Use a deceiving box – Do you have a box that came with a tool, coffee maker or something else boring? Place the gift in that box without rewrapping the box. This way they think you got them a tool or some other boring gift. They will be surprised when they open it and it’s actually something fun.
Have other frugal gift-wrapping ideas or ways to hide the real gift from your kids? Send ’em our way! (We can use all the help we can get sometimes, right?!)
Nicole McDonald writes about freebies, coupons, deals and product reviews and hosts giveaways at www.momsavesmoney.net.