A Gift Guide on a Budget

‘Tis the season where you realize that you’re too broke to afford presents for all of your friends and family. For a moment, you prioritize everyone in your life: who will be the most upset if I don’t get them a present? The list is still too long, and you contemplate how long you can go without eating to be able to afford that cashmere sweater your mother has always wanted. Well fear not! Here are some gift ideas for people on a budget.

1. Framed Photo

One of my go-to presents, especially for my parents or a significant other, is finding a really nice picture of us, printing it out and putting it in a cute frame. It costs under a dollar to print out a normal sized photo, and you can find a cute frame for under $20 at any craft store. I usually go to Target to print my photos and then Michael’s to buy the frame. This present is meaningful and probably more thoughtful than just another piece of clothing or jewelry.

2. A Candle of Their Favorite Scent

I usually save this gift idea for my grandma. She loves the smell of flowers, so for Christmas last year, I got her a few different flower-scented candles from Target. She sends me pictures of her using them, saying that every time she does, she thinks of me. This is a very thoughtful gift because it shows that you know what the recipient likes. Candles from Target are usually under $10.

3. Homemade Coupons

Cut out some slips of paper and make a little coupon book. Write things like “This coupon gives you a trip to the movies with me,” or “This coupon entitles you to skip doing the dishes for the day.” This is a really neat idea that allows you to spend time with the person you’re giving it too, and it also allows you to do some nice things for them. My dad recently used this idea to give my mom coupons for trips to the casino. I guarantee she’s going to go through those quickly.

4. Gift Basket

No, it doesn’t have to be the baskets with fancy nuts and wine. Target has some really nice packages of hot chocolate and cute mugs or some chocolate and a little stuffed animal for under $20. Make sure to personalize the choice a little bit. If you know the person you have in mind loves coffee, maybe look for a package with some coffee and a nice mug. This shows you know what the other person likes, and it also gives them a couple different gifts all in one. I intend to use this idea for Secret Santa.

5. Gift Card

If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a gift card. Although it may seem impersonal, you can easily add that personal touch by knowing what that person likes. Maybe get them a gift card for their favorite restaurant, their favorite movie theater or their favorite store. Maybe they go to Starbucks every morning, so you get them a Starbucks' gift card. This is another inexpensive way to show someone that you know their interests.