The Under $30 Frugal Holiday Gift Guide

On today's Ask Debbie, we discuss our preferred gifts for those looking to keep a tight budget.

While the holiday season is about love, generosity, and goodness, it's easy to get a little too caught up in the spirit and let your finances get out of sorts. Debbie has created this Frugal Holiday Gift Guide so that you can enjoy the gift of giving with your finances intact.

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid:

1. You're shopping without a budget and a list.

You want to show all of your family, friends, and colleagues your holiday spirit- but after the first few purchases, your wallet is crying for some guidance. Remember, financial responsibilities don't go on vacation over the holidays. In order to spread the holiday cheer to your wallet, make a detailed budget and plan for each person you're shopping for.

2. You're relying on your credit cards.

If you can't afford to buy it now, don't create a bill for yourself later. Once the holiday season is over, the last thing you want is to be trapped in debt. Make sure that whatever you buy on your credit cards you can afford to pay off that month. Buy now pay later may be an enticing option to pay in chunks, but be sure to read the fine print and make sure you aren’t spending more than if you were to buy it in one payment (or end up over-budgeting what you can afford).

3. You're just trying to keep up.

The holidays are not a competition of who can buy the flashiest gifts, serve the swankiest dinner, or wear the most expensive clothes. This year, make the holidays about spending quality time with your loved ones (or yourself) and building memories. DIY gifts can be just as nice, if not more thoughtful.

That being said, here are some ideas for gifts to buy or make for around or under $30.


Debbie's Gift Guide:

👨🏼🎨 Do it Yourself

Do it yourself gifts often leave the receiver feeling extra special. Rather than spending your money on a store bought present, you chose to spend your time creating something meaningful. Don't forget, there is nothing like a handwritten card. Check out Pinterest for some more ideas.

😎 Second-Hand Shopper

When it comes to gift giving, the saying "it's the thought that counts" goes. Purchasing gifts second-hand or from the thrift store is a great way to get something thoughtful and sustainable without hurting your wallet.

  • Picture Frames & Framed Art: You can find perfectly good picture frames at your thrift store. Put in a thoughtful piece of art or a meaningful photograph to make a telling gift.
  • Knick-Knacks: Second-hand sites are full of specialized trinkets for a good price tag. Pinpoint something your receiver loves, and do a deep dive for the perfect fit.
  • CD's and Records: Do you have a music maniac on your shopping list? Second hand sites or your local thrift store has extensive options to find just the right music they're missing from their shopping list. If they ask where you found it, the fact you had to do a little treasure hunting will make it all the more purposeful.
  • Vases: Thrift stores are full of vases. Buy one and fill it with your recipients favorite flowers that you can find priced reasonably at your local grocery store. Not only will they get to enjoy the flowers over the holiday season, but they'll have a lovely keepsake of the vase.
  • Gift Baskets: You can find a variety of baskets at your local thrift store. Fill the basket with someones favorite cheap items, or make a movie night basket with popcorn and candy.
  • Holiday or Home Decor: It can be quite expensive to build a solid home decor collection. Wether it's the holidays, fall, summer, or another theme, there is something for everyone. Second-hand stores stock a variety of decor, making it easy to find that unique gift.

Custom Gifts

You may think that custom gifts will cost a lot and take a while to make, but you can actually find lots of custom presents for under $30 which will feel very personal. Here are some examples:

Useful gifts

A gift that serves an important purpose, even if it's relatively cheap, reminds the recipient of you every time they use the gift. Things for the office or kitchen are usually a good way to go, because you can often find cute, cheap tools and gadgets

Office gifts: As more people are working remotely, having a homey office can really brighten someone's day.

Kitchen tools: If you have a chef in your midst, purchasing fun kitchen gadgets could be a good way to go. See a few here:

Remember, shopping for the holidays can be thoughtful without breaking the bank. Make it fun, personal, and useful - those will be the best ways to ensure your recipient loves their gift. Have a happy holidays!!!!

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