3 budget-friendly, DIY holiday gift ideas from a financial expert

Shopping during the holiday season can be a serious strain on wallets. Those new boots you were saving up for? Forget about them -- you've got gifts to buy, and probably for a laundry list of people.

We decided to consult one of the savviest women we could think of, self-made financial wiz Elle Kaplan, on how to get through the season of gifting without draining our bank accounts. She came up with 3 easy, handmade solutions that'll barely cost anything.

Read on for Elle's easy and budget-friendly handmade gift solutions.

1. I gift (and love!) homemade lotion bars. I call them "Hard Lotion" -- think small bar you can place in your purse or travel with. Try my recipe here:
  • 1/3 Coconut Oil, 1/3 Shea Butter, 1/3 Beeswax. I also add a touch of vitamin E oil or lavender oil.
Over a double boiler, heat all three ingredients (1 cup of each) and once they are melted remove from the heat. Add the essential oil and place in silicone baking cups or any fun mold (hearts, flowers -- as creative as you want.) Allow them to cool. Enjoy or wrap in wax paper and give as gifts!

2. I infuse my own organic vodka with fresh ingredients -- everything from vanilla bean, to pineapple, to chili pepper. I label and package the vodka myself to give to friends. Infusing vodka is easy and fun and can be done in just a few steps:
  • Cut up pineapple (or any fruit, apple, strawberries- whatever you like!)
  • Place it in a container, pour in vodka
  • Let it sit for a week, and place it into pretty glass bottles
  • Add a personalized label and you're done!
3. A homemade gift shows the recipient that you not only thought of them, but gave the gift of time to create something unique and personal that was made with love. I also make chocolate chip cookies or homemade dog biscuits for my friend's pets.

Elle Kaplan is the CEO and Founding Partner of Lexion Capital Management. She lives in New York City.
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