Are you looking for ways to save money on gifts? I know from personal experience that it’s a struggle trying to show people how you feel while also trying to stay within budget.
I’ve compiled a list of 25 cheap gift ideas that won’t break the bank. For me, gifts are not about the amount of money someone spent. Gifts are symbols to show people that you care. Gifts do not have to be extravagent and expensive. Some of the most special gifts I’ve ever received are the most simple and heartfelt.
A few of my favorite gifts I’ve ever received are a framed baby footprint of my daughter’s foot, a hand-tied fleece blanket and a photo album from my wedding. I’m sure these gifts were not expensive but they are things that I treasure. When I give gifts to friends or family I want them to know that I care and I’m thinking of them. I don’t need them to fawn over the amount of money spent on the gifts.
A cheap gift is not any less thoughtful than an expensive gift
Some of these gift ideas may take some time to make but I think it’s worth it to save some money and still give a thoughtful gift. This list of cheap gift ideas is full of options that will work for almost anyone. Please let me know in the comments which is your favorite from this list.
Let’s get into the cheap gift ideas
1. Gardening essentials
Do you have a plant lover in your life? You can find a ton of gardening essentials at the Dollar Tree. You can also find inexpensive plants and accessories at Walmart or online. Grab a flower pot or a watering can and fill it with gardening gloves, seeds and small garden tools. You can also find a small plant and simply tie a nice ribbon around it. Any gardener or plant lover would appreciate this simple yet thoughtful gift.
2. A bottle of wine and a chocolate bar
This is one of my favorite cheap gift ideas. Do you know someone who would turn down a bottle of wine and a chocolate bar? Neither do I. Two great places to look for cheap wine are Aldi and Trader Joe’s. They have a great selection of affordable wine and sparkling wine. Trader Joe’s also has fun chocolate bar flavors that are only a few dollars. This gift is simple but it’s a great option especially if you’re rushed for time.
Looking for another cheap gift idea for when you’re in a rush? Lotto scratchers are a great idea. You can get a few different varieties. These may not be the most thoughtful gift but they are fun. Grab a few of these and some candy for an easy and fast gift idea.
4. Tea/Coffee gift set
This is a great option for the tea or coffee lover in your life. You can find a ton of stuff for this at the dollar store. Find a cute mug, some biscuit cookies, a small bag of coffee grounds or tea bags and some flavorings. Throw it all in a gift bag and you’ve got yourself a cheap gift that any coffee or tea lover would appreciate.
5. Personalized mug
Speaking of dollar store mugs. Find a plain mug or cup at the dollar store and customize it. You can add vinyl decals, stickers, paint or even personalize it with a sharpie. For a tutorial on how to decorate a mug with sharpies that won’t wash away click HERE. These cups can be used for drinking or you can make them to hold pens or makeup brushes. You can really get creative with this one.
6. DIY bath bombs or scrubs
Here’s a cheap gift idea for someone who loves self-care or spa nights. Did you know you can make your own bath bombs? You can customize these by changing up the colors, scents and shapes. For a tutorial on DIY bath bombs click HERE.
Find a cute jar at the dollar store and fill it with a DIY lip scrub or body scrub. There are tons of tutorials for easy scrubs that you can make yourself. Add a cute bow and maybe a little tag with the ingredients and you’ve got yourself a cute and thoughtful gift. You can find an easy DIY body scrub HERE and and easy DIY lip scrub HERE.
More cheap gift ideas…
7. Mani/Pedi gift set
Another idea for the spa-lover in your life is mani/pedi gift set. Again you can find most of the supplies you’ll need at the dollar store. Grab a cute jar and fill it with some nail polish, nail clippers, a nail file, cotton balls, nail stickers, polish remover or even a set of press-on nails. Again, this is a simple gift but the recipient is sure to appreciate the thought that went into this.
8. Custom edited video
This is a gift idea that is completely free! Create a video for someone special and edit it using a free editing software. If you have an iPhone, iPad or Apple computer this can be done completely free on iMovie. Take videos of people saying nice things about the person you’re celebrating or piece together pictures and videos from memories over the years. This is no doubt one of the most thoughtful gifts on this list. A gift as simple as this is sure to be remembered.
9. Macramé wall hanging or plant holder
Here’s a cheap gift idea that is super trendy and is sure to wow the recipient. This is a fun craft and these macrame wall hangings can be pretty pricy if you want to buy them already made. Why not try to master a new skill and make one. A handmade gift is always a thoughtful option. You can find beginner macrame tutorials HERE and a macrame plant holder tutorial HERE.
10. Ingredients for a special dinner
Buy ingredients for dinner and cook a special meal for your special someone. This is one of my favorite cheap gift ideas. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Buy a few things to make pasta, a nice salad and a cheap bottle of wine. Then take the ingredients the the recipient’s house and cook for them. You can spend time together and create memories while also celebrating them. Don’t overlook this idea. I’m sure most people would find this gift thoughtful and would definitely remember this special night.
11. Movie night
This is an idea that never gets old. If you’re not much of a cook try picking up some movie night essentials and plan a movie night. You can find popcorn, candy & sodas at the dollar store and throw them into a popcorn bucket from the dollar store. Then find a movie on a streaming service for free or for a few extra dollars you can rent one. This is another simple idea but again it’s very thoughtful. The recipient is sure to appreciate the thought and planning that went into a classic at-home movie night. Remember, dollar store snacks are the way to go here. You make this a fun night without spending a lot of money.
12. A charcuterie board (Yes, this can be a cheap gift idea)
Hear me out. I know these can get really pricey really fast. But there are ways that you can make a cute simple charcuterie board on a budget. This is a great cheap gift idea to bring to a small dinner party or a girls night. If you’re strategic you can find items to create a beautiful tray for a reasonable price. Here is a video tutorial from one of my favorite Youtubers. In this video she shows you a super inexpensive way to make a charcuterie board as well as a more expensive option. You can check out the video HERE. Something to note: you don’t need a fancy board to make one of these. You can simply use a plate or set it up on a cheap tray covered in butcher paper.
13. A decretive tray
These are extremely versatile. You can use decretive trays for cakes, charcuterie boards, centerpieces or serving platters. This is another DIY project that you can customize. I found this video tutorial and I just had to share. This tutorial is very detailed, easy and inexpensive. This is a gift that I would love to receive. I will link the video tutorial HERE.
14. Upcycled thrift store finds
If you are creative then this is a great cheap gift idea to look into. Search your local thrift store for things that you can paint, stain, combine with other items or sew together. Thrift stores often have great items that just need a little help to become great gifts. You can find numerous tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube for upcycling. I love the idea of giving something used a new home.
15. Custom art
Are you a talented artist? Create a custom art piece for someone. This can be anything from a painting, cartoon drawing, watercolor art, a pencil drawing or even a framed photograph. I know this is a simple idea but sometimes those are the most special.
Even more cheap gift ideas…
16. Custom print
Create a custom print or poem as a gift. Find a simple frame at the dollar store. Online you can find free templates for word art. You can also have family or friends write nice things about the recipient on a sheet of paper. You can then frame it and give it that as a gift.
17. A journal with a hand written note
You can find nice journals at discount stores like Ross or TJ Maxx. Find an inexpensive journal and write a nice note for the recipient on the first page. You can wrap it up nicely with a cute bow and maybe a few pens. This is another gift that I would love to receive. First of all, I can never have enough journals. Secondly the hand written note would make this gift even more special. This a a cheap gift idea that will really impress the recipient.
18. A handmade recipe book
Do you know someone who loves to cook or is trying to learn to cook? Make them a recipe book. You can find recipes on Pinterest that you think they may like. You can even share some of your family recipes. Type out the recipes and stick them in a binder with plastic sheet protectors. Leave some extra sheet protectors so they can continue to add to the book. This is a great idea if you have family recipes that you know someone will love to have. You can even give this as a wedding gift if you are on a tight budget.
19. A “think of me jar”
I think this is a great cheap gift idea for someone who lives far away. Buy a cute jar from the dollar store and some colorful paper. Write down memories or inside jokes you have with that person on little pieces of paper, fold them and put them in the jar. Then whenever the recipient misses you or thinks of you they can pull a paper from the jar and read about the memories you shared. This may seem a little cheesy but that’s fine with me. This type of gift is not just a money saver. It’s also a way to continually show someone how much you care and those are the best kind gifts.
20. A book that you’ve read
Want another free gift idea? Gift someone a book that you have already read and no longer need. This is a great way to ensure your house does not get cluttered with books and a great way to give an old book new life. You can make it even more personal by putting a note in the book that explains why you though the recipient would enjoy that book.
21. A candle
A candle is a pretty safe gift. Most people love candles. You can actually make your own candles. There are tons of tutorials that you can find online. If your on a really tight budget, maybe you only have $10 to spend, check out discount stores. Ross, TJ Maxx & HomeGoods have great candles and most of them are less than $10. You can even find small candles at the dollar store.
22. Bakers basket
This is a cheap gift idea for someone who loves to bake. You can find baking essentials at the dollar store. Pick up come cake mixes, frosting, sprinkles, whisk, cake pan and a mixing bowl. Throw all of the items into the mixing bowl and wrap it up with some dollar store cellophane and a cute bow. You can even print out your favorite dessert recipe and attach it. Some dollar store kitchen supplies are surprisingly good quality so don’t overlook them.
23. Homemade treats
Here is another thoughtful handmade gift. Bake some cookies, brownies or cupcakes to give. You can also make a loaf of homemade bread, homemade jam or homemade vanilla (super easy in the instant pot). If you’re not much of a baker you can get some packaged cookies, pretzels or even strawberries and dip them in chocolate. Package these treats in a cute box or container from the dollar store. You can also attach the recipe if you think they might appreciate that.
24. Collage or picture album
This is a classic gift but it never gets old. Most pictures now are digital and getting pictures developed is not as common as it used to be. I think people will appreciate real pictures that are presented either as a collage or in a photo album. You can find cheap photo albums at discount stores and you can get pictures developed for pretty cheap at Walgreens. I recommend always searching for a coupon code before purchasing photos at Walgreens. They usually have pretty good sales and they’re ready within an hour.
25. A custom E-book
Create a custom E-book about or for a special someone. You can write about how you met, special memories you have together, tell a story about something brave that person has done or an obstacle they’ve overcome. How sweet is this for a cheap gift idea? You can create a free E-book using Canva. This is something that anyone would be excited to receive in their inbox.
There you have it. 25 cheap gift ideas that people will love
I tried to include a variety of different items so hopefully you will find something for everyone on this list. My tips for giving inexpensive gifts are to make it yourself, use things you already have and check dollar stores, discount stores and thrift stores. Simple sentimental gifts are usually cheap and will mean a lot to the recipient.