Pennies for probates

Tis the season for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and probates. You just received a call from a mysterious digit of whom you think you know their identity. You’re furiously typing in the wikipedia search box for the official colors, symbols, and motto of that person’s organization. Once you’ve gathered all the necessary materials and information, you’re ready to put together a profile picture worthy probate gift. You head to the various Greek stores and everything suitable is over $40. Michael’s is the next stop and their prices are just as bad.

Your financial aid has been depleted, rent and utilities have to be paid, and an old parking ticket is holding up your spring registration. What’s a college student to do? Be cheap and buy your friend a card after all the blood, sweat, and tears they shed? Or buy a hand crafted, expensive paddle and see how long you can dodge the landlord? Listed below are a couple options you can use to make your friend’s special day memorable, while you stay on a budget.

Frame it!: Probates showcase the new line. It’s a one time affair. People will be taking pictures and there will be a great shot of your friend poised at just the right moment. That instant can be put right on their bookshelf. Once those pictures hit facebook, save your favorite one to something with removable storage (I.e. a flash drive) and print it at the nearest Walgreens or CVS. Single prints are really cheap. Michael’s has wooden frames for one dollar. You can buy paint almost anywhere. The Dollar store has spray paint for a dollar, Michael’s has 99 cent acrylic paints, and Wal-Mart also has reasonably priced paints. If you don’t trust your handwriting to a paintbrush, there are alphabet stickers that come in an array of colors and fonts. There are also animal wooden cut outs at Michael’s. Find the organization’s symbol and paste that to the top of the frame. Wood glue or super glue works and is about two dollars. Voila! You have something artistic, practical, and overall affordable.

Box it!: After the probate, your friend is going to have a plethora of cards, balloons, and small trinkets. They can’t put everything on the new Ikea wooden bookshelf that they bought especially for their “shrine.” Why not help your friend out and make a memory box? If you want to make a small box for tiny gifts, like pins, or purely for decoration, Michael’s has small paper-mache boxes for a dollar. Paint the box the colors of the organization and add the Greek letters, call (the noise made when identifying another member), or number of the person at the top. There are larger boxes, but based on your budget, it may not be in your price range. They aren’t terribly expensive, though. If you want to go with a larger box but don’t want to buy one, you can take a sturdy shoe box and cover it with wrapping paper. You can find a patterned roll at the Dollar store. Since the pattern may be busy, you can do something unique with the inside. You can place a quote about the organization or from a notable member of the organization at the bottom of the box or inside the lid. You can type it in a document, put it in a cute font, and print it. Then, you can mount the quote on construction paper. Now, your friend will have an adorable memory box to keep memorabilia and you made it on a budget!

Wear it!: Probates offer the chance for spectators to get crazy when their friends cross. Make a shirt in support of your friend! Wal-Mart and Michael’s have plain, single, crew neck t-shirts for about two to five dollars. If you’re small, you can buy a youth size which is cheaper. And if it’s a group of friends supporting a new member, buy a pack of shirts to decorate. The dollar store has alphabet stencils and you can use puffy paint from Wal-Mart to write on the shirts. If you’re not good at stencils, you can buy iron-on letters. The only downside about iron-on letters is there are a limited amount of letters, so you may have to substitute a ‘5′ for an ‘s.’ Iron-ons are also more expensive. The great part about a shirt is that it can be used in multiple ways. You can take a picture of you in your shirt and your newly initiated friend and put it in a frame. You can also write a wholehearted message on the back of the shirt and stick it in the memory box you made. It’s versatile, practical, and reasonably priced.