By: Karli Banas
Finding gifts that show your appreciation for the people in your life can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but especially when you have a limited budget to work with. So, we’ve taken the time to compile some affordable ideas for everyone on your list.
Parents and grandparents tend to prefer gifts that are more sentimental than elaborate. Personalized gifts using family photos are a great choice. Items such as calendars, magnets, blankets, phone cases, and more can easily be personalized with photos that bring back happy memories. Websites like Shutterfly offer great deals but there is another way to make these gifts even more affordable: split the cost with your siblings and give a group gift.
For those who prefer to give something even more personal, handmade ornaments are a great choice. They can be constructed from a variety of materials left over from other projects, making them extremely affordable. But even more, the new ornaments become a part of the ongoing family traditions for decades to come.
For friends and roommates, a gift that shows how well you know them will be a big hit. Consider their preferences in terms of favorite colors, sports, hobbies, music, tv shows and movies, etc. Items like a customized Starbucks cup or something that features their favorite artist or sports team are great options. Many small businesses offer custom items for cheaper prices than large retailers. Etsy is a great place to start looking for inexpensive custom gifts.
A basket with their favorite snacks, self-care products like face masks and bath bombs, and other miscellaneous items like stickers and socks also make thoughtful and affordable options. Places like the dollar store, Five Below, and the dollar section at Target have a good selection of these items for low prices.
Significant others are what many would consider the hardest to shop for, due to the pressure. When gifting a partner, it’s important to choose something that is meaningful. And remember, gifts don’t have to be material. Buying tickets for both of you to attend a concert, sporting event, art exhibit, or other event allows you to spend time together.
Another way to show you care is by paying attention. If your partner has had their eye on something for a while, but hasn’t gotten it yet, it is touching to receive the item from you. The same thing applies for something they need. Either way, it shows you pay attention.
Coworkers and teammates can be a bit of a gray area. In some cases, they are close friends. If you have a teammate or coworker with whom you are close, it’s best to follow the suggestions above, in the friends and roommates’ section. But whatever you give them, it’s important to give it privately and not in front of other teammates or coworkers who may feel left out.
If you include the whole group, it’s best to get everyone a small inexpensive gift like a treat bag. For a festive touch, you could place the gifts in stockings which you could also decorate with names, jersey numbers, and other personal touches. The bag or stocking can be filled with small items like candy, Chapstick, hand creams and sanitizers, etc. You should try to keep the items the same, but the flavors and scents don’t have to be the same for each person. If you have concerns about not knowing allergies/dietary restrictions, a safer option could be giving a small decoration such as an ornament or a card with a $5-10 gift card.
Siblings’ gifts should be selected based on their lifestyle and interests. If they recently purchased new devices, accessories such as Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and cases are great options that are available at a variety of retailers and at different price points. Record players are popular gifts for music lovers and come in a variety of colors, sizes, and prices,and can be bought second hand. If your brother or sister is a homeowner, Ring doorbells, kitchen gadgets, and home décor items are great options. You can also make décor yourself to add a personal touch. Other gift options for the people who used to pick on you can include makeup and beauty products, smartwatches, video games and controllers, clothing and shoes, bags and accessories, and gift cards to their favorite stores and restaurants.
Extended family is a group for which gifts can vary. If you have extended family members you are close with you may consider following the friend, sibling, or parent guidelines above. If you are not as close with the family members a gift card to one of their favorite places might be a safer option (social media is a good place to find hints if unsure of places).
If you have a long list of family members to buy gifts for, try to stick with inexpensive basics. Items like blankets, hats, slippers, fuzzy socks, mugs, etc. are great options and can be tailored to the recipient in terms of things like colors and patterns. Amazon, Walmart, and Five Below have affordable options. There are also many deals on gift sets during this time of year for things like cosmetics and stationery that can be found at places like Target, ULTA, and Macy’s.
Young Children have so many gift options that finding something meaningful for them can be a little overwhelming. Books are a good option that is sometimes overlooked. Children’s books are sold in a variety of stores, and it is not hard to find some that fit a child’s interest. Kids love Board games, too, and there are numerous ones for every age group. Arts and crafts kits are a great gift that allows children to grow and explore their creativity. A great way to save money: give the kids any of your old books or games that are still in good condition. It’s green; it preserves your green, and it is that much more intimate to give a possession you once cherished.