Readers send in Fabulously Frugal Gift Ideas! Friday, Nov 23 2018 

We are now firmly in Christmas mode, folks, and this shopping season is looking like a doozy.  A surge in consumer confidence is giving both hard working retailers and shoppers a reason to smile, but don’t use it as a reason to overspend!  Read on for fellow shoppers’ fabulous gift ideas that help recipients save time and make life easier, but are also beautifully priced!

Chris L. of Media loves his 20-year old Buick.   It runs great and is totally reliable, except for one thing: the heater never cranks out enough heat!  Last Christmas, he received a heated car blanket ($25 on Amazon), and in his own words, “was a total game changer”.  In his hour-long commute each day, it’s like driving a new car!  This year, he’s giving that same gift to family and friends, even those with newer cars.  Let’s face it, who wouldn’t love a warm seat waiting for you when you start the car.

Bethany A. of Downingtown creates Christmas keepsakes for family members!  In her wonderfully large extended family, chances are excellent that they’ll celebrate a wedding, new baby, home purchase, retirement or other special milestone each year.  That Christmas, Bethany creates a beautiful keepsake ornament with Styrofoam balls and faux jewels in the birthstone of the new family member, including the name and date of the Event.  Not only are they inexpensive, they are completely unique, beloved by family and kept for years.

Xavier B. of King of Prussia is a movie buff, as are friends and family.  Last year, at a loss for ideas, and a lack of shopping time, he gave out “100 Movies Scratch Off Posters” ($30 on Amazon), and it was a huge hit!  Recipients near and far keep him up to date on movies they’ve recently scratched off, and a handful of friends made a light competition out of it to see how many movies they could take in before the end of the year.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Christine F. of Philadelphia loves saving money, and shares my affection for all things Bob Ross.  In fact, she was hard-pressed to think of anyone on her gift list that didn’t love Bob Ross!  Let’s face it, people of all demographics totally mellow out when listening to that iconic painter work his magic.  When she found Bob Ross mugs on Amazon for less than $25, she sent them to family and friends near and far with the click of a button, and they loved them!  Pour in your favorite hot caffeinated beverage, and watch those beautiful “happy little trees” appear right before your eyes.  Another easy, inexpensive gift that the recipient will love and use all year.  Exactly what a holiday gift is supposed to do.

This Christmas and Hanukkah season, enjoy the lights, hug the ones you love closer to you, and find gifts that everyone is going to love, without breaking the bank.  Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living.  “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs Saturdays at 11A on WNPV 1440 / 98.5 , and Nationwide via the BizTalk Radio Network. She was raised in Delaware County, works in Montgomery County, and resides in Chester County with her husband and kids.  She is honored to be connected with the crew at the Detox Treatment Help Line (800-287-7891) and Elite Rehab (800-932-4082) to help get the word out about their proven strategies to steer the ones you love away from drug abuse. You can find her online at www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com

A Fabulously Frugal Thanksgiving! Friday, Nov 23 2018 

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!  With so many people working at a breakneck pace these days, and free time at an all-time low, readers state again and again that their biggest goals for the holiday are (1) to relax with family and friends, (2) not work themselves into a frenzy getting a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner on the table, and (3) to not overspend on the holiday!   Read on for tips on how to accomplish all of the above – it’s easier than you think!

Tip #1 – Delegate!  I shout this from the rooftops every year, because it’s true.  Even the smallest Thanksgiving celebrations easily have a dozen moving parts.  Partner that with the fact that everyone sitting around your table will want to contribute, and you’ve got the perfect scene for delicious delegating.  Put your best friend on flowers or wine detail, your brother or sister is in charge of two desserts, your Aunt or Uncle gets to bring their famous sweet potatoes, et voila!  All you need to do is set the table and get a gorgeous turkey on the table.  Which brings me to my next money/time/sanity saving idea…

Tip #2 – The Turkey: making it yourself vs. buying it already baked!  Guys, this is a bold new area for me.  I’ve never done this personally, but I’m hearing rave reviews from people who purchased a ready-to-serve, fully cooked turkey for their Thanksgiving table.  When you think about it, what’s not to love?   Supermarkets are pricing them lower than ever before, and I’ve never heard of anyone having a problem with them.  Personally, I’m lucky – Victor always takes care of roasting the turkey, and it comes out to perfection every single year.  However, I’m hearing from others that attempting to put a Norman Rockwell-worthy turkey on the table is one of their biggest stressors of the season – why not leave the turkey cooking tasks to others and simply pick it up ready to go?  Works for me!

Tip #3 – In my book, carbs don’t count on Thanksgiving, and they’re most inexpensive food items out there, so bring them on!  Mashed potatoes, stuffing, biscuits, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cranberries, even green bean casserole are Thanksgiving staples that all cost just pennies per serving, enjoy them with gusto!  They’re also wildly popular on kids’ tables, home of the most enthusiastic appetites of the holiday.

Tip #4 – It’s corny, because it’s true:  Remember the reason for the season, guys.  It’s called a day of “Thanksgiving”, not a day of “Stress to the point of a nervous breakdown”.  The whole idea for a day of thanks is spending time with loved ones, reflecting on our blessings, and offering up heartfelt thanks.  Okay and maybe some football.  Using the tips above, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy a great meal with family and friends, linger over dessert and coffee, and cheer for your favorite football team… just the way the Pilgrims intended.  Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

 

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living.  “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs Saturdays at 11A on WNPV 1440 / 98.5 in Lansdale, and Nationwide via the BizTalk Radio Network. She was raised in Delaware County, works in Montgomery County, and resides in Chester County with her husband and kids.  She is honored to be connected with the crew at the Detox Treatment Help Line (800-287-7891) and Elite Rehab (800-932-4082) to help get the word out about their proven strategies to steer the ones you love away from drug abuse. You can find her online at www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com