4 Ways To Spread Cheer & Save Your Wallet This Holiday Season Plus a DIY gift idea #RegionsGreetings #Ad

This post was sponsored by Regions Bank.  All opinions are my own.


I love the holidays, but my wallet doesn’t! I’m all about Christmas and the holiday season! I love the holiday cheer, the music and the decorations. I love gift giving and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces as they unwrap their presents. The holiday season has always made me happy. The only part that didn’t make me happy was all the money we were spending on our gift list. We were definitely going overboard on spending and blowing our budget every year. And we weren’t alone.

Americans spend a lot of money on holiday gifts and the amount is growing and growing. The National Retail Federation predicts a 3.7 percent increase in sales this year, with the average American set to spend an estimated $786 in the following categories:

$459.87 on gifts for family
$80.00 on gifts for friends
$26.03 on colleagues
$30.43 on the other people in their lives

This amount of spending can lead to financial stress for many people. We want to please everyone on our gift list and we end up in a cycle of overspending, getting into debt and regretting it in the new year as we struggle to pay our bills. It’s a cycle that we needed to break. Our goal was to start a fresh new year; not start with a fresh new bill to pay off. There had to be a better way. So I got to thinking.

Handmade gifts can take some time and effort but they don’t have to cost a whole lot of money. There are so many things that can be made that will actually be used and enjoyed. The bonus? They will probably hold a lot more value to the recipient than something store bought would. Your recipients will feel special because you took the time and put thought into making something just for them. My daughter and I have made some really lovely gifts since then and it sure has saved us a lot of money during the holidays. We have made everything from Homemade Bath Bombs to Tea Tree and Lavender Shaving Cream and so far they have all been big hits with our friends and family members.

If you aren’t sure where to start with the gift giving

My current favorite DIY holiday gift idea are these gorgeous DIY Agate Coasters that we made with less than $20 worth of ingredients (they sell for over $100 in stores!). They look amazing, make great gifts and are really easy to make.

agate coasters diy

Here’s what you need:

Agate Slices (I purchased my set at the craft store but you can order them online too.)
Liquid Leafing – Classic Gold (Feel free to try out the silver if you’d prefer!)
Small paintbrush
Rubber Feet (optional but will help give coasters more stability)

You will want your agate slices to be large enough to fit a cup or glass. Slices vary in size and are not all perfectly round. The smallest coaster I had was 3 inches in diameter at its smallest and it was just big enough. If you are able to find the agate in person you will be able to judge in person, but if I were to order online I would order the 3.5 – 4” size and put in a request for rounder shapes.


Lay down a sheet of newspaper to work on.
Shake your liquid leafing well before opening. This can smell kind of strong, so if you are sensitive I would be sure to work with a window or door open.
Dip your small paint brush in the liquid leafing. A little bit will go a long way!
Make small brush strokes around the outside of your agate slice. The liquid leafing dries quickly.
Set the agate slice on the newspaper to finish drying.
If you are using rubber feet, stick a few on whichever side you deem as ‘the bottom’ spacing them out evenly.
If you accidentally get some gold on the stone surface, just allow it to dry and then dip a Q-tip in nail polish remover and gently rub.

4 ways to spread cheer and save your wallet this holiday season

Regions Bank, one of the largest U.S. banks with 1,630 branches across 16 states, has insights for consumers on how to prepare financially for the holiday shopping season.

1. Remember the golden rule. What you spend on gifts shouldn’t go over your salary ratio of 1.5 percent of your annual income. Use this rule as a guide to decide how much you should put back each month to spend on gifts for your friends and family — and then please stick to it.
2. Separate and delegate. Have you thought about creating a separate account to fund gifts and make regular deposits from your primary checking account on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
3. Only buy what you can truly afford. When you understand what happens when you overspend, you never want to leave home without a list of what you intend to buy. Then be sure you have the money (cash in hand) needed to cover the gifts you plan to purchase when you arrive at the store.
4. Plan to your advantage. While purchases like airline tickets should be booked far in advance, other items — toys in particular — often go on sale during December 1-14. Sometimes it is a good idea to wait, other times it does not pay to wait, so be sure to check for deals before you leave to get your shopping done.

As the holiday draws near, why not plan your strategy for shopping? Establish a new habit (saving before you need it) based on your income and then stick to it; then create your holiday fund, and make deposits regularly; stay true to your budget and what you can afford; and know when to buy and when to be patient. The holidays are all about family. Let’s keep our eye on the prize – which is our family – and not go into debt over it.

How do you save on gifts during the holiday season?

Do you go the DIY route or stick to a strict budget? Do you contribute to a holiday account throughout the year? I would love to hear some of your ways to spread cheer and save your wallet during the holiday season!

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    Speak Your Mind


  1. I totally feel you. Christmas is such a joyous season. Giving makes us happier although, with the number of persons that we have to give presents, sometimes our budget is not enough to cover everyone. What I personally do is, I always make a list of my godchildren, family and friends then I divide my budget to all of them. I try my best to find useful and inexpensive gifts. After all, it will always be the thought that will count.

  2. First of all, that DIY is GORGEOUS! I can’t believe you made those! DIY gifts are always so great. For one, they are inexpensive and 2, you know there will be no duplicate gifts! I usually start my shopping in September and keep my eyes out for sales for the next 4 months. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Your tips on spending less at Christmas are excellent because you are right, so many people do go overboard.

    Even as a kid I spent too much on family members. We did huge celebrations back then and I wanted my gifts to look as nice as what my older siblings were buying. And then when my older siblings had babies, I spent way too much on them as well.

    Nowadays, we do not buy gifts, and spend very little at Christmas actually.

  4. Excellent tips >> 4 Ways To Spread Cheer & Save Your Wallet This Holiday Season –
    Your coasters are a beautiful DIY gift – I would love them! I just paid 1/2 of the cost for refinishing an old (big) radio for my hubby’s Christmas cheer – he is thrilled! I’ll be sharing the before & after photos on FB. Thx for asking – Big smiles, 🙂

  5. Rebecca Spooner says:

    This is so true! We can spend SO much when we aren’t careful to keep track. Great post!

  6. I agree with your points! It’s imperative for us to not go overboard on spending. And DIY gifts are also a great idea to saving money but still giving away a heartfelt gift 😀

  7. I love DIY gifts!! We buy gifts though out the year to help to reduce the cost of the holidays. It is crazy how much the gifts can add up especially when last minute ones pop up. I love how your coasters turned out super pretty.

  8. Those coasters are beautiful! I love this idea of saving money during the holidays. I like to keep a well balanced budget during the shopping season and this is so great!

  9. brenda disimone says:

    thanks for showing me how to make that. Thanks !

  10. rochelle haynes says:

    Thanks for the tips sure will use them

  11. I think you are smart to make your gifts. I’ve decided that we would donate to our favorite charities like World Vision, Unicef and Me to We. Thanks for the great ideas.

  12. Wendy Forbes says:

    We usually do a strict budget, but we’ve also opened a Christmas savings account before in the past.

  13. $700? I wish that was all I spent during the Holiday season! This is a really great way to help me get to a lower budget because I definitely realize that spreading the cheer doesn’t always have to mean spreading my budget too thin.

  14. Melissa Storms says:

    I try to make as many handmade gifts as I can. I really love the coasters and think they would be great in a basket with coffee and a mug.

  15. Thanks for the reminders that cheer need not cost money! as well as the great tips and suggestions

  16. Jodi Hunter says:

    These are incredible ideas, thanks for all the great tips.

  17. Jeena Bittenbender says:

    Wow how amazing. I will try this…

  18. Michelle Schafer says:

    love the coasters! So pretty!!

  19. I haven’t heard of that golden rule before. Thanks for sharing it. I really never overspend but it is good to keep it in mind.

  20. All good tips. My sisters and I made ornaments for each other every year. Well until recently because we went from not having enough to too many after many years. 🙂

  21. denise low says:

    Thank you for sharing. We make a lot of our gift. The grandkids love coming over and they make their gift for the parents.

  22. Charlene says:

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll have to keep it in mind for next year. I think anyone would love to get such nice coasters. I’d be happy to get them.

  23. These are stunning! Thank you for the DIY idea! What a savings!