10 Cheap Ways To Get Someone A Great Gift For Under $5

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-11-268

Wondering how to get someone a great gift without having to spend the extra cash?

The holiday season or special occasions can hit you a little harder in the wallet, so having a special part of your budget set up to handle these events would be the best way to prepare for them. Another way to ease the weight of these expenditures is to think resourcefully about the gift-giving process. Ready to look into gifts that won’t cost you an arm and a leg?

10 Cheap Ways To Get Someone A Great Gift For Under $5

That said, here are ten interesting ideas you could try the next time you’ve got a gift giving event coming up and you’re short on cash. Sometimes a little forward thinking can work wonders! A lot of these ideas are things we already do, but it’s good to list them down as reminders. Our list below discusses both store-bought and homemade gift suggestions.

1. Use your credit card rewards. It’s time. If you’ve been using a rewards credit card, then this is a great time to use your points and avoid spending any more on gifts. Check out your card’s rewards mall such as the Citi ThankYou Points Network (if you’ve got a Citibank credit card) or the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall (if you’ve got a Chase credit card). Some of these cards even give you extra points when you redeem the ones you already have! Now if you prefer to give away cash cards and cash equivalents as gifts instead, then you can also check out discount gift cards and online gift certificates as an option.

Christmas Cookies
Image source. Cookies. Yum.

2. Buy something on eBay. You’d be amazed what you can get for a dollar or two when you spend the time searching for the least seen auctions. Set some time aside to find something suitable.

3. Buy a joke gift. Have you ever seen those Grow It items that you plop in a glass of water so they grow to a huge size? How about giving one of those, or some other similar item? Not all gifts have to be huge! Yes, sometimes a Chia Pet may seem silly but there may be someone you know who’d get a kick out of it. If you’ve got a friend or co-worker with a sense of humor, a gag gift may work. For instance, my kids just love whoopee cushions! 😉

4. Grow something. If you are good at gardening why not grow something from seed to give as a gift? You could grow a herb garden, for example, or a plant that your gift recipient will love.

5. Bake something. How about a birthday cake or maybe some cookies? If you can make something with ingredients you know they like, this will be a huge hit.

6. Invite them over for a surprise dinner. Not all gifts need to be wrapped. I know I’d be very pleased to be surprised by a nice meal as a gift! 🙂

7. Make some home made wine. It’s not that difficult if you get hold of a kit that guides you through the process. Make a special label to stick on a wine bottle once it is finished, in order to greet your family member or friend a Merry Christmas (or a Happy Birthday).

8. Create your own gift experience by wrapping up a home made voucher. Depending on what you’d like to offer them, you could offer a day out to a museum (could be a free one), a picnic in the park or any number of other similar activities. Similarly, you can create a booklet of wishes. Think of all the things the recipient loves that don’t cost a cent. Create a wish for everything you know that they will appreciate and put them into a booklet.

Here are some racy examples of homemade vouchers (I found these on Reddit). But you get the picture:

Gift Vouchers

9. Give a promise. This works particularly well if you give it to someone you live with, i.e. your partner. Promise to take over a certain chore or task that your gift recipient usually performs, and follow through on the promise. A lot of people will appreciate the gift of time!

10. Write a poem and frame it. Once again, this works best for the closest relationships in your life. Your words don’t even have to rhyme -– just come up with something suitable, funny, moving… or whatever fits the bill. Write it with a fountain pen, wait for it to dry and then frame it. While this gift may not work for everyone, certain folks may really appreciate it, like your grandparents.

A lot of these ideas are of the thoughtful, do-it-yourself variety. The more commercial approach would be to find great online deals and see how much savings you can get from already discounted items.

There are a lot of great ideas you can find along these lines once you start thinking about it. Always start with thinking about the person who will receive your gift, and you’ll soon find yourself getting all kinds of gift ideas that may work out for them. And of course, avoid procrastination if you can help it (yeah, easier said than done!). The further in advance you think about what to do, the easier it will be to come up with something suitable for your loved ones!

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy @yesiamcheap November 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm

One more thing. it’s kind of touchy but what about regifting? If you’re not going to use it anyway, why not give it to someone that can use it?

krantcents November 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm

It is interesting you use the word “cheap” in your title. We have come a long way that cheap has become acceptable. Reading your article, it is a more creative way of finding a gift. Great ideas for office or casual friends’ gifts. My blog (www.krantcents.com) uses a similar POV regarding money and spending. Please check it out, I would love your opinion.

Silicon Valley Blogger November 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I guess when I hear the word “cheap”, I think of it as “low cost” but it does not necessarily equate to “low value”. To be honest, I like “cheap”. 🙂 In fact if you tell me something is “expensive”, I find myself not feeling interested in the item. Why? Because I think there are lots of high value / low cost things out there. I will pay good money for stuff of really good value. But I will be much happier to pay less for stuff of really good value. 🙂

@Sandy, regifting is something people do but don’t talk about much (understandably). I guess it’s a good idea to do if you know for sure you won’t get caught doing it. I normally don’t regift and instead donate unused items I have to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I may also sell them on Craigslist. But if it works for someone else, then fine. I’ve received very obvious second-hand items as gifts in the past (if you can believe it) but it never bothered me too much if I knew I could actually use it. But I am sure a lot of others don’t feel comfortable with this… It depends on the person I suppose since a lot of feelings are associated with a gift. It goes beyond price. Unfortunately, it is human nature to attach feelings of value and worth on a gift and making that kind of extrapolation about a relationship through presents that are received.

Dmarie November 29, 2010 at 2:44 pm

thanks for reminding me about the reward points…gotta do that!!

Lee@Unique Gift Baskets December 4, 2010 at 1:10 am

What a great list of gift ideas. I love it. Some I was aware of, but some of the gift ideas were new. Very creative, and that’s always good.

Cheapskate Jake @ My Personal Finance Journey February 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

Typically, I try to place my rewards points/cash back from my credit cards to use to pay off day-to-day expenses.

But, I definitely like the idea of giving the gift of making dinner for someone! That’s also a good idea for a frugal Valentine’s Day date as well! 🙂

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