Tight Budget Gift Ideas
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It’s the little things. When you’re on a tight budget, no one expects you to do anything extravagant. What they do want is to just know they’ve been thought of. We all wish we could just go to the mall and shop to our heart’s content. But, that’s not realistic for most during the holiday season. If you’re trying to find some ways to frugally spread some Christmas cheer and show love to friends, family and coworkers, check out our ideas below.
- Schedule a Zoom coffee (or hot chocolate) date with out-of-town friends. Your time is worth more than an expensive gift anyway. Send an assortment of hot chocolate or coffee to your friend (look for free shipping deals) and tell them to choose a time for your Zoom date. They’ll love that you thought enough of your friendship during this busy season to set aside time just for them.
- Drop off a Christmas card with some homemade goodies attached. The key here is to get Christmas cards on sale. We recommend stocking up after Christmas every year so you catch the best deals. Then, do the math. Don’t think “homemade” means cheaper. It doesn’t always. So if you find a recipe with minimal ingredients you think everyone will love, then go for it. If not, tying a bag of popcorn or a candy bar around your card might be just enough. Or, if you have kids, get them to create ornaments from salt dough or construction paper.
- Ship some holiday essentials from your favorite grocery store to friends, family or a local family in need. Might sound odd, but it’s a practical gift. Plus, since 2020, grocery stores are offering more and more grocery options delivered right to your door. This one is becoming a lot easier to accomplish!
- Pictures. Local, same-day print services such as Walgreens or CVS sometimes have great deals on photos and photo gifts. Sometimes you can even get free prints if you keep a close eye on your email. Pick up the cheapest 8×10 frames you can find (hint: Try the Dollar Tree), get an 8×10 print of one of your favorite memories and you quickly have a gift for under $5 that holds meaning for you both. Or, ask if they have any bound print options. You might be able to get 10-20 4×6 prints bound together for a minimal cost, no photo album needed.
- Give one of your favorite things. Have a favorite book? Get them the soft cover or a ebook gift card. Like to journal? Like having a succulent on your desk? Is there a kitchen utensil that’s changed your life? Find deals and share some of your favorite things with those you love.
- Give a donation in their honor. When you have someone to purchase for and they already have everything, choose a charity you know they care about and donate. Even if all you can give is $5, it’s a valued donation by those who receive.
- Give the gift of gift wrapping. (Hint: Again, head to the Dollar Tree!) We’ve all been there, you’re almost done wrapping gifts when you pull that last little strip of tape out. The frustration is real, so this is a welcomed gift, especially if it’s last minute. With $5 you can have tape, wrapping paper, 2 gift bags and some tissue paper. Package it together and you’ve got a practical, inexpensive, quick gift.
It can be humbling when you feel like you don’t have much to give, especially when social media can display extravagant giving this time of year. But, remember, your family and friends don’t need extravagance, they need you. So keep that in perspective this Christmas season.