8 Thoughtful Gift Ideas on a Budget

I have seen a lot of gift ideas on a budget posts.  Some of them have good ideas, but a lot of them are rather “meh.”  There is no one-size-fits-all gift. We are all different and we like different things. Think about the person that you are buying for and what THEY would like.  Try to be a bit creative with it. Here are my top ideas for gifts on a budget.  All but one of these I have actually given to people, and the other one I want to try!

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1. Blanket/throw/quilt

There are all kinds of blankets and throws that are on sale this time of year. I do love to snuggle up with a blanket. It just spells “cozy” to me. I love the super soft ones.  Last year for Christmas, I was out of budget for my husband, but I really wanted to give him ONE more gift, and I wanted it to be a pretty major gift. So, I had some old jeans laying around and work pants that he had ripped, worn out, or outgrown. I started cutting them up and I made him a rag quilt, using this tutorial.

I really loved that she put videos on there. They really helped. If you can sew a straight line, and you have a sewing machine, you can do this. I do recommend large squares to save time. The smaller ones look cool but can get quite tedious.  This is what my sewing machine is. I am not a huge seamstress, but it has lasted 10+ years and still works well.

2. Fuzzy socks/hats/gloves/mittens

These are smaller gifts but always appreciated. Kids are always losing mittens and gloves (or at least mine are!) Fuzzy socks are also becoming quite a thing now.  They are right up there with blankets for fuzzy, soft, and warm. The best part is… they are sold at Dollar Tree!

3. Rice Heat Packs

I am not sure if you have seen cute little rice packs that are microwavable and basically serve as warm heat that you can apply to tight muscles?  I saw them at a few places, and they sounded neat. The good news is they are easily made!  You take a scrap of fabric, sew it up into whatever shape you want, fill with rice, and sew the top up. Viola! You have a rice heat pack. I have made these and my husband loves them.  Zap them in the microwave for about 2 minutes and they hold heat for about 15-20 minutes.  Here is a tutorial on exactly how to make them.


4. Sugar Scrubs

Admittedly, I am not a huge sugar scrub fan for myself, but I know a lot of people that DO like them.  I made some one time for a group of people that I wanted to give a gift to, but I needed it to be a low-budget gift. You may already have ingredients for this one in your pantry now.  It does not take the much time to mix up a batch and put them in small mason jars. For the top, I use a square of red fabric and tie a ribbon around it. Here is the link where I found the recipe. 

5. Homemade Jam or Jelly

I tried making jelly for the first time several years ago. When I got done, I remarked to a friend of mine, “I think what I made was a mess.” It tasted ok, but I was not sure about the consistency. However, since I had made the effort, and had several little mason jars full of jelly, I kept them and did not think anything about it. When Christmas time came, I was trying to come up with something to add to Christmas gifts that I had purchased for a relative.

On a whim, I grabbed a jar of jelly, put a scrap of fabric on the top and tied it up with a pretty ribbon.  This was TWO years ago.  I did not think anything of it, but I have not made any more jelly since then. However, at Thanksgiving, that relative asked me, “When are you going to make more jelly?”  I think I answered something very clever like “Jelly? I don’t know.” She told me that she had really enjoyed it and had even saved it for special occasions because it was so good. Wow! Mind blown!  I think I need to make some more jelly for gifting purposes.

I have not tried this but, in a pinch (or if you are just not inclined to make jelly from scratch), homemade jellies and jams can also be ordered online.

6. Homemade Cookies or Candies

I am a fan of holiday baking, at least, to a point.  I like the easy things. If it takes 3 hours, then I’m out. Someone else can make it. What I have found makes really nice gifts are fudge, peppermint/chocolate bark, chocolate covered pretzels, white chocolate puffs and the timeless classic, chocolate chip cookies. (Yes, I am a bit of a chocolate addict. Shhh… don’t tell! It will be our secret!)  If you want to make it really fancy, Dollar Tree usually has some holiday tins that you can put them in.  These make really nice teacher gifts or gifts for friends that you don’t really have much of a budget for, but you want to say “Thanks for being a really great friend.”

7. Ornaments

Salt Dough Ornaments

I made these with the kids several years ago and we had a really great time.  What’s even better is that they have lasted and they still look great! We hang them on our Christmas tree every year. Another plus about these is that if you have a little one that has a fascination with how everything tastes like I did, the salt dough itself will not taste good, but will not hurt them.  That meant a lot to me when my little one had something in his mouth every time I turned around! We gave ours to grandparents and other relatives as gifts from the kids.


Melted crayon ornaments

I have not tried these yet, but I want to! I know that we have plenty of old crayons around the house. From reading the comments on Pinterest about them, I think that it might be best to take a pencil sharpener and make little crayon shavings to put inside the balls when you melt them. I also plan to have a pair of needle nose pliers to hold the ornaments with and some mitts for the kids so no one gets burned.

8. Books

I know that books are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like a good book.  I have had the best luck finding good deals for these online at places like Amazon.  They are best tailored to your recipient’s specific interests.  For example, I lovingly saved all my books about a girl and her horses for years. My boys will not have anything to do with them.  One is too young yet, but the other one wants to read things like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” or the “Captain Underpants” series. I have no idea what is so appealing about these for boys, but mine love them.  Lots of laughter, not too much on the plot, but it gets them reading. I’m good with that!


Gift ideas are only limited by your imagination (and your budget), but even when things are tight, we can still get creative and come up with some great ideas. What are yours? Leave me a comment and hit me with your best budget-friendly gift ideas!

Edited: 3/2/2018 for better readability and search engine optimization

4 thoughts on “8 Thoughtful Gift Ideas on a Budget”

  1. It sure was interesting when you said that there are all kinds of blankets and throws that are on sale. My husband and I are planning to shop for gift hampers that we could give to his three sisters on Christmas. We want them to remember us based on our gifts, so we will consider including blankets in each gift basket.

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