3 Easy and Simple Gifts when Finances are Tight

3 Easy and Simple Gifts when Finances are Tight

Easy and simple gifts? Giving gifts together – what’s your strategy as husband and wife?

Sure, you’d delight to give your loved ones their hearts’ desires with money as no barrier… Rob and I would like to do that too. However, your finances as a husband and wife team might not support what you’d wish to give as Christmas or a birthday approaches.

In truth, those who you love don’t care what you give them – your presence would be gift enough. But what if you can’t even give that? The holidays can be a bittersweet event when we’re feeling bound by circumstance. What can you do to make these days more sweet than bitter?

There are still easy and simple gifts you can give as a husband and wife team, even if you’re in a tight spot.

3 easy and simple gifts when finances are tight.

Rob and I have had to do a bit of brainstorming this season. The way we would choose to celebrate with our loved ones isn’t the way it’ll work out. (Unless our loving God changes circumstances.) Here are three of the easy and simple gifts we came up with:

1 – Pray as a husband & wife team for those you love.

We forget sometimes what a beautiful gift praying for one another can be. No matter age or stage, those we love have needs where only God can make a difference. There’s still time to ask those you love about their needs, and then spend time each day, as husband and wife, praying for them. Start now.

Prayer has no cost. And the gift of intercession for your loved ones lasts into eternity.

Begin simply if you’ve never prayed together before. Here’s a post on how to easily do that. And if you need help remembering to fit prayer into your day (because we’re all busy right now), then try some of these ideas!

2 – Use technology to visit those you love. Make a date.

And as the special day comes closer, whether it’s Christmas or a birthday or some other occasion, arrange a time to connect. If you can visit in person that’s perfect. Otherwise draw close to each other via a Facetime, Zoom or Skype video call. Even a telephone call with that person can be valuable. Talking and sharing are easy and simple gifts.

When you’re together – pray together. And share a cup of tea or coffee and a cookie or cake on both ends. Do those things you’d do if you were together. Share photos. Tell a story. Talk about how much you value and appreciate your loved one. Play a game. Be creative.

As an aside: Our son just purchased a Virtual Reality headset – the technology is still new, but when we tried it Rob and I could see the possibilities… Maybe within a few years, we’ll be able to use this VR technology to “sit” with those far away, as though we’re in the same room. I can’t explain the extraordinarily immersive experience of VR. You really need to try it to understand. It’s truly amazing!

3 – Share a warm gift delivered to their door.

When distance separates you and your loved ones, there is still the opportunity to mail or ship a little something. However, if finances are a challenge then you also need to be aware of shipping/mailing costs. Rob and I need to mail items across the US border, so the costs skyrocket if we’re not careful.

As I mentioned, we did some brainstorming and came up with something those we love will appreciate, we can “share” the experience with them, and the shipping costs will be minimal. See? Easy and simple gifts. Guess what it is?


I ordered a variety of tea flavors from Stash Tea and made little easy and simple gifts to open. 

Tea bags are light, and if they’re packaged correctly they’ll easily fit into an envelope. The mailing costs will be minimal, but the enjoyment will last for days! And behind every tea bag in their own little envelope, I added a Scripture verse to encourage and surprise. God is faithful.  All things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. These are good reminders for all of us!

Now we can have our long-distance visit via technology, while all of us sip our tea!

Below the image are the instructions if you want to try your hand at these easy and simple gifts! Keep Scrolling!

Christmas Gift to Share - 3 Easy and Simple Gifts to Give when finances and distance are a barrier - Encourage Your Spouse

Here’s a craft to try – even for those who aren’t “crafty”. 😉

You’ll need one 12×12 cardstock, three pieces of 8.5×11 decorative paper, 6 Scripture verses printed (see below for 2 PDFs to download), glue, scissors, a decorative punch for the embellishment and little sticky foam dots.

  1. Cut the 12×12 cardstock to 8.5×11. Use the leftover strip to cut out 6 embellishments to put on the outside of each envelope.
  2. Cut each of the 8.5×11 decorative paper pieces (not cardstock) into two 5.5inchx5.5inch pieces. With the leftover strips punch out 4 embellishments – you’ll be gluing two embellishments into the inside of each envelope.
  3. Fold a 5.5×5.5 inch piece of decorative paper around one tea bag to begin making the envelope. (You’ll eventually glue each envelope onto the cardstock.) Turn the 5.5×5.5 paper like a diamond, fold the sides first, then the top and bottom. See the photo below. Do this with all 6 pieces of 5.5×5.5 decorative paper you’ve cut out.Easy and simple gifts - how to make a surprise tea envelope
  4. In the middle of each 5.5×5.5 envelope glue on two embellishments and a scripture verse. Place the tea bag into the envelope and refold it with the Tea bag inside. Use one of the cardstock embellishments (the same as the cardstock you will be gluing the envelope onto) and use the little sticky foam circles to secure the envelope closed. One foam circle at the top of the circle and one at the bottom so they secure the top and bottom fold closed. Do this with all 6 envelopes. I found it’s easier to open the envelope with these foam circles than using glue.
  5. Glue the 6 envelopes to the 8.5×11 cardstock. You’re done!Surprise Tea Gift - Easy and Simple Gifts to make when finances are tight.

When your recipient opens the envelope they find a different tea bag every time,

and a difference Scripture verse to encourage them!

Click to download the first 6 Scripture

and click AGAIN HERE for the second page of 6 Scripture options


Here’s the embellishment punch I used – It’s called the Fiskars X-Large Squeeze Punch, Seal of Approval

and a paper cutter/trimmer is handy to use instead of scissors if you’re at all like me and can’t seem to cut a straight line!


Take a look at STASH TEA

So many varieties of tea – something for everyone! (Even those who say they don’t like tea!)

This post contains affiliate links – this means that should you choose to purchase any items, then Rob and I would receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for your support! 


Make Memories in 2018 – Don’t add to your stuff!

Make Memories in 2018 – Don’t add to your stuff!

Make memories – don’t add to your stuff. Living in 282 square feet for more than three years has taught Robert and me that we don’t need as much stuff as we might believe we do…  but the memories we’ve made over the last years are priceless.

I encourage you and your spouse to think about what you could give to each other, your family and friends that would increase their “memory bank” – not their clutter.

Make Memories in 2018

What gifts could you give to your family, spouse, and friends that are designed to make memories? Try these!

1 – Classes or lessons to learn a new skill.

Ask a few questions to determine if there are any skills your spouse has always wanted to learn but hasn’t taken the time to explore. Consider:

  • horse-back riding
  • gourmet cooking
  • scuba diving, sailing or paddle boarding
  • rock climbing or parachuting
  • chocolate making
  • photography or videography
  • flower arranging or pottery making
  • yarn or fabric work – knitting, crochet, sewing, weaving, etc.
  • sports – golf, tennis, racketball, swimming, kick-boxing etc.
  • dance – swing, ballroom, line-dancing, etc.
  • computer skills – html, css, website design, etc.
  • writing – fiction stories or a book, or a children’s picture book
  • gardening – raising vegetables, nurturing orchids or succulents, herbs, etc.
  • landscaping – adding a pond, or rock walls, a putting green or orchard to your space
  • music – learning an instrument or joining an ensemble, or group to sing
  • health and fitness – tai chi, heart-healthy cooking, yoga, lifestyle makeover, etc.

Instead of adding stuff to your space, why not make some memories together while taking a class? You could attend something local or use YouTube or a streaming service!

Grokker is a valuable site with lessons in some of the above areas. Get unlimited Grokker Videos for 14 Days to try it out!
Free Basic Membership Available

Use the 1 to 10 Test!

When Rob and I want to see how the other feels about a certain activity, we ask each other…

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel about ______”

If you use the 1-10 Test to determine how your spouse feels about a certain activity, you’ll be much more likely to hone in on a winner!

Take it one step further – ask if your children & friends want to join you in making memories!

You don’t need to do these things with only you and your spouse. (Although that’s always fun, too!)  Invite others to join you! We’ve had some really fun times with other couples and their children.

2 – Memberships

What about the gift of regular explorations? Consider memberships at:

  • museums, and art galleries
  • sports, historical or theme parks
  • national or state parks

Having a family membership for a year at a park or museum means you can gather with your family and friends on a regular basis for a low-cost memory-making event. It takes the planning and cost off the table, and just allows you and those you love to explore!

One of the best things we ever did with our children when they were pre-teens was to have a membership to the Ontario Science Center. Another family also bought their year-round membership and though it was an hour away, we’d go exploring monthly. Our children (and the other family’s children) are now adults, but it remains one of their favorite memories. When our son and family visited Canada he even added an excursion to the Science Center to share those memories with his wife and baby boy. Memories are priceless and continue to add to the legacy you leave as parents!

3 – Gift Cards

Now, I’m not talking about the generic Walmart or Target or Amazon gift card… (although everyone does appreciate receiving those too!)

What about a gift card to a movie or a favorite ice cream shop, or to play a round of mini-golf, or bowling? Think about a favorite restaurant or a symphony experience. Make a memory with an event!

Groupon is often a great resource when looking for an event style gift card.

We love to make memories with our adult children and grandboy!making memories - ferguson 6

4 – Subscription service for consumable delights!

With this kind of gift think about the five senses – and you can arrange for gifts for more than the holiday season…

  • monthly flowers  – delight your spouse with a bouquet of flowers from Bouq’s 

Bouqs 728x90


  • Wine! Rob and I have tried a new startup called Bright Cellars. It’s a wine subscription that helps you learn what kind of wines you like. It alleviates that deer-in-the-headlights feeling when looking at aisles and aisles of wine in the store – we wrote about the idea here.

Take the Bright Cellars quiz and discover wine you love!

Here’s a video of our daughter-in-love unboxing our first order!

Increase your memories – not your stuff!

These are just a few ideas for things to give to your loved ones to make memories in 2018. Some of them are affiliate links, which mean Rob and I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Have you tried any other “memory making” experiences that had a great impact?  Leave a comment and share!

ideas to make memories with your spouse and family - not clutter


Celebrate Today – Anniversary Words to Encourage

Celebrate Today – Anniversary Words to Encourage

Celebrate today. Even if it’s not your anniversary today, do you still have something to celebrate… today? 😉 I’m guessing you do!

Every decade has been a very different ride for Rob and me, and so far, our third decade of marriage has had a few more downs than ups. We’re only through a third of the decade, so hopefully, we’ll experience some “ups” in the next years. But even if we don’t, there are always things to celebrate. Always.

Celebrate Today

What could you celebrate today?  

  • Holding hands. That’s a big thing to celebrate. In fact, it feels odd for Rob and me if we’re walking together and do not hold hands!  What about you and your spouse? When was the last time you held hands? A few years ago I wrote a post on The Happy Wives Club about the importance of our hands as husband and wife. I told a story about a couple we interviewed who were married for 53 years and what I remember most about them was that they held hands all the time! Now, that’s something to celebrate, huh?
  • Sharing a conversation about memories. Do not underestimate the value of your history together. You have shared life together with your spouse for years… and those years are a blessing. We spoke with a couple recently who reminisced about an anniversary where they went through every year in their conversation and could highlight at least one good memory from that year. (They’re married 35 years!) That’s a great conversation to have with your spouse. Celebrate your good memories!
  • Your shared relationships with others. Begin counting the relationships you share – as husband and wife – with others. Make a list. Consider the rich impact those relationships have on your life, and how you also could impact those other important people in your life. Do you have “couple friends”? (We discussed this concept in one of our videos earlier this year from a book review.) Research has shown that the more couple friends you have, the greater sense of satisfaction you have with your life. What about a relationship with your parents, siblings, and children? Adult children are awesome! Perhaps it’s time to reach out to the people in these relationships and celebrate with them!

What you can celebrate today is much more than you believe at first glance.

And even if life isn’t all diamonds and roses, take a moment to consider all the blessings you can celebrate! Then say to your spouse, 

“Although our wedding day was many years ago, I’m so thankful we’re still celebrating today!”

celebrate today - thankful we're still celebrateing today - words to encourage

This post is the 5th of 10 posts on words to encourage your spouse on your anniversary – or anytime! Encouragement isn’t always about words… but sometimes it can start with words! Here are the other posts – just click on the photo to read the ideas and suggestions.

Love each other more - encouraging words for your anniversary or anytime




We Make It All Work – Anniversary Words to Encourage

We Make It All Work – Anniversary Words to Encourage

We make it all work – together!

With God’s help and grace, of course. 

Alone – without God – it’s a hit or miss thing.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

God doesn’t give up on us. We are given grace over and over and over and over…  He loves us and we love Him. He has called us. We seek His purpose for our lives.

God brought the two of you together. 

Oh, we know that it’s not all good stuff in your life. We know you’re struggling. Rob and I are too! Some parts of our lives have a lot of room for improvement. A lot!

But, we can’t give up.

We need to make it all work.

Husbands and wives need to work together to make it all work.

Write the stories of God’s goodness on your hearts.

Remind each other of all the times God has been gracious to you. Tell the stories so your children and friends know how God has shown up in your lives. Write those stories down.

The post, “Encouraging Your Spouse in a Time of Disappointment” is part of our story as husband and wife. I wrote it at an intense moment in our life, then, two years later I went back and added what happened after those intense three days. Someday I will be completely candid and write the whole story to show God’s goodness. He’s still working out the final chapters, so I have to wait to tell you. But Rob and I aren’t giving up. I’m here for Rob. Here’s here for me. We are together. And through God’s grace, we are able to find a way to make it all work – together. We’re not giving up.

What about you?

Don’t give up!

Make a pledge to your spouse that you won’t give up. With God’s grace and love, He will provide what’s necessary to make it all work so you can say,

Our marriage is great because we care enough to find a way to make it all work – together!We make it all work - together.

We make it all work – together – is the 4th in 10 posts!

These are a series of posts for your anniversary, or anytime! Rob and I seek to encourage husbands and wives to lead meaningful lives. Celebrating milestones along the way is one part of a meaningful life. Here are the other posts (Just click on the pictures).

Happy Anniversary – You come first!

Happy Anniversary – You come first!

Happy Anniversary – You come first! Could you say your spouse gets your best without her or him snorting or guffawing with derision?

Does your spouse have the best of you – before any other human being? Before the children? Just consider – children grow up and go to live their own lives. You and your spouse started together and before you know it, it’ll be just the two of you again. And that’s a good thing. Really! 

What about grandchildren? Could your spouse say that he or she comes before the grandchildren in your heart? That’s a hard question in our life right now. 😉  That grandboy has us wrapped around his little finger!

Is your spouse more important than work commitments? Yes, I know we all need to earn enough for the necessities of life, however, work can become an addiction. An obsessed spouse can’t give their best.

Just let me…”  At times the work which can take preference has nothing to do with earning money. Work could be cleaning, or crafting, or computer time. It’s all justifiable. But does work (in whatever form) take precedence over time with your spouse? Just asking…

Leftover or the Best?

What happens when you give your time to other things before your spouse? The leftovers aren’t worth much. Your spouse gets much less than your best.

Although it isn’t always practical for your spouse to have your first attention – it is good to give your spouse your best!

You Come First

How do you show your spouse that he or she comes first before any other human? Maybe it can’t be with your time if this is an overwhelming season. But let’s do some brainstorming here…

Move toward each other – You Come First!

It took years for me to understand I have a Christian obligation to continually move toward my wife.  I thought that as long as I didn’t attack my wife or say cruel things to her, I was a “nice” husband, but the opposite of biblical love isn’t hate, it’s apathy.  To stop moving toward our spouse is to stop loving him or her.  It’s holding back from the very purpose of marriage. 

from Gary Thomas’ book, “Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?”

Just so we understand each other, Rob and I feel that God as the center of your life is key to a successful marriage, and for every other part of life. When we talk about putting your spouse before any other human being, we also want to encourage you to center all your life around God. Let Him and His Son be your focus like the sun is the center of the universe. Worship God together. After all, He gave you your spouse to love!

you come first - let's give each other our very best in this next year - encouraging words for your anniversary or anytime

This is the third of ten ideas on what to say – and do – to make your anniversary special.

Click the picture to read the accompanying post!

Click the picture below to read the post with all the ideas!Love each other more - encouraging words for your anniversary or anytime