How to stay on budget during the holidays

We just enjoyed Thanksgiving and now the sales to push forward the holidays are steaming through town like an old train, staying on track with promotions and keeping up consumerism.

It’s really hard to resist a good sale with a great discount , but it’s tough to stay on budget and not use credit cards or the lovely bonus you’re expecting at work in a few weeks. Many of us fall for the hype and tend to forget the meaning of giving a gift.

I will buy new shoes, sweaters and a jacket for my husband, and I’m tempted to get fab boots at Nordstrom for myself as a little treat — the kids also fall into the consumerism category with toys, gadgets and perhaps the few who still want a bike for Christmas. These purchases are understandable, but many of us have extended family, co-workers, friends, teachers and soccer coaches to consider. It’s tough to stay on budget and buy a little gift for everyone. Whether it’s chocolate, coffee or $20 gift cards — it really adds up!

Gift cards are always simple, but again, what’s the budget for let’s say 8–12 people who deserve a gift but aren’t family?

Personally, I try to make Do-It-Yourself gifts, a huge movement over the past 10 years, instead of buying presents from retailers. Think about it — HGTV, Food Network and countless numbers of bloggers are posting their decor projects, Christmas cookies, holiday appetizers and specialty cocktails — not to mention, all of the seasonal home decor for entertaining guests. Millions of people are on a high drive to decorate, cook and tackle creative projects in the next few weeks. Yikes! Where do you start and how are you going to make something? Where do you get ideas?

You’d think to look through magazines, Pinterest or Facebook, right? But when you’re actually in a store like Michaels Crafts, you’re looking at a screenshot of an Instagram project, scrambling to desperately figure out the supplies that were used, or maybe you try to locate the link to the blog site on Pinterest, but it’s been shared so many times that you can’t locate the actual tutorial.

If you manage to find the original tutorial, bloggers usually have around 2–3 paragraphs about their personal journey to make this item, for their own site’s SEO, and you need to scroll down to find the needed information like supplies, ingredients and instructions.

It’s a big pain, especially if you have two kids (like myself) in a store. You sometimes have minutes to locate and find something before they run off to check out something shinny down the next isle. And you don’t have time to write down lists for all your DIYs, recipes, and decor needs in between soccer practice and running errands.

Well, the solution is free and easy , and it took a mom in tech to solve it!

The revelation hit me years ago, but took my inner-nerd a while to design and build what I would like to call the next big “maker’s” tool, with soon-to-come product and brand integration. It’s still in the early stages, but my app, Univhers, is a platform to post and find simple recipes with ingredients and directions listed in a clean, accessible way.

What about all the gifts for the holidays? Make something! Personally, I love natural lip balm and Shea butter hand cream. Bath bombs are fun to make with your kids, and they’re a great gift for an aunt, teacher or neighbor. The key is to focus on small budget DIY ideas, ideas that you can share with your close circle of friends (and a few new inspirations) who you follow on Univhers.

Everyday we feature a user who’s posted a great project for the holidays . Tune in to Univhers and stay on budget this holiday season!

Tech publicist and producer turned tech start-up entrepreneur launching Univhers. Self-publishing DIYs now made easy.

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