Holidays on a budget can be lots of fun — with these inexpensive, creative and personal gifts.

Holiday Shopping ListSome people say holidays on a budget are only half the fun.

I completely disagree.

While it’s certainly not more fun to have less money, giving personal and sincere gifts that cost you less than $15 can sometimes be easier than finding expensive presents that have as much meaning for both (s)he who gives and (s)he who receives.

Among my favorite holidays gifts ever came from my high school friend Sarah. At school in late November she made sure to have at least one picture taken (on her camera) of herself and a friend. In December, she simply developed the photos, bought each of her friends a 3 x 5 inch frame, and for probably less than $6 per person was able to give each of her close friends a framed photo I’m sure we all still have.

Frames of all kinds can turn almost any souvenir of a memorable experience into a personal present. If you attended a concert, play or ballgame with a friend and still have the program, a 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 inch frame (basic wood and silver-plate styles are almost always less than $10) can make the paper keepsake permanent. Ticket stubs rubber-cemented onto a simple cut of background paper can look phenomenal in a small frame, as can a collage of words and images that have meaning for you and your friend.

If your friends are the types of people who would rather collect souvenirs than display them, you could decorate wood boxes for them to hold their keepsakes in. Unfinished wood boxes are available at any craft store or comprehensive stationery store for $3 to $10, depending on the size of the box. Paint, brushes, stencils and protective lacquers are sold at craft and art stores, and a whole set of supplies shouldn’t cost more than $10. (Decorating boxes is most cost effective if you plan to do a few using the same materials.)

Tips for getting rid of your dirty laundry
   
Laundry on college campusUnless you want your clothes to get really funky — and we’re not talking about fashion here — you have to do laundry on a regular basis. Your friends and neighbors will all be a lot happier if you do. If you’ve never done your own before, or if you need a brush-up on good techniques, here are the basics you need to know to do laundry right.

Keep ’em separated
You probably know that your bright reds can’t go in the washing machine with your white undershirts — but in case you don’t, here’s the first thing you need to know about doing laundry: separate your clothes according to color.

Sarah Grubb, a senior from Lindenwood University in Missouri says she separates her reds from the lights (whites, yellows) and darks (blacks, dark blues). Reds are more likely than any other colors to invade clothes of other colors.

Another important group to separate from your general laundry pile are clothes that need to be dry-cleaned. “Separate your dry-cleaning by looking at the tags,” says laundry expert Vicki McDonald (okay, she’s my mom, but did my laundry for a long time). If you don’t separate the dry clean only stuff, “Your clothes will be destroyed; they will crumple up and fall apart,” she says.

You can also separate by water temperature. Whites go in hot water, dark heavy clothes like jeans go in warm, and your nice blouses and button-up shirts should go in cold.