7 Thrifty Gift Ideas

The holidays are approaching once again, and many of us are beginning the sometimes strenuous task of figuring out what to get our friends and family this year. Gift-giving is something I love to do, but I also find it stressful at times. We all have that family member that won’t tell you what they want but gets mad if you don’t get them anything. My whole family is made up of that family member. Because of this, I like to make sure that the gifts I get for my loved ones are both practical and thoughtful. But like many of us, I am also on a tight budget.

A few years ago, I started shopping second-hand more and more, and it was through my thrifting adventures that I discovered the expansive gift potential of second-hand stores. The following is a list of great gift ideas that are environmentally conscious, practical and that won’t break the bank.



One thing I’ve found that most thrift stores have in common is their wide array of mugs. At many of these stores, you can find everything from vintage mugs to mugs with witty or cheesy sayings on them. You’re almost always guaranteed to find something that suits anyone in your life. You can’t go wrong with buying a cute or endearingly tacky mug for the coffee or tea lover in your life.


Photo by Chris Scott



Maybe this is an obvious one, but clothing is always a great thrifted gift option. Specifically, sweaters are something of which you can find a great variety at most thrift stores. The awesome thing about sweaters are their practicality – they will keep your loved ones warm in the cold months and you don’t even have to know their exact size, because a large-fitting sweater is always extra comfy. Like mugs, you can find sweaters that are trendy or cute, or you can use this as an opportunity for a joke gift by finding a sweater with a funny logo or catchphrase on it.


Photo by Remy Loz



Do you have any vinyl fans in your life? The thrift store is a perfect place to go for their gift. Many thrift stores have a record section, and there are even whole stores devoted to selling used records. Lots of times you can find vintage favorites for a really good price!


Photo by Annie Theby



Know someone with a huge purse collection? Backpacks, purses and other types of handbags are a perfect gift to buy second-hand. The thrift store is a great place for cool finds like brand name or vintage bags.


Photo by Aden Ardenrich



You can never really go wrong with a practical gift, and thrift stores are full of them. They have everything from cookware to electronics to paintings and picture frames. You can furnish a whole house with some of the hidden gems you can spot at many second-hand stores. It may take some time to look through all of the household items that these stores have, but it’s worth it when you find a vintage tea set or a super inexpensive coffee table!


Photo by Brooke Cagle



Second-hand books are a great gift idea for the bookworm in your life. Most thrift stores have a book section, but you can also check out your local second-hand bookstore. You can find everything from intriguing nonfiction reads to vintage literature, so no matter who you’re shopping for, chances are you can find something that they will want to read.


Photo by Clem Onojeghuo



Another section where a good thrifter can find hidden gems (sometimes literally) is in the jewelry section. Thrift stores are a great place to find vintage, unique or handmade jewelry for a low price. You can find everything from rings to earrings to necklaces for a steal.


Photo by Artem Bali


This holiday season, check out a local thrift store to find gifts that are inexpensive and one-of-a-kind. If shopping second-hand overwhelms you, bring a friend along or check out my previous article on second-hand shopping tips. In the end, your loved ones – and your bank account – will thank you.