Arts and Scraps Store  Manager Stevie Baki stands at the entrance of the community store, where patrons can check in and purchase a bulk-order bag.

Arts and Scraps Store Manager Stevie Baki stands at the entrance of the community store, where patrons can check in and purchase a bulk-order bag.

Photo by Jonathan Shead


Save money without sacrificing sentimental value

Experts offer ideas to make the most of this holiday season

By: Jonathan Shead | C&G Newspapers | Published December 21, 2020

METRO DETROIT — Many people feel the financial impact of COVID-19, but financial experts at Greenpath Financial Wellness believe that shouldn’t stop them from celebrating, sharing joy and making this season special.

Greenpath Financial Wellness Program Manager Dusti Young said saving some funds and spreading even more cheer than years before is entirely possible if people plan ahead to be intentional.

“We know that spending can be emotional, so one of the challenges we are absolutely facing (this year) is people are making up for the fact that they can’t travel to be with family or can’t enjoy that time they’d normally spend with someone,” Young said. “Shoppers may end up buying more impulsively or end up spending more time online. They might be succumbing to the other stresses in life and using shopping to cope.”

While shopping for others this holiday season shouldn’t be looked at negatively, no matter your personal financial circumstances, Young added, she urges everyone to be intentional about the ways they’re choosing to spend their money.

“We don’t want them to end up having buyer’s remorse or feeling bad about the fact that they did spend. The best way for them to take a proactive approach is to make a holiday budget. Create a list for who you want to buy for and what you’re planning to spend.”

Young said this season is a great opportunity to redefine what a gift is and save some money at the same time.

“I think what people have learned during the pandemic is that connection is more important than things,” she said. “A lot of times, we give gifts because it’s the tradition and it’s expected, but that’s not what people remember. What people remember is how you made them feel. What they remember is that experience they had with you.”

One experience some people grew to love this past year was getting outdoors, which could be given next year through a Huron-Clinton Metroparks annual pass.

“Giving the gift of the outdoors is great because it allows people to experience the outdoors for an entire year. It’s not a gift that you use once and throw away,” Metroparks Chief of Marketing and Communication Danielle Mauter said. “As we all saw this year with the pandemic, being able to get outside and improve your mental and physical health is really beneficial for everybody. This is a great way to give people that gift of being able to improve themselves.”

Annual metroparks passes are currently being sold at a discounted rate of $35 until Dec. 31, at which time they will increase to $40 for residents and $45 for nonresidents. Mauter said park-goers can expect a full slate of programs coming up in the winter season, including winter guided hikes, winter birding programs, maple sugaring demonstrations and more. The Metroparks also offer gift cards that can be used to pay for programming, golf rounds and other rentals.

For more information, visit metroparks.com.

Another way families can save money and share memories this year is by getting creative with an art project. At Arts and Scraps in Detroit, Store Manager Stevie Baki said their store has an abundance of recycled offerings to choose from and create with.

Customers can find anything — recycled stationery, picture frames and magazines, fabrics and recycled furniture, used board games, glassware and other miscellaneous knick-knacks — at the store, all for cheap. Customers can purchase whatever they can fit into a small paper bag for $4.50 or a large paper bag for $8.

“Really what we encourage is people make an appointment at our store, come in and gather stuff to make whatever creative project you could possibly want. You can kind of suit it to whoever you want to give the gift to,” they said, adding that the store is currently selling individual pre-made gifts on their Instagram account, Detroit Community Store, for anywhere from $5 to $20.

Not only does buying from Arts and Scraps help the environment by purchasing recycled goods, but it can also help you create a memory you won’t forget this holiday season, Baki said.

“You’re creating a memory and an experience that you’re going to share with your family. While gifts and objects are loving and caring for someone, it’s not the same thing as creating something you get to remember year after year.”

For more information, visit artsandscraps.org. More holiday financial wellness tips can be found online at greenpath.com or via Greenpath’s social media accounts.