30 Gift-Giving Ideas for Tight Budgets

SolStock / iStock.com

SolStock / iStock.com

This year has been a tough one financially for many Americans due to increased costs of gas, groceries, rent and just about everything else. And with the gift-giving holidays coming up, you might find yourself making your list – and checking it twice – to figure out where you save a little money.

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The good news? GOBankingRates found plenty of inexpensive gift ideas that will appeal to many of the people on your list for less than $20. If you’re shopping for holiday presents on a budget this year, don’t worry — you have quality options. And before you head out shopping, remember to check retailers’ websites for discount coupons and weekly ads to learn how you can cut your costs even more.

From home goods to family gifts to cosmetics to gadgets, you don’t have to spend a bundle to make that special person in your life smile. Find out how your finances can survive this holiday season.

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Grinch Gift Set

  • Price: $9
  • Where you can buy it: Kohl’s

Pass on your love for the Dr. Seuss classic, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” to some special kids this year. Kohl’s, through its Kohl’s Cares fund-raising program for children’s initiatives, has bundled a plush Grinch with the book. Give a gift to a child you love while helping kids in the community.


Cologne Sampler

  • Price: $10
  • Where you can buy it: Kohl’s

Is your son, nephew or friend looking to discover a new scent? The Sephora cologne sampler features trial sizes of seven top-selling fragrances, including those from Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Prada, to let him try some out. Kohl’s has a similar collection of nine perfumes for the ladies on your list.

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Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Coin

  • Price: $6.99
  • Where you can buy it: Amazon

Coin collectors and history lovers likely will appreciate the Queen Elizabeth II commemorative coin, which marks her 70 years as Great Britain’s monarch from 1952 until her death on Sept. 8 at age 96.

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Jigsaw Puzzle

  • Price: $16.99
  • Where you can buy it: Nordstrom

A jigsaw puzzle makes an ideal family gift, allowing the whole crew to gather around the table for a fun activity. The 1,000-piece Santa’s Village scene adds to the festive nature of the season.

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  • Price: $9.99
  • Where you can buy it: Target

The Colgate Keep Toothbrush isn’t just any manual toothbrush. For someone who values dental hygiene and environmental consciousness at the same time, this is the ideal gift. No more throwing out your toothbrush when you need a new one. This toothbrush has an aluminum handle and comes with replaceable brush heads, so you’ll use 80% less plastic.

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‘Yoga Stretch for Beginners and Beyond’ DVD

  • Price: $19.97
  • Where you can buy it: Amazon

Give the gift of inner peace, mental focus and a healthy body this holiday season with “Yoga Stretch for Beginners and Beyond.” It features two 30-minute flow sessions – one for the morning and one for the evening.

Holiday Cookie Candle

  • Price: $9.59
  • Where you can buy it: Kohl’s

Some of the best parts of the holidays are the terrific smells coming from the kitchen. Share the scent of the season with someone by giving a holiday cookie candle in a 14-ounce glass jar. The three-wick candle gives off the aroma of sweet vanilla, cookie dough and buttercream, and it burns up to 50 hours. We can already smell it now.

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Bowl Set

  • Price: $16.98
  • Where you can buy it: Walmart

Walmart’s color plastic nesting bowl set comes complete with measuring cups, colander and sifter, eight pieces in all. It’s functional for a recipient who either is just starting out with a first apartment or for someone who wants to refresh pieces in the kitchen. Since the pieces fit inside one another, it’s a real space saver in the kitchen, too.

Baby Einstein Blocks

  • Price: $19.98
  • Where you can buy it: Walmart

Gift the youngest people on your list with their first set of blocks. The Baby Einstein Connectables Dive & Soar Magnetic Activity Blocks are 3-inch cubes that connect with each other by hidden, secure magnets. For ages 6 months and older, the blocks are easy to grip and help the little ones with their fine motor skills.

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Starbucks Mug With Coffee

  • Price: $10.98
  • Where you can buy it: Walmart

The 18-ounce Starbucks mug comes with a bag of the company’s Pike Place coffee. The mug, with the iconic Starbucks logo, will last long after the coffee has been enjoyed.

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Ghirardelli Chocolate

  • Price: $14.98
  • Where you can buy it: Walmart

The Ghirardelli Gold Glitter Sleigh is filled chocolate treats and perfect for everyone from the babysitter to your Secret Santa at work. It contains double chocolate hot cocoa, a variety of chocolate squares and two peppermint sticks, and when it’s all gone, the recipient can fill the sleigh with more treats.

Foot Massager

  • Price: $14.99
  • Where you can buy it: Target

This aqua blue massager relieves muscle stiffness when used on feet, hands and forearms. It packs a punch but is the perfect size to carry with you from home to the gym to the office.

Jewelry Box

  • Price: $20
  • Where you can buy it: Nordstrom

The dimensional glass and gold jewelry box from Nordstrom is ideal for a nightstand, allowing jewelry owners to remove earrings, necklaces before sleep and store them safely until the next morning.


Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper

  • Price: $11.99
  • Where you can buy it: Walmart

The heat-resistant silicone popcorn popper is dishwasher safe, too, and allows you to make your treat without any other ingredients – just pure popcorn. Stream your favorite movies and pump out a universally-loved, healthy and oil-free snack.

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Clinique 2-Piece Set

  • Price: $13
  • Where you can buy it: Macy’s

Macy’s has a variety of two-piece Clinique sets perfect for holiday giving. The All About Eyes set contains black mascara and under-eye cream, and other sets focus on fragrances, lips and moisturizers.

Charades Game

  • Price: $15.99
  • Where you can buy it: Target

Perfect for game night, even kids as young as 5 can play the Family Charades game from Target. It includes more than 750 charade ideas on 250 cards, including cards with images to allow non-readers to play.

Jelly Gift Set

  • Price: $14.99
  • Where you can buy it: Macy’s

From the Stonewall Kitchen in Maine comes a mini jar of hot pepper jelly and a red, tree-shaped ramekin dish. All the recipient needs to do is put some cream cheese in the ramekin and top with jelly, then serve with crackers at a New Year’s Even gathering.

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Personalized Note Cards

  • Price: Start at $4.99 for 10
  • Where you can buy it: VistaPrint

Perfect for personal or business correspondence, personalized note cards are ideal in cases when an email just won’t suffice. The recipient can use the cards for thank yous, notes to clients or for “just because” greetings for friends. Prices don’t include shipping.

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Gel Pens

  • Price: $6.99
  • Where you can buy it: Target

Those personalized note cards call for upgraded pens, don’t they? Target sells the Pilot B2P fine point gel pens, which the company says are the world’s first pens made from recycled plastic water bottles. The pack includes five pens in a variety of colors.

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Microwavable Heat Pack

  • Price: $14
  • Where you can buy it: Nordstrom

Blume, a favorite brand of Gen Z, has just the thing to soothe sore muscles: the microwaveable heat pack. Pop it in for 15 seconds to offer enough heat to relieve the pain. Or, if an ice pack is what you need, put it in the freezer for two hours.

Whiskey Stone Cubes

  • Price: $13.59
  • Where you can buy it: Macy’s

Your gift recipient will never need to fumble with ice cube trays again when preparing a favorite cold drink again. The whiskey stone ice cubes, which come in a set of 10, can go straight from freezer to glass. They’ll add a touch of style to your beverage, and since they aren’t made of water, the cubs can’t melt and dilute your drink.

Slipper Socks

  • Price: $9.35
  • Where you can buy it: Macy’s

Perfect for chilly evenings, these slipper socks with faux fur lining will keep her feet warm when the winter temperatures plunge. Available in rose, gray, blue and buffalo plaids.

Cocktail Shaker

  • Price: $8.49
  • Where you can buy it: Macy’s

Every amateur mixologist will look like a pro with this cocktail shaker from Macy’s. Clear acrylic with glittery accents, the shaker provides a fabulous addition to any home bar.

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Magnetic Bookmarks

  • Price: $9
  • Where you can buy it: Nordstrom

Voracious readers never can have enough bookmarks, and this four-pack from New York’s Museum of Modern Art collection at Nordstrom add a splash of color and design to the page savers.

Candy Dish

  • Price: $10.19
  • Where you can buy it: Macy’s

For the chocolate lover, how about a candy dish in the shape of a Hershey’s Kiss? The red dish is ideal for the holidays, but there’s no reason not to enjoy it year-round. Add a bag of the candy for a truly winning gift.

Solar Lantern

  • Price: $15.13
  • Where you can buy it: Walmart

If you know an outdoor enthusiast, camper, hunter or someone who just likes to go on a thrilling adventure once in a while, that person will think about you every time the sun goes down when you gift this solar-powered LED lantern.

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Multi-Color Crayon

  • Price: $6.79
  • Where you can buy it: Macy’s

Many of us grew up with the 64-count box of crayons. With Macy’s Giant Crazy Crayon, all 64 colors are mixed into one huge crayon. It’s larger size makes it easier for younger kids who are still fine-tuning their motor skills to hold on to and enjoy. It’s designed for ages 3 and older. It’s a sure bet, though, that the older kids and adults will want to give it a try.

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Golf Tees and Balls

  • Price: $4.99 tees, $14.99 balls
  • Where you can buy it: Target

Annoyances for golfers? Broken tees and lost balls – and you can help the golfer on your list at an affordable price this holiday. Pair a four-pack of the extra-durable Callaway Par-Tee High Performance Tees with a bag of three dozen recycled golf balls. Some golfers believe there’s no reason to pay top price for golf balls if they’re just going to wind up lost in the woods.

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Multitool Pen

  • Price: $10.99
  • Where you can buy it: Amazon

If you have a gadgeteer on your shopping list, the multitool pen from Amazon should prove a holiday hit. Sure, you can write a note or a check with it, but have you ever seen a pen that serves six functions in one? With its stylus, ruler, level and two screwdriver heads, this pen does it all.

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Wine Aerator

  • Price: $11.96
  • Where you can buy it: Amazon

The clear and stainless-steel wine aerator and pourer improves the flavor of the red wine of the recipient’s choice. But it also fits in any wine bottle, and its pourer spout allows wine to be poured and aerated without making a mess.

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Andrew Lisa contributed to the reporting for this article.

All prices were accurate as of Nov. 2, 2022. Prices are subject to change at the retailers’ discretion. Photos are for representational purposes only and may not depict the specific item.