The joy of gift-giving on a budget

To my readers who just celebrated Mother’s Day this past Sunday, I hope your special day was filled with love and laughter, as mine has been. I am fortunate enough to have both my mom and sister living so close to me that I get to plan and spend every Mother’s Day with them, whenever schedules allow it, of course. Each year, I usually purchase gifts for each one of them, carefully selected from months of name brand deal scavenging, like the red Michael Kors puff vest I got from my mom at nearly 75% off. She loved it! This year, I opted to make their gift myself. It’s something very simple but not very easily accessible in our area, which makes them nearly priceless. Imagine your gift as priceless! haha. And, they both loved it!

Here they are:



Why are they nearly priceless?

We have some vegan-friendly bakeries here and I have tried a few of them already. It is not cheap! But, it’s pretty cool that I have options when I am craving vegan-friendly desserts that I can’t make myself, yet. I love to cook; but, my sister, not so much. Mom cooks and she makes the effort to spoil me and cook me vegan-friendly meals; but, she doesn’t really bake. Baking vegan-friendly sweets also require some trial and error that can add up to an enormous grocery expense. It’s possible to make them nearly similar to their non-vegan dessert counterparts but it’s more costly and there are experimental stages to get them perfected.

I dapple a little with baking vegan treats. The downside to baking is that it becomes so readily available to me that I end up eating way too many sweets. My resolve is weak around sugar. haha So, as much as I’d love to keep baking, I have to stop myself a lot of the times so as not to eat so much.

Because vegan treats are not as readily available, on a budget mind you, gifts as such become nearly priceless in our area.

Just how much did my expense tally up to:

  • 2 lbs. Fresh Driscoll’s Strawberries = $3
  • 10 oz Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips = $4
  • 100 BBQ Sticks = $1.99 (I didn’t need all 100, of course.)
  • 100 Grease Proof Cupcake Liners = $1.99 (I didn’t need all 100, of course.)
  • 2 Cupcake Boxes = $0.30 (I got them on clearance.)
  • 4 Cookie Containers = $0.60 (I got them on clearance and then cut and altered into boxes.)

A total of $12 expense with some overage for next time usage; but, when assembled together, becomes nearly priceless, as vegan treats are not as easily accessible here in Virginia Beach just yet.

To recreate the process is very simple:

  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl and keep it over hot water once melted – this will ensure the chocolate does not harden before you are done with the process. I used the microwave but I feel that a stove top with a double broiler (which I don’t have) would have been even simpler.
  • Skewer each strawberry through the stem, just enough that it’s placed securely but without piercing the other end of the strawberry.
  • Once the chocolate is melted, dip each strawberry into the chocolate.
  • Stand each skewered dipped strawberry in a heavy glass, tall enough that it doesn’t touch the chocolate or any container you have available that will help the chocolate set without damaging the outer chocolate on each strawberry. (When I run out of heavy glass, I used a baking dish and strategically placed 3 tape strip to it to weave the skewers through and keep it secure while the chocolate sets.) Letting it set in the fridge speeds up the process. I let them set while I got ready for our Mother’s Day outing.


  • Once the chocolate set, remove the skewer on each strawberry and deposit a chocolate covered strawberry onto a cupcake liner each.
  • Place each filled cupcake liner in the gift boxes of your choice for a prettier presentation.
  • And voila! That is all there is to it.

Here’s another DIY gift I made for them:


This Ube Halaya Jam cost me $10 to make, plus time. How much am I worth hourly? – as the book I read Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier asked me. Do you know how much you are worth hourly yet? Find my recipe for Ube Halaya Jam here. I cut little bite-size pieces of this and deposited it onto a cupcake liner as well and sprinkled it with powdered sugar. I set them in a a makeshift gift box for gift presentation. I might just have a vegan catering business in my future as a side hustle to accrue me some investing money. The book did a great job convincing me to start investing. Food for thought.

Budget-friendly tip for DIY gift-giving

  • Keep an eye out for after seasonal or occasion sale. The boxes I used were bought last Valentine’s Day from Target. Pick a design that can pass for other occasions.
  • Pinterest has a lot of DIY ideas posted. I didn’t really need to look for mine though, I just happened to have all the ingredients and decided last minute to make them. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Shhh. Don’t tell my fam. I got busy with my week-long birthday celebration. Haha
  • If you have a dish that a fam member love, make it for them instead of buying a ready-made gift. I gifted my sister homemade vegan Kare-Kare and vegan Chocolate Cake for her birthday this year, at a fraction of a cost that I would have spent shopping for a pre-made gift at a store. She kept and ate it all to herself, last I heard. Haha Vegan versions of the food we ate growing up is not very easily accessible here. It’s nearly priceless. She loved it! And best of all, I love that I am giving her something she absolutely appreciates.
  • Fruits and vegetables are perishables and buying them too far in advance will spoil them before preparation and gifting, so it’s best to buy them a day or two in advance. Check out the grocery stores fliers online to check out the sale in your area to maximize the savings.

What we did on Mother’s Day

We went to a local place at Oceanfront and played shuffleboard at a place called Beachside Social. Tune in next post for our first experience there.

Final Words

Don’t underestimate the power of personalized DIY gifts. Gifts, such as food, brings families together – very true for my family, at least –  and while there are patience and time required to create a personalized gift, the work you put in to it is priceless and very much appreciated. And it doesn’t have to necessarily be food, it can be art -which my kids are good at – or other skills you pride yourself with. Just because you are a little skimped on money, doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t give an incredible gift.

Until next time.


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2 thoughts on “The joy of gift-giving on a budget”

  1. Yum, these look delicious! What a lovely thing to do, homemade treats are always so thoughtful and special. I love that you presented the chocolate strawberries in a cupcake box, it looks like you could buy it from a bakery, so professional! Thank you for sharing you tips and recipes, DIY gift giving is perfect for any occasion! Thanks for the inspiration and ideas 🙂 Fab post Daisy! <3 xx

    Bexa |

    1. Thank you, Bexa, for stopping by and leaving your mark on my blog. I am always looking for ways to extend the budget. So many fam and friends to gift too throughout the year! I have to get creative haha. Take care.

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