gifts on a budget

Being frugal does not mean being stingy. God has called us to be good stewards, but He has also called us to be generous.

I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  – Acts 20:35

Sometimes it can be a fine line between being frugal and just being cheap. I strive to stay in the former category. Thus, I’ve learned how to give thoughtful gifts on a budget. These are gifts that the recipient can actually enjoy and use, but that can also be purchased for reasonable prices.


The best way to give nice gifts while also being frugal is by shopping for gifts throughout the year.

I learned this from my mom when I was young. She always had a stash of Bath & Body Works lotions, Chapstick, toys, candles, and a variety of other gift items. We mainly used the gift stash for teacher gifts, but the concept can be expanded to gifts for family members and friends as well.

Last Christmas, I started shopping for presents in early September. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I was already finished! When I accompanied some friends as they shopped about a week before Christmas, I was thankful to have mostly avoided the craziness that is retail during the month of December.

I highly recommend signing up for emails from Money Saving Mom. She is a coupon and frugal living blogger. The thing that I like best about her email list is that you can choose to receive coupon match-ups only for your favorite stores.

In addition to standard coupon match-ups for grocery stores, the Money Saving Mom emails often contain deals for free photo books, inexpensive clothing, toys, and much more. By watching these emails for several months before Christmas, you can save a great deal of cash. When I got married, I had several relatives request printed wedding pictures for Christmas. I could afford to get photo books made for 4 relatives, as well as a nice photo book to keep for myself.

Another way to give thoughtful and frugal gifts is by giving something handmade.

Not everyone is a DIY person, so this tip is less universal. I’ve been knitting for 10 years, so I’ve been known to make Christmas gifts during years when my budget was tight. When one of my brothers was in 6th grade, I found some camo print yarn and knitted him a hat. I thought the camo print made it look more masculine. He loved it and still wears it several years later. I’ve also knitted baby items and kitchen linens.

If you know how to do calligraphy, writing out a meaningful quote and putting it in an inexpensive frame can be a lovely gift.

Whether you choose to go for store bought items that were on sale or for handmade gifts,  remember the words of Jesus:

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

7 comments on “How to Give Thoughtful Gifts on a Budget”

  1. I’ve found that the most thoughtful gifts are often the least expensive. For instance, a basket full of one’s favorite coffees/teas and chocolates can cost less than $10 if you put it together yourself, but it shows that you were paying attention to your friend or family member. Thoughtfulness is nothing more than paying attention to those around you and their likes and dislikes.

    For instance, if you know that a friend prefers a certain therapeutic hand cream, and you buy that instead of the scented, less moisturizing kind, she will appreciate it more because you paid attention to her preferences.

    Likewise, someone who loves a certain brand of pens, even if they are inexpensive, will appreciate that you chose that thing that they already loved.

    These kinds of gifts are noticed and enjoyed much more by the recipient than more expensive ones.

  2. I think – when it comes down to it – some of the best DIY gifts are the practical ones. You know, the soups or cookies in a jar type recipes.

    I also love checking out Target’s various sections whenever I’m near one for picking up more unusual but still inexpensive gifts.

  3. I really love giving homemade gifts, or finding something cute and really adding on to it with homemade cookies, baked goods, etc. It definitely adds such a nice touch to the gift and is so meaningful!

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