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Frugal Living & Freebies

The Dollar Stretcher Blog: Frugal Teachers' Gift Ideas
by Gary Foreman
Your child's teachers play an important role in their development. And, as the holidays approach, you'd like to show your appreciation. Unfortunately, money is tight with limited money available for gifts. So what can you do? Consider some of these ideas for frugal gifts for Johnny's teacher.

Themed collections can make an excellent gift. Collect a number of small, frugal items. For example, a movie themed collection might include a video store certificate and the stuff you'd buy while watching a movie (candy, soda, popcorn, etc.). Place it all in a microwave popcorn box that looks like the ones you buy at the movies.

Does Teacher have a pet? Many even keep one in the classroom. If so, they don't get school funding to buy its food, etc. Assemble a basket with food, treats, shavings, etc for it. Gives a whole new meaning to being a teacher's pet.

Does Johnny know the teachers' favorite hobbies? Stop by your local bookstore and see what magazines are available for that hobby. Don't buy the magazine, just note the title. Then search the internet for a subscription to that magazine. Many are as cheap as $5.

Don't know about Teacher's hobbies? Consider getting a subscription to a children's magazine for the classroom. Often teachers pay for them out of their own money.

Perhaps a special dinner would be a better choice. For instance, a pasta dinner theme might include a basket filled with a jar of sauce, a box of fancy pasta, and bread sticks. Don't like the Italian theme? Choose one of your own and design a basket around it.

Teachers write plenty of notes, so work with your child to make handmade note cards and envelopes. Use rubber stamps on card stock or envelopes bought in bulk from a paper supply store.

For the lower grades a custom t-shirt can be a fun choice. Organize all the kids in your child's class and have them make handprints on a t-shirt. Then write the child's name under their handprint with a permanent marker. You could arrange the handprints into flowers or leaves attached to a stem made from rickrack. Thumbprints made into ladybugs and butterflies with fabric pens can also work.

If you frequently bake, make some extra cookies or whatever goodie you're making, and then give it to your child's teachers. Teachers are just like the rest of us. They like sweets and often are too busy grading papers to do much baking themselves.

A more complicated option would be organizing a collective gift from a number of parents in the class. Each person contributes a few dollars towards something like a restaurant gift card or a mall gift certificate. Most teachers we know would be glad to receive one.

So don't let your tight budget prevent you from showing your appreciation for Johnny's teacher. Adding a little creativity can stretch your dollars this holiday season.

About the Author:
Gary Foreman is the editor of The Dollar Stretcher.com and newsletters. Not only does the site host thousands of articles on various ways to save money, but you'll also find a vibrant forum where people share their dollar stretching ideas. You can also follow Gary on Twitter.


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