Frugal gift giving

My Good Goody Drawer

by Francine Larson

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I listened to my husband, Jim, lamenting the fact that he needed another gift for his friend, Don. Yes, he had already shopped and bought a nice Christmas gift for him, but just wanted another gift to give him. He wanted Don to have two presents to open, instead of one. His eyes lit up when I told him to look in the goody drawer. I followed him into the bedroom and showed him where I had reserved a drawer for my hidden treasures. Jim gleefully picked out a very nice knife set. It was like having a store in our own home. I wrapped the beautiful knife set with my five star wrapping accessories, which is a whole other story and also a whole other drawer. In just a few minutes, Jim had a very nice gift wrapped as classy as any upscale department store. We were both happy. I have to say I was proud of my idea about the goody drawer.

I am retired, but not really. My full-time job now is writing and keeping my website fresh and updated. However, I do have more time that is my very own. Thus, this hobby of a goody drawer came about.

It started one day when I was at JCPenney. I just happened to notice a sale on costume jewelry. As I recall, it was marked down about 85%! As we all know, jewelry is a big mark-up. I found beautiful necklaces and earrings marked down. If a necklace was originally priced at $40, it was priced $2.40 with the sale! I kept looking and found many beautiful pieces. I didn't know to whom I would give them or if I would keep some pieces for myself, but I couldn't let a bargain like that go by. When you have four daughters and a lot of friends, you just know you are going to be giving lovely gifts. When I finished my purchase, the ticket showed I had saved over $200; I had actually spent approximately $30. I was prepared for birthdays, etc. Or maybe a "just because" gift could be given. We mothers like to do that for encouragement and just plain love.

When I got home from shopping, I lovingly placed my jewelry in a drawer that I cleaned out. The clerk had put the jewelry in nice boxes. For the time being, I left the original price tags on to remind myself what a nice gift it was and that it wasn't just cheap.

From that point on, when I was out shopping or running errands, I would always browse around for bargains that were of good quality. I found purses for $5 that were originally $30 or $40. I found a Passion by Elizabeth Taylor perfume sample set for $5. It was originally $20. I found big colorful watches that are now in vogue for about $6. Also, my goody drawer consists of vases and picture frames that would serve as a nice gift.

This goody drawer is also a great time saver. How many times have you had to make a trip to the mall for a last minute gift? Chances are, you will spend more money than you need to because your feet are tired and you still have to go home and prepare dinner.

You may not agree with this next idea. I didn't embrace it until this last year. I read in an advice column that it is ok to "regift" as long as you don't give the gift back to someone in the same circle of friends or relatives and the gift is something that you think the other person may really like. If someone gives you an object that you like but you already have, it would be fine to put it in your goody drawer. You may want to put a note on it telling whom the gift is from so that you don't give it back to them. Teachers, for example, probably get too many of the same items.

You may want to buy some all occasion greeting cards to have available as well. Pick out some clever, witty ones and some serious. You know who you usually give gifts to and what kind of card you usually get.

I love my goody drawer! When I am shopping for my goody drawer, I can take my time and pick out lovely, quality gifts at a bargain price.

Buying gifts can wreck havoc to your checking account if something unexpected turns up like an invitation to a shower or anniversary party. There may still be times when you will have to shop for a special present, but I think you will find that most of the time your goody drawer will serve you well.

In summary, I would like to say that a goody drawer saves you time, stress, and money. It makes you proud that you are organized and spending wisely. Don't forget to buy yourself an unexpected treat with the money you save!

Francine Larson's hosts whose mission is to support teachers, parents, grandparents and any other family member in the process of passing values and morals to children and teens.

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