With the economy in a downturn, this year more than ever the pressure is on to find cheap gifts for loved ones. Luckily, this is Mr. Cheap’s forté, so without further ado may I present the “Last Minute Cheap Christmas Gift Guide”.
- Pine Cone Bird Feeder: A perennial favourite, this feeder can be made by finding a pine cone and smearing peanut butter on it. If you’re like Mr. Cheap and you really like to give on a shoestring, you can just give the cone and explain to the recipient how to “load it”. Perfect for environmentalists or animal lovers, this proved to be the ideal gift for the Four Pillars’ household this year. Each time I’ve talked to them since giving them this little treasure, they’ve assured me how much fun Mike and the kids were having watching the birds nibble on it (until it attracted a family of raccoons who now live in their attic – definitely one danger to be aware of).
- European style rolled cigarettes: For the smokers on your list, this gift can be had for the price of some rolling paper. For tobacco, stake out bus stops, entrances to office buildings and other areas smokers congregate. Collect the “gently used” butts, break them apart for the unburnt tobacco, and roll yourself some stylish, continental luxuries. Just like they smoke on the Riviera, ooh la la!
- Hobo cocktail: For those of us short on funds but with a well stocked liquor cabinet (or left-behinds from a recent house party), Hobo cocktails can be made by digging out all the undrunk booze, mixing it together, then pouring it back into the bottles. You haven’t lived until you’ve drunk a 1/3 gin, 1/3 vodka, 1/3 rye delight! Scrub off the labels, so recipients don’t mistakenly believe they’re getting boring, “pure” liquor. If the budget allows, make up funny labels like “Mr. Cheap’s Patented Apéritif, Molotov Cocktail and Nail Polish Remover”
- New-To-You Pets: This works best if you live in a rough neighbourhood where pets are mistreated. “Liberate” a neighbour’s pet who you think would be happier living with someone on your gift list. Then give the gift that keeps giving, a loving addition to their family! You need to make sure that the recipient doesn’t live too close to the pet’s former home (or there might be an awkward encounter when your uncle Bob is out walking his new mutt). You should warn the pet’s new family to make sure he doesn’t get outside without a leash, or he might make a bee-line back to his former prison.
Whether shopping for a smoker, a drinker, or a naturalist, with a little creativity you can find a spot-on gift that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!
Read the 2011 Cheap Gift Guide!
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The RESP Book: The Simple Guide to Registered Education Savings Plans
Everything you need to know about RESPs.