Day 19: Loving your neighbors — on a budget

You know all those wonderful things you’d like to do for your neighbors? Flowers when they are sick. Inviting them over for tea. Spoiling the kids a tiny bit.

It all takes money, and sometimes a tight budget makes it tough to be as generous as you’d like to be.

But I do have some suggestions…

loving your neighbors on a budget

loving your neighbor on a budget

Those flowers you’d like to take to the hospital? You could stop by a thrift store and buy a vase or a pot — maybe even something not originally designed to hold a plant. I bought one this week for $1.50 because all green tags were half off. If you have the space, you could grow an easy-to-propagate ivy or a spider plant and then your get well wishes would be very affordable, especially if you plan ahead and have one or two potted plants available all the time.

loving your neighbors on a budget

Interested in inviting someone over for tea or maybe a casual dinner with a friend and her husband? With three boys, I don’t always have extra glasses, much less extra place settings, and I don’t want to invest in more until the boys are a bit older and are able to be more gentle. So, I picked up seven place settings of vintage china for $15 at a thrift store. It was a small investment of money and storage space — and I won’t be upset when something gets broken.

If you are looking for ways to save time and money on meals, there are several Websites full of great ideas.

loving your neighbors on a budget

Need a small gift? I’m planning to have the boys paint these small wooden bowls and then use them to hold keys and jewelry but I got this idea from my very talented friend Alice — who shows you how to take this upcycling project to a chic new level.

loving your neighbors on a budget

If a jewelry holder isn’t the right gift, consider browsing your recycling bin for free glass jars. Most labels come off easily with hot water and then you can fill them with cookies or beautiful handmade projects like these.

loving your neighbors on a budget

My family loves Story Cubes, where you roll the cubes and use whatever it lands on to create a story. I wanted to personalize the game a bit for a recent trip we took to the Adirondacks, so I took camping stickers and added them to wooden blocks that I found at a craft store. Easy… and a great, inexpensive gift for kids!

What budget-friendly suggestions do you have for loving your neighbor?

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