Frugal gifting: Ten ideas for thoughtful but frugal gifts

Actions speak louder than words, and a gift you give says quite a lot about you. Anyone who has ever received a handmade or personalized gift can understand the joy and the appreciation one feels for the benefactor. With a little thoughtful consideration and planning you can pick meaningful gifts which will add real value to your relationships with your loved ones, all without going over your budget.

  1. Hand crafted gifts

Making your own gifts can multiply the joy of giving and receiving. A hand knitted sweater or a greeting card drawn by a child at home with crayons are great gifts. You may have the skills and interest to create woven, crocheted or embroidered gifts. With a little fabric paint and a hobby kit you can easily personalize articles such as scarves, cushion covers, cloth napkins, tea towels or aprons with a monogram or the recipients’ initials. These make practical and durable gifts for most homes. You can learn to make your own body scrub, bath salts or hand soap at a fraction of the cost of the products on the market. If you do, get lots of small, attractive containers to pack these in, and tie some colorful ribbon for a nice finishing touch.

  1. Personalized gifts

An easy way to add value to an inexpensive gift is to personalize it. The list of things that can be personalized with various forms of printing includes coffee mugs, sippers, jars, coasters, tote bags, t-shirts, photo frames and so on. Make sure that your recipient will have a use for your gift and that the personalization represents something they like.

  1. Homemade goodies

Tasty treats always make great gifts. It is easier and more economical to prepare dough mixes in large amounts for items such as cakes, brownies, pies, breads and cookies. You can also make batches of different types of cookies and mix them up; then pack them is small jars so that each container is an inviting assortment. Don’t forget to tie colored ribbons before gifting! The holiday season is also a time for many to look forward to homemade jams, pickles and preserves.

  1. Books

Gifting a book is a strong statement and a call to action. Ensure that the gifted book matches your recipient’s interest and life stage. Self help, DIY/how to, motivational, and personal improvement are some universally applicable themes for book gifts. You can also gift a book to encourage someone to take up a new interest or learn a skill such as cookery, yoga, fishing, camping, social graces, learning a new language and the like.

  1. Plants

Indoor or outdoor potted plants can be greatly appreciated gifts for the right people. In addition to many tangible benefits plants offer, they have a soothing effect. Gifted plants can be very practical and edible such as tomato or an herb, or aesthetic such as perennial flowers. You can get cheap plants at a nursery or grocery near you, and lots of decorative planters separately online. Alternately you can buy seeds and grow the plants yourself at negligible cost. Be mindful of social etiquette though, as one of your recipients might be allergic or dislike cactuses.

  1. Hobbies

Think of gift ideas that would encourage someone to start a new hobby and add a lifetime of value. You can find inexpensive hobby kits for knitting, crocheting, embroidering, fruit carving, gourmet cooking, home improvement, clay modeling, woodworking, and endless more. You may gift tools to encourage someone to try DIY stuff. You may decide to gift sports goods such as a football, frisbee, dumbbells or a tennis racquet in the hope of seeing your loved ones much fitter next year.

  1. Subscriptions

Most people who are not accustomed to subscription products don’t know what they are missing. Many subscriptions are significantly cheaper for the first year/month, and it can be your way of introducing someone to a whole new world. Gift someone a year’s subscription to a good magazine or a month of Netflix or Amazon Prime if you think they might appreciate it.

  1. A photographic treat

You can cheaply print family photos and frame them, or easily create collages as memorable, lasting gifts. You can also assemble albums, design calendars or make scrapbooks from the pictures, or do other creative things using free online photo editing tools. If you have home videos you can sharpen your video editing skills and burn some DVDs as neat little gifts.

  1. A gift assortment

If you truly run out of creative gift ideas you can simply assemble hampers filled with assorted goodies. A large, neatly wrapped and colorfully decorated basket makes for an attractive gift for almost anyone. The items in your gift basket need not cost much. You can buy these in number on discounts at stores or online. Pick items that are edible or otherwise usable at home. It would be even better to customize your gift basket to your recipient. For example if you know a tea connoisseur you could make a gift basket with several different types of teas or an assortment of kitchenware used to prepare and serve tea.

  1. Money

It may not sound like the most frugal of gift ideas to wire money to a loved one, till you consider the alternative. You may be surprised at the variety of ways you can gift money while being frugal. Instead of gifting something which you are unsure will be appreciated, consider gifting discount coupons or vouchers that let your recipients shop online or offline for the things they really want.


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