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Friday, February 5, 2010

Freely Giving Friday: Baby Gift Baskets

I was very encouraged to get an e-mail from a reader this week telling me how she was able to bless another person's life in a very tangible way, thanks to couponing. She was able to help a struggling friend out with toiletries and food that she had gotten for free (with coupons), without even touching her stockpile.

It reminded me that I haven't done a Freely Giving Friday post in quite some time. When I first started these, I intended on posting about it once or twice a month. I've been slacking! If you're new to Freely Giving Friday, you can go read about the whole concept of it here.

This Week: How to throw together a baby shower gift for pennies!

As a couponer, one of the most frugal, wonderful, and practical gifts you can give somebody for a wedding or baby shower is a gift basket! Wedding showers are much easier than baby showers, because there is a lot more variation in what you can get. Sales are easy to come by, so freebies with coupons are a breeze to pick up. Baby shower baskets are a little more limited, as you're looking for only baby products...but the great news is that you have 8-9 months to put them together!

When I found out my friend at work was pregnant last May, I immediately started going to work. So how do you go about getting items to put in the gift basket? Here are a few tips:
1. Watch the sales and match-up the coupons (something you probably already do every week if you follow this blog). Target, CVS, and Walgreens usually have the best "freebie after coupon" deals. Kmart does the double coupon weeks, which always provide LOTS of freebies! (Although I haven't seen a double coupon week in some time now).

2. Sign up for free samples. All of those freebies I throw at you on a daily basis? Many of them are for babies - diapers, wipes, baby food, etc. I've been signing up for free baby samples for almost a year now. I think all of the companies out there think I'm having a baby some time soon. I even got two HUGE jars of formula in the mail the other day. (I added it to the gift basket - haha!).

3. Sign up for free magazine subscriptions. I signed up for American Baby and Parents about a year ago, and I collected them each month. I added them to the basket for my friend to read. Yes, they are "out of date" by then, but they still have fabulous information and reading material for moms in each issue! And some of the more recent ones have great coupons, too!

4. Look for deals with coupons that do not exclude trial sized items. For example, the Johnson & Johnson coupon that comes out every so often. You can use it on the Soap Buddies $.99 bar to get it for free! I'm sure you've learned by now that you can pick up free trial-sized items at Walmart, Target, and CVS on a regular basis. Simply use the $1/1 coupons on these items, as long as the coupon does not say "excludes trial-size"!

5. Add a home-made gift to the basket. Thoughtful, hand-made gifts are wonderful additions to the basket, and they always mean a lot more to the person receiving the gift. I like to knit baby booties. They're fast, fun, and easy. Plus, they make the cutest gifts! I actually procastinated on knitting them for this basket, but I am going to whip them up over the next week and give them to her late. =)

6. If you would like to add a little something more to the gift, grab a $10 or less item from their baby registry. In this case, I picked up a blanket that was on her registry for $9.99 (shown above in the corner of the box poking out).

7. You could even add a few gift cards in there, if you want. You know those Target gift card deals that come around on a weekly basis, where you spend a certain amount of money and get back a $5 gift card? Start collecting those! That would be a great addition. Or, save up your credit/debit card points to redeem for a nice gift card. You could even redeem some of your Swag Bucks for an e-gift card to Target or Amazon!

8. Pick out a pretty card from your local Dollar Store for 50 cents. Card prices have gone through the roof! You can find some nice ones at the dollar store, and add some of your own meaningful words of encouragement and joy.

9. Finally, find something to put all of the items in! I like to use laundry basket, but in this case, I decided to use a box that I already had lying around. I picked up some cute baby wrapping paper at the dollar store, and wrapped the whole box in it to make it look nice and gift-wrapped.
And Viola! There ya go -- a baby shower gift for next to nothing! Let me break down the cost for you on this box that I put together. Yes, I remember the prices, because who doesn't remember a fabulous deal they get??? He He.

  • 1 Huggies Jumbo Pack Diapers - $2 at Walgreens
  • 1 Huggies Wipes - free at Walmart after coupon
  • 2 Huggies Pull-Ups Wipes - free at Walmart after coupon
  • 4 jars of Organic baby food - $1.60 total at Publix after BOGO sale and coupon
  • 3 Johnson's Soap Buddies Bars - free at either Target, Walmart, or CVS with coupon
  • 2 Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo - $.50 each ($1 total) at Target after coupon
  • 1 Johnson's Head-To-Toe Wash - $1.49 after coupon and ECB at CVS right now!
  • 1 Johnson's Baby Oil - free after coupons at Kmart during double coupons week
  • 1 Trial-sized Johnson's baby shampoo - free at CVS after coupon
  • 3 samples of diapers - signed up for them for free, came in mail
  • 2 subscriptions to magazines - free, as explained above
  • Similac Formula - free, came in mail. (She'll be breast feeding, but never know if you might have to supplement!)
  • Card + Wrapping Paper - $1 total at Dollar Store
  • Box - free, already had at home
  • Blanket from registry - $10
***Total paid for a nice and frugal baby shower gift - $17.09 including the item on her registry. Just the non-registry items were only $7.09 total! And for the record, I actually had a lot more freebie items saved up for this basket, but I ended up giving them to another family in need a couple of months ago.

I hope that gave you some ideas on how to give a gift to somebody, without breaking the bank. These are fantastic gifts to give to somebody when you are on a very strict budget, because it's just a dollar here and there over a long period of time!

Also, just as a side note, I wanted to call your attention to the "For Moms" category on the right column of the page. Any time there is any kind of baby-related freebie, sample, magazine subscription, deal at a store, toy sale, can count on finding it there!

What About You: Have you ever tried this? Do you plan on trying this in the near future? How do you like this idea?

Go here for an explanation of what Freely Giving Friday is all about! Please note I do not believe in "bragging" about how much you give. I do these giving posts every so often to help inspire you with ideas on ways you can give, express the importance of giving, and help encourage you in giving even when you feel as if you have very little to give. No matter how much we are struggling financially, we should always be reminded of how truly blessed we are. There are always ways to be thankful and give out of what God has poured into our lives so graciously.

Do you have any stories about how couponing has enabled you to give more to others? If so, feel free to comment below! Or, e-mail me with your story, and I will use it as a guest post on the next Freely Giving Friday!

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Blogger Mom of Many said...

Thank for stopping by my blog. Following you on Twitter too! Have a very blessed weekend.

February 6, 2010 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Mom of Many said...

Thank for stopping by my blog. Following you on Twitter too! Have a very blessed weekend.

February 6, 2010 at 7:20 AM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

Thanks for the baby ideas!! I love it..we're having a baby in June and all te freebies sure come in handy!!! :) Thanks again!!

February 6, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by! Love your blog!

February 6, 2010 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Meagan said...

You're very welcome, Vanessa! =)

February 6, 2010 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger ALB said...

Great idea! I do the same thing for baby showers. Would you mind doing a blog post on what you give for bridal showers? I feel like it's a lot easier to find deals on diapers and other baby products but I always feel obliged to buy off of the registry for bridal showers (using 20% off coupons from BB&B, of course!)

February 6, 2010 at 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...


One of my friends is getting married this summer, so I have been trying to decide what to get her and her future husband. They are both in college with part-time jobs and both still live with their parents. I have decided to make them a "household" basket!

I actually got this idea from the baby shower box. When you move out on your own, there are tons of things you need that you don't always think about and it gets quite expensive. I am going to get a huge laundry basket and fill it with some of the following items: lots of cleaning supplies, swiffer sweeper/mop and a refill of each, paper towels, plunger, laundry detergent, air freshener, light bulbs, batteries, clothespins, etc. Many of these items are frequently on sale for free/cheap.

I know lots of people live on their own before they get married, but for my friends, this basket will be perfect. I will probably buy a couple of small things from their registry as well. Hope this helps! =)

March 6, 2010 at 2:27 AM  
Blogger Meagan said...


Exactly! That's what I do for wedding gifts, as well! It's a great gift, even for those who have been living on their own. It's always great to have those things.

Every time I make one of those gifts for a newlywed friend of mine, they are ecstatic and love it!

=) Thanks for replying, Sara. I forgot to get back to Alb!

March 6, 2010 at 9:17 AM  

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