Re-use, recycle

Recycle cards at Christmas or for other occasions. When you receive an attractive greeting card, clip off the side of the card with the artwork, then attach it to plain cardstock. Just write your personal greeting on the inside, and you've made a beautiful new card. "My mom never had enough money, and she used this method to successfully make years of lovely cards," said Penelope Johnson of Hopkins.

Food with thought

"Sharing food is an affordable way to show someone you care this holiday season, whether it's making a special dish or placing a personalized recipe in a holiday card," said Amanda Tempel of Minneapolis. "Want to add something extra to your homemade gift? Make a donation to a food shelf in honor of your loved one."

Make it personal

"A few Christmases ago, my sister-in-law hand-painted martini and wine glasses for my husband and I. She bought clear glasses at Target and crafted a beautiful [non-toxic] stained-glass pattern on the outside. The gift was no doubt inexpensive, but so gorgeous and personal! They're still my favorite glasses to use, even over my spendy Reidels," said Heather Voorhees of Apple Valley.

Share your tips

If you come from a thrifty family, you probably have all sorts of cost-conscious traditions. Please send us your tips for saving money at the holidays. We'll publish some of the best ideas every week from now until Dec. 24.

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