• Like a bad penny, debt always turns up…

    unless we change how we interact with money, of course!

    The Bad Penny is dedicated to two pursuits: getting out of debt and staying out of debt! It recognizes that frugality and caring for our planet go hand in hand, and that our unsatiated need for stuff is hurting us in so many ways.

    Easier said than done!


    I am not a finance professional. I write about the world as I know it, and my advice may not be the best course of action for you! Please seek qualified advice for your particular situation.

    Finance Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

  • Advertisements

The Best Gifts

Coming home from grocery shopping last night, I noticed a package on our porch.  I’m sure it had been there at least a couple of days – at one point I thought I heard a car door and then someone on our porch, but when I peeked out the window I didn’t see anything or anyone.  Turns out the UPS guy put the white package right under the window and didn’t let us know, and with all the snow against our white house, it blended right in!

We opened it up to find three presents from our good friends in North Carolina – one for each of us.  Our friend had made beautifully quilled pictures for my husband and me – mine a beautiful saying about mothers with a blue floral design, and my husband a brown and white saying (we still haven’t figured out what it is, but I’m convinced it’s Hebrew!)  Knowing this friend, she put a lot of time into not just making these pictures, but in researching quotes and likely a little Hebrew so that the gifts would be perfect.

Gabe got a brand new coloring book with really nice toddler-sized crayons with one flat side to prevent rolling.  He was ecstatic!  New crayons!  New coloring book!  He spent the rest of the time before bed taking his crayons in and out of the box.

Our friends have even less free money than us.  Between massive medical bills and high insurance premiums because of their medical history, they don’t have much to spare.  Things are getting better for them, but they’re still really tight.   But when it comes to giving the perfect gifts, they always do.

Why?  Because they are creative.  I don’t mean that they do crafts, although the wife does.  I mean they are thoughtful and open-minded about gift giving.  They don’t try to buy the most expensive present, thinking it’s the best because it’s the most expensive.  They take the time to figure out what is important to their friends and build on that.  And even though the last time they saw our son he was just over a year old, they realized that now he’s almost two.  It’s easy to forget when you don’t see people for a while!  For a one-year-old, these gifts wouldn’t have been very appropriate.  But for a two-year-old, life’s simple pleasures include a brand new coloring book and crayons!  And it probably cost our friends $3.

The last few Christmases I have tried to be like my friend.  The year I was pregnant with my son, we had no money for gifts.  I collected all the fabric I was saving (why?) and made five patchwork quilt tops – two queen-sized and three full-sized.  Yes, I had a lot of fabric! I stuck batting or even old blankets in between a sheet backing and tied the quilt with yarn from my stash.

They turned out beautifully and we gave them to each set of parents, each of our siblings, and we had one left over. I surprised my husband with the last one (he thought I only had enough material for four quilts.)   It was an especially special gift to my mom because I used fabric scraps from things she made for me as a child – like a dress she sewed for a play I acted in during sixth grade.  This was the only gift we could give our families that year, but they are used and loved.  My in-laws and my husband both use the quilts on their beds, and my parents keep theirs downstairs in the family room for wrapping up in while watching TV.

Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be wonderful.  In fact, some of the most expensive gifts I’ve gotten ended up not getting used at all – because they didn’t fit us, our home, or our style.  I’m sure many of you agree – the perfect gift is one that fits your personality and one that you’ll use!