As homeowners we are always looking for ways to preserve the paycheque. We’re always on the lookout for innovative ways and means to ensure that when the days before payday arrive, we still have a few Rands left to spend. There are acceptable ways of saving money and methods that society deem unacceptable. Switching the geyser off is a good idea, as is having shorter showers. Shaving using water from your neighbour’s birdbath or refusing to shower altogether might see you getting fewer invites to social functions.
Another (socially acceptable) way to stretch your tip slip at this time of year is to cut back on expensive gifts. Often you’ll be able to make them yourself and won’t have to spend hours in malls listening to Boney-M ad nauseum. Here are our pick of not-too-expensive gifts you can give to family, friends, loved ones, and people you don’t want to buy gifts for but are obligated to.
Homemade bath scrubs: posh day spas sell this for a whack but bath scrubs are surprisingly easy to make. In a nutshell, you need salt or sugar and various bath oils to make fragrant and effective bath scrubs. There are a number of online guides but you can visit TipJunkie to start. You can give your inexpensive gifts away in recyclable glass jars.
A plant: to clarify, we mean an actual photosynthesising plant, not Robert Plant, though I’m sure any number of people would love to be given a rock star for Christmas. I tend to kill plants and I should imagine that there are many people out there who are just like me – Ted Bundy’s to flora and fauna. Plants that need little care make good gifts. I get a lot of cacti. The water loving fern lasted a week.
Preserved food items: this can be a bit tricky but get it right and your gift recipients will love home made pesto, jams or pickled chillis. The web is filled with recipes but if you want an easy-to-follow guide have a flip through The Complete South African Cook Book. It uses local ingredients, measurements and terminology so it’s far easier to use than many other cooking guides. And if your foodstuffs flop it make s nifty gift.
Biltong or beer: the ultimate gifts for guys. With craft beers taking off in South Africa you’ll have no problem buying a beer kit, brewing your own ale and bottling it within a few days. Biltong cabinets also make gift giving easy – in less than a week you can whip up a batch of this tasty snack and spend way less money than you would at any store. We’ve included a few links for both beer kits and biltong cabinets but shop around – shipping adds to the cost of each kit and there may be a local supplier who can get the goods to you for less.
Above all else, never, under any circumstances, give any of the following away as gifts (actual example taken from Goodhousekeeping.com)
• Stretch mark cream for your pregnant wife
• Road flares for emergencies
• Stationary set with someone else’s name on all the letterheads
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