Inexpensive gifts to show your appreciation

27 inexpensive gifts to help show your appreciation

What do you get someone if you want to show you appreciate them, but you don’t have a lot of money to spend? Don’t worry — there are lots of options.

If you have a lot of money, you can buy just about anything for anyone. But for the other 95% of us with limited budgets, you’ll have to show that appreciation with a little creativity.
Showing your appreciation with affordable gift ideas

Let’s first identify what’s essential: that we show the person who has done something nice for us how much we appreciate them. It’s not essential that the gift be big, expensive or flashy. It’s a token of our appreciation… and let me tell you, no matter how small, the person will likely appreciate the gesture.

The gift should also be appropriate for that particular the person — if it’s personal, it’s likely to mean more. So while wine is always a nice gift, if the person is into other types of drinks (such as coffee), that would make a better gift.

So take a moment to consider the person, what they like, and the times you’ve spent together.

So, let’s look at some ideas… some obvious, perhaps, but this list is meant only to spark your own ideas. (Also, the definition of “frugal” is broad here … some ideas cost more than others, and some can be made for very little.)

27 inexpensive gifts

1. Frame a picture — maybe a local scene or a picture of the two of you or together with your best friends.

2. Something made locally, that you can probably find at a nearby farmer’s market — craft beer, honey, BBQ sauce, flavored vinegars, etc.

3. A toy or game they might remember from their youth: Silly Putty, Slinky, Mr Sketch scented markers, glow-in-the dark slime.

4. A subscription to an online media service that they’d never splurge on typically — think Netflix, Pandora (ad-free), Hulu, etc. Offer to set it up for them, too.

5. A set of nice pens or markers — the kinds of things that dry up or somehow disappear and, therefore, replacements are always welcome. (Shown: Ohuhu Art Markers Dual Tips Coloring Brush Fineliner Color Pens.) 

6. Homemade cookies you bake yourself. Or brownies. Or banana bread. Or cupcakes.

Carrot-walnut cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting

7. A gift certificate for the person’s favorite hobby store, or some nice art supplies (like watercolor pencils).

8. A CD you burned with all the person’s favorite songs or a nostalgic mix of music from their teens.

9. A letter, handwritten on nice paper, from you. Make it heartfelt, with all the reasons you appreciate the person.

10. A movie pass and a small container of gourmet popcorn and/or some movie-theater-style candy.

11. IOU booklets, with whatever services you are willing to offer — babysitting, cleaning, housesitting, pet walking, errands, music lessons. (Gifts like this are best for someone you know really well.)

12. Knit or crochet something for someone. A scarf is relatively simple, and you don’t have to worry about it not fitting!

13. An “I appreciate you because” jar. Fill a nice jar with rolled up slips of different colored paper, each with a reason you appreciate (or love) someone.

14. Set of dishtowels with matching potholders.

15. A blank recipe book — after you have written some of your favorite recipes on the first few pages.

16. Photo album or scrapbook, with a few memories already included. Hard-copy images are especially nice to have in this era of digital photos.

Cute cupcakes in a gift box
Image: Prostock-studio/Envato

17. Create your own art, and put it on nice stationery or in a frame. By “art,” we mean a sketch, painting, poem, short story, whatever you like to make.

18. Scented candles, perhaps with a candle warmer.

19. Help them go green with a nice-looking reusable shopping bag or insulated grocery bag.

20. Gourmet coffee, tea or hot cocoa mix, along with a mug or cup that suits them perfectly.

21. Set of coasters. If they have nice wooden furniture, they probably never have enough.

22. Small LED flashlight with extra batteries. Not only do these provide a really bright light, they also last a long time. (Even if someone has a phone with a flashlight, it’s handy to have one of these, because they may be on the phone looking for information or talking to someone while trying to find something with the flashlight.)

Need a beautiful way to wrap a present? Get 120 unique gift wrapping ideas

23. Have someone older on your list? Think about something that will make their life a little easier — a large print address book or password book, non-slip stepstool, or a voice-activated device like an Alexa. (The smaller devices are quite affordable.)

25. A nice blank journal can be beautiful and inspirational. (The notebook shown at the top is here.)

24. A couple of different unique seasoned salts — bought or homemade.

26. A new water bottle or plastic drink cup. (Shown: MIRA insulated water bottles.) Add some tea bags or drink mix packages for fun.

27. A personalized T-shirt — tie-dyed, fabric painted, or customized online. A few places to DIY a shirt: CafePress, TeeSpring, T-Shirt Deli, Walgreens & CVS.

Inexpensive gifts to help show your appreciation

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