Cheap gifts that look expensive

Do you have a special gardener in your life? If so, then you’ve probably noticed the light coming back into their eyes as the warmer days quickly approach.

Would you like to do something nice for them? Then keep reading because every gardener has a long list of things they wish they had. It isn’t that they are ungrateful for what they have.

In fact, it is just that certain tools make their job as a gardener a little more simple. And if you are working on a budget, don’t feel like this post isn’t for you.

Because here, I am offering great gift ideas for the gardener in your life that can be made or purchased. Here are gift ideas that most gardeners would love to have:


1. Compost Bin

A compost bin is a great gift for any gardener. It is not only functional but could also save the gardener in your life quite a bit of money in the long run.

Plus, you can make or buy this gift. So if you have a gardener in mind, then consider helping them make their own fertilizer right in this compost bin.

Get this gift ›

2. Tomato Trellis

A tomato cage or trellis is a great gift for the gardener who loves tomatoes. My husband and I would fit in that category as that is one of the largest crops in our garden.

So if you know that your gardener loves growing different tomatoes then consider making them or buying tomato cages.

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3. Herb Drying Rack

I love growing herbs, but it always seems that finding new places to hang them while they dry can be quite a hassle.

So when I saw a herb drying rack I thought it was a great idea for any gardener who loves growing their own herbs.

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4. Seed Starting Kit

Most gardeners start their own seeds. It saves a lot of money and plus you can afford to add more variety to your garden.

Also, you can control how your plants are grown all the way through the process. So most gardeners would love to have a kit to help them start their own seeds.

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5. Grow Light Kit

A grow light kit is another great gift for the gardener that loves to start their own seeds or grow microgreens.

Though this gift could also be invaluable to the gardener that likes to prolong the grow season or even grow indoors year round.

Get this gift ›

6. Garden Kneeler

This garden kneeling tool is really awesome. If you’ve ever gardened you know how hard it is on your knees.

Well, with this tool you have a cushion for your knees, a seat to rest, and a way to steady yourself when you are ready to get up.

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7. Gloves

Every gardener needs a good pair of gloves. They are great for keeping your hands cleaner when you are working outdoors.

Plus, they are also good for protecting your hands from thorny weeds, or from getting infected cuts.

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8. Planter Boxes

Planter boxes are another great gift idea for the gardener in your life. The reason is because they are a beautiful way to display flowers.

However, they are also great for growing vegetables and fruits in a container without it becoming an eyesore.

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9. Potting Station

A potting station is a great gift idea as well. This is a gift option that can be purchased or made.

So if you are working on a budget, then you might want to consider this gift option since it can be a DIY gift.

Get this gift ›

10. Tiller

A tiller can be a gardener’s best friend. It keeps them from having to pull a bunch of weeds by hand, as well as helping them to prepare their garden each year.

As long as your gardener doesn’t practice no-till gardening, you’ll be good to go with this gift.

Get this gift ›

11. Plant Stand

Plant stands are another great gift because it allows gardeners to show off their gorgeous flowers in a fashionable and appealing way.

Personally, I love plant stands because it allows people from the road to notice my gorgeous flowers during the warmer months.

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12. Table Top Garden

A table top garden is a great garden gift for those that love to garden (and even those who don’t.) The reason is that those who don’t love to garden can easily grow a plant indoors.

But for the avid gardener, it gives them a way to grow something even when the temperatures aren’t cooperating with their passion.

Get this gift ›

13. Wheel Barrel

My mom bought us the best wheel barrel a few years ago for my husband’s birthday. It has hauled everything from dirt to wood, and anything else in between.

So a wheel barrel is a very functional gift that can be used all over the garden and around the property in other areas too.

Get this gift ›

14. Pruners

Pruners are another excellent gift for the gardener. When you grow plants, part of the work is keeping the plant in tip top shape.

So you need pruners in order to cut the plants back each year and encourage new and better growth in the years to come.

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15. Baskets

Baskets are something that a gardener can never have too many of. They are great for displaying flowers, hauling weeds, and also for harvesting your fruits and vegetables.

If you know a gardener that has quite the green thumb, then you’ll want to consider getting them a few extra baskets before harvest time.

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16. Hoe

A garden hoe is a very versatile tool. I use mine all the time. Its primary purpose is to help get weeds out of the way of plants.

However, it can also be used for planting, emptying chicken nesting boxes, and for killing snakes that randomly sneak up on you in the garden.

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17. Sprinkler

A sprinkler system makes watering a garden so much easier. It would be a great gift, especially, for those that have a larger garden.

So if you’d like to save your gardener a lot of extra trips lugging watering cans and hoses, then consider getting them a sprinkler system.

Get this gift ›

18. Watering Can

Watering cans are a gardener’s friend. I love walking around our property with my watering can in hand and just taking in the cool night air after a hot summer day.

And also giving my beautiful plants a drink while I stroll. I think most gardeners enjoy taking in the flowers they work so hard on. A watering can is part of that process.

Get this gift ›

19. Self-Watering Planter

A self-watering planter can be a life saver. We try to go on vacation once a year, and I always worry about my potted plants while I’m gone.

Well, if you have one of these planters, then you don’t have to worry about coming home to dead plants.

Get this gift ›

20. Hand Tools

Hand-held gardening tools are very important to any gardener. They include things like the spade which you use to plant your seedlings.

So if your gardener is in need of a new set, go for it. They are fairly inexpensive and will certainly be used.

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21. Hanging Baskets

I love hanging baskets. They look so pretty hanging on a covered front or back porch. They can also be used indoors for hanging indoor plants and adding a little life to your space.

So if you have a gardener that loves to decorate their porch areas with flowers, new hanging baskets could be a way for them to do that.

Get this gift ›

22. Flower Pouches

I love these things! We use to buy flowers in pouches from our local nursery when we lived in the city. We would use them to decorate the lights around our garage.

Then I discovered how inexpensive they were, and I love to create my own now.

Get this gift ›

23. Window Boxes

Window boxes are another great addition to any home. I use them every year around our house because I love looking out the doors and windows and seeing flowers.

If the gardener in your life loves that too, then window boxes might be a great gift for them. You can make them yourself too.

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24. Twine

You might laugh at this gift idea, but you’d be surprised how handy twine can be to a gardener. It can be used to tie up plants and flowers so they don’t break.

So if you are on a budget, but still want to give a thoughtful gift, this would be a good option for that in my opinion.

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25. Gardening Tote

I love garden totes. I think they are functional and trendy. Yet they also help keep any gardener pretty organized.

It is also nice that you don’t have to fumble around looking for a certain tool.

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26. Gardening Tool Belt

I think a gardening tool belt would be a really cool gift. It would be awesome to have all of the tools you need to be hooked right on your hip.

So if you have a gardener in your life that likes the convenience of having their tools attached to them, then this could be a good gift idea.

Get this gift ›

27. Rubber Trug

You might be thinking, “What is a trug?” It is actually a really cool garden tool that makes life a ton easier.

So it is basically a big rubber, flexible basket that is great for hauling harvests or weeds.

Get this gift ›

28. Plant Markers

Plant markers are an awesome gift in my opinion. You can make these yourself if you want to be crafty or are on a budget.

But you can also purchase them. Knowing what you are planting and where you planted it is a great gift for any gardener.

Get this gift ›

29. Gardening Clogs

Garden clogs are another fantastic gift idea in my book. To have one pair of shoes (that are easy to hose off) that you can garden in is an amazing gift.

Actually, I can’t tell you how many pairs of shoes I’ve ruined because I didn’t have garden clogs. If you’d like to find the right garden clogs for your gardener, try using our buying guide.

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30. Garden Hat

If you’ve ever gardened in the hot southern summer temps, then you know what an awesome gift a big floppy sun hat can be.

My husband was the first one to go for the floppy sun hat, but he proved that it can make a huge difference on a really warm day.

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31. Rainwater Collection System

A rainwater collection system can be as small or as large as you might imagine it to be. You can make your own rainwater collection systems, or purchase one.

For a smaller garden, they may not need a large rainwater collection system. A small one would probably do for watering plants.

Get this gift ›

32. Garden Scooter

This would be a great gift for a gardener of any age. It allows you to sit down and roll along as you work in the garden.

Plus, it has a nice place to hold your tools. This would add a lot of convenience to gardening.

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33. Kneeling Pad

Kneeling pads remind me of my grandmother. She was a gardener and every time she went outside she had to have her kneeling pad and coordinated garden gloves.

But now that I’m older I realize how much these kneeling pads really do save your knees. They are fairly inexpensive as well.

Get this gift ›

34. Hen and Chick Grow Kit

My mother-in-law gave me one of these grow-kits years ago. At the time I wasn’t really sure what to do with it.

But now that I’ve been growing more and more I see how neat these little things are. So if your gardener likes to grow hen and chicks then, by all means, try giving them a kit.

Get this gift ›

35. Flower Pots

A gardener can never have too many flower pots. They are all so different and versatile.

Plus, the more pots you have the more things you can grow in an experiment before you add them to your garden.

Get this gift ›

36. Plants/ Seeds

Giving a gardener a new plant or seeds to start a new plant is usually a great gift idea. It is exciting as the thought of growing something new.

Plus, if your gardener grows a lot of edibles, it is great to offer more variety for the food they produce that year.

Get this gift ›

37. Garden Signs

Garden signs are another fun gardening gift. It adds a little design, personality, and creativity to the garden.

So if your gardener likes to make their garden their own, then giving them a few garden signs could be a fun way to encourage that. You can make some yourself too.

Get this gift ›

38. Stepping Stones

Stepping stones are another fun way to add personality to a garden. You can make them as sentimental as you’d like.

Plus, it is a great gift idea for a DIYer as well. If not, you can always purchase stepping stones too.

Get this gift ›

Well, now you have over 30 gift ideas for the gardener in your life. Hopefully, this will add a little extra pep in their step now that spring is on its way too!

But I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are good gifts for your gardening friends? If you are a gardener, what gift would you like to receive?

We love hearing from you so leave us your comments in the space below.

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20 Cheap & Thoughtful Gifts That Look More Expensive Than They Actually Are

It happened, guys. Seemingly overnight, your friend group went from the type of people who drink Natty Light in the woods to the type of people who throw swanky dinner parties. Consequently, you quickly found yourself in need of thoughtful gifts that look more expensive than they are, because unfortunately, a mug filled with blow pops isn’t going to cut it anymore. That being said, even though you’re an adult now (and people expect adult-like gifts), when a friend or family member’s birthday rolls around, gifts that look classy don’t necessarily have to put you behind on your student loans this month.

When it comes to gifts that look expensive but aren’t, the best thing you can do for yourself is some good old fashioned research. Sure, you can duck into a department store 20 minutes before you need to be at your best friend’s housewarming party, but odds are that kind of stressful situation will result in limited options and some really expensive impulse buys. Instead, give yourself a few days’ head start, head over to a site like Amazon where you can compare prices side by side, and click around until you find a thoughtful gift that won’t break the bank.

1. An Electric Hair Straightening Brush To Save Time

AsaVea Portable Electric Hair Straightening Brush , $39, Amazon

This hair straightening brush not only detangles knots, but it effortlessly glides through hair to secure a sleek and shiny-straight style with significantly less damage than old fashioned flat irons. Anti-scald technology means no more painful burns, and a slim frame makes it easy to maneuver — all under $40.

2. This Rainfall Shower That Plays Music

Rain Showerheads with Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker, $32, Amazon

Not only is this rainfall showerhead durable, powerful, and easy to install, but it comes with a waterproof Bluetooth speaker that attaches right to the shower head, so you can rock out first thing in the morning.

3. Give The Gift Of A Charged Phone Battery

Yoobao External Battery Pack, $14, Amazon

For that friend who always needs to stay connected, this Yoobao external battery pack is a sleek and reliable way to get an extra boost wherever you are. It’s compatible with most major devices, and it’s able to fully charge your phone a few times over depending on the model.

4. A Luxurious Exfoliating Mask That Tackles All Kinds Of Skin Issues

Herbivoire Botanicals Pink Clay , $22, Nordstrom

This exfoliating pink clay mask has people raving, and that’s because it’s a luxurious and easy way to combat blemishes, clogged pores, blackheads, and oily skin.

5. A Pocket Sized Speaker That Pairs With Your Smartphone

Emie Radio Bluetooth Speaker , $33, Amazon

This mini speaker with a vintage-looking wooden frame is a great option for taking your music out of your earbuds and into the world. Its rechargeable battery lasts five to six hours, and you can use an aux cable if your device doesn’t have Bluetooth.

6. A Gift For The Mixologist

Rabbit Electric Cocktail Mixer, $14, Amazon

For the mixologist in your group, this really cool Rabbit electric cocktail mixer blends drinks at the touch of a button. It’s made from glass and stainless steel, and it runs entirely on batteries.

7. This Personalized Cutting Board For The Chef In Your Life

Personalized Bamboo Cutting Board, $25, Amazon

This personalized bamboo cutting board is durable and made from genuine bamboo, but the real seller is that you can get it personalized with your choice of eight different designs (and any name you want) at no extra cost.

8. For That Friend Who’s A Little Accident-Prone

Unbreakable Wine Glasses, $21, Amazon

An amazing gift for anyone who’s a little bit accident prone, this set of four unbreakable wine glasses are dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, super high quality, and look like actual glass.

9. This Housewarming Wine Tool Set

VonShef Wine Bottle Set, $12, Amazon

The VonShef wine bottle set makes an awesome housewarming gift, as it comes with a wine pourer, corkscrew, wine bottle collar, and wine stopper all in a stylish black display case.

10. A Great Present For The Breakfast Lover

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker, $24, Amazon

Something that cooks your eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, and toast all at once should be a hell of a lot more expensive, but the Hamilton Beach breakfast sandwich maker is actually really reasonable.

11. Help Them Personalize Their Space

Ecooltronic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser, $24, Amazon

Not only does this Ecooltronic aromatherapy essential oil diffuser double as a cool mist humidifier, but it’s made with a classy wood design and changes from one LED color to the next.

12. This Luxe Pillowcase That Addresses Hair & Skin While You Sleep

Fishers Finery Pure Silk Pillowcase, $23, Amazon

Everybody appreciates a gift they can actually use immediately, especially if that means immediately reaping its benefits. This case is made of mulberry silk, which smoothes and shines hair and is significantly more gentle on skin than scratchy alternative fabrics. If your friend’s not yet discovered the luxury that is silk pillowcases, you’re going to be the most revered gift giver in your friend group.

13. These Go Great Alongside An Adult Coloring Book

Gallery Studio 82-Piece Deluxe Art Set, $25, Amazon

Just in time for the adult coloring book craze, this 82-piece art set has a little of everything you need to finally scribble out work frustrations into colorful masterpieces. Pencils, oil pastels, watercolors, brushes, drawing pencils, and a few extras have your bases covered.

14. Cozy Cable Knit Gloves For Texting

Isotoner Knitted Texting Gloves, $19, Amazon

These Isotoner knitted texting gloves are made with a cozy cable knit design that’s warm and luxurious, and they’ve got smarTouch invisible technology, so you can use your smartphone while wearing them.

15. Decorative Wall Accents To Complete A Room

Umbra Decorative Accents (Set of 6), $30, Amazon

These pretty copper geometric gem shapes will go perfectly together on any wall or room in which they’re placed. Plus, reviewers are saying they’ve used them to hold wall terrariums, hang light fixtures from the ceiling, and other useful things.

16. This LED Vanity Mirror For The Beauty Lover

Ovente LED Lighted Tabletop Vanity Mirror , $30, Amazon

Magnifying mirrors are never just pocket change, which is a shame, as great ones like this minimize shadow and offer up to eight times magnification for the person with the perfect cat eye. But this one rings up at only $30, has all that above, and even has a 360-degree swivel and a battery operated system (that means no more messy cords cluttering up your desk).

17. This Instant Camera

Fujifilm Instax Instant Film Camera, $60, Amazon

While an actual Polaroid camera may set you back $100 or more, this instant camera gets the job done at half the price. Automatic exposure measurement, a lighter frame, and an updated viewfinder mean your images come out perfectly, every time.

18. This Mini Curling Wand For Styling On The Go

Conair Mini YOU Ceramic Clipless Curler, $17, Amazon

This clipless curler makes touchups a seriously easy feat, no matter where your friend is headed for the day. A heat-resistant storage pouch makes clean up as quick as the gadget’s fast heat-up capabilities, and the curler’s tiny size means your pal is traveling with significantly less clutter for their next weekend away.

19. This Stovetop Espresso Maker For The Caffeine Lover

Grosche Milano Moka Stovetop Espresso Maker , $30, Amazon

Everyone’s “the caffeine lover” these days, so it’s worth it to snap up a gift anyone would love on their breakfast table. This stovetop espresso maker is cool because it gets more caffeine and flavor out of your coffee beans than your regular coffee maker ever did. Plus, there’s a one-year warranty and reviewers are saying it’s convenient and easy to use.

20. These Wrinkle Guard Packing Sleeves For The Traveler

Dot&Dot Packing Folder To Avoid Wrinkles, $32, Amazon

This two-pack of folding envelopes is the one thing your always-prepared traveling friend doesn’t own yet. You can fit up to eight articles on clothing in each sleeve, and by following the folding instructions from the included diagram, can ensure that your clothes remain completely wrinkle-free upon arrival.

Images: Amazon (20)

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

Affordable Gifts That Only Look Expensive

I’m not sure when or how I became the queen of finding affordable items that only look like a fortune. Maybe it’s because my mom trained me from a young age to run straight to the sale rack when I enter a store, or maybe because I simply enjoy being perceived as someone who has expensive taste in order to fill some deep dark void within, which is very healthy and normal, I swear.

When it comes to gifting, no one will ever tell you that, while it’s the thought that counts, it’s how much you paid for it that hints at your devotion, too. Even if you don’t necessarily make it rain, here’s how to shower your loved ones with top-quality items you can actually afford.

I was very upset when my betrothed gifted this Kate Spade ring holder/trinket bowl to me because I assumed he paid a ton for it. Sterling silver with a pretty little bow on it, it’s a steal at $40.

A study I just made up suggests that carrying your business cards in a structured case rather than scattering them around your briefcase like Hansel and Gretel trails of loose bread makes you look 300 times more professional. “Here, take my card,” said every CEO about to close a massive deal ever.

Frida Kahlo is a symbol of all things strength and class, rendering the mere idea of her luxurious. Place her in a rainforest smoking a cigarette, and now we’re talking. What’s great about a serving tray is that when it’s not in use, it works as a coffee table centerpiece or a decorative item you can lean against the backsplash in your kitchen.

You don’t need to spend a ton on cufflinks to look instantly pulled together. Even just a flash of gunmetal and a versatile, deep hue in a minimalist setting ups the dapper factor infinitely. Skip the pineapples and motorcycles (seriously, who signs off on these designs?) and spend less to look better.

Crystals and Jean Paul Gaultier? This designer power duo knows a thing or six about ear candy with its dainty dangling chain and that hooks onto your cartilage. There’s no doubt this gem of a piece will leave people speechless at how much you paid for it.

Given the cost of healthcare and several hours lost to aimlessly browsing the vitamin aisle, this nifty device is an absolute steal. Start with a self-administered blood test (it’s not as scary as it sounds), and from there, get a four-week supply of customized vitamins tailored to your specific needs. And yes, real, live human nutritionists and dietitians cross-check your order to ensure safety.

The same way tall folks are perceived as more important (begrudgingly types the 5’2 author of this piece) so too do tall items appear more expensive, probably. The vase is essentially perched up on high heels for plants, and looks stunning while doing it.

When we think of booking flights, we imagine our bank accounts slowly dwindling. That’ll no longer be the case with this nifty service. Give the travel addict in your life the gift of time with Skyhour credits that cover an hour of flight time for the cost of groceries. It operates on over 350 airlines to any destination, so you’re sure to find a flight that fits.

The product description is a misnomer because it’s a trinket to inspire meditation, which is the opposite of thinking. Semantics aside, thinking is for intellectuals, and intellectuals tend to have a lot of money because they contribute to society and whatnot. Everything about this clever display item screams “overpriced” but alas, it’s worth every penny if it actually reminds you to chill out for a hot sec.

The more minimalist it looks, the less it’s trying to prove it costs a lot. It’s confident in its worth. That’s the theory behind expensive-looking items, like these angular handmade chandelier earrings that make a bold statement. Plus, you can feel good about the fact that Akola employs women in crisis with a livable wage in Uganda and Dallas, helping them provide for their families.

Scouted is internet shopping with a pulse. Follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations and exclusive content. Please note that if you buy something featured in one of our posts, The Daily Beast may collect a share of sales.

Want even more holiday shopping ideas? Check out our huge list of gift guides for everyone on your list.

Cheap Gifts: 55 Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas

It’s never ever too early to start thinking about Christmas – so Christmas 2020 here we come!

Back by the overwhelming demand of anonymous Internet searchers (who are already far ahead of their holiday gift planning than I am!), here’s my list of no fewer than 55 inexpensive holiday gift ideas.

For even more gift ideas, check out our other holiday gift guide, with ideas ranging from the under-$50 to the $100 range and some alternative ideas to store-bought presents.

A note: “It’s the thought that counts” is a cliché—a facile way to excuse bad or lazy gift-giving. But, as you’ll see from these picks, it’s really not money, but thoughtfulness

, that distinguishes a so-so gift from a great one.

For the home

1. A nice poster or print in a good frame

If your friends are anything like 95 percent of the people in their 20s, their walls are totally bare, or covered up with unframed posters left over from college. Picking out decor for other people is always dicey, but the Internet is full of a lot of talented artists making really cool stuff.

Are they really into music? Maybe find a nice concert poster from their favorite band. Are they really into Doctor Who? The Internet is overflowing with fan art.

Here are some poster ideas to get you started:

  • Pink Floyd 1972 concert poster
  • Doctor Who Tardis poster
  • World map poster`

2. Recipe cards

Recipes from a book or the Internet are great, but there’s something especially wonderful about recipes you get from other people. And no need to worry about spilling canola oil all over your iPad.

You can create your own recipe cards with this 60-card set.

3. A kitchen tool or two

Image via Williams-Sonoma.

It takes a long time to stock your first kitchen, especially with stuff that’s going to last. For that friend who needs basics, think a can opener, potato peeler, or corkscrew. If you want to get fancier, you could go for a garlic press, a potato masher, or a pastry cutter.

Maybe throw in a pretty tea towel for some color.

4. Scented candles

In those weeks leading up to Christmas, everyone’s house smells of delicious pine. In the weeks after, when that pine tree’s desiccated corpse has been tossed out into the street for trash pickup, a nice scented candle can fill (with a lovely aroma) the void it left behind.

5. Christmas tree ornament

We all had those favorite ornaments as a kid, the ones we fought with our siblings to be able to put on the tree ourselves, the ones whose origins we didn’t know but whose presence was a cherished part of our childhood.

Now that we’re all grown up, it’s time to start building Christmas ornament collections of our own. With each ornament you give, you’re helping your friend get one step closer to not having to throw a whole bunch of those gold balls (that always fall off) on their tree.

Here are a couple of beautiful ornaments to give you a few ideas:

  • Harry Potter Christmas ornament
  • Personalized pet ornament
  • Hummingbird ornament

6. Small gardening tools

Image by Garry Knight.

Gardening tools are great for new homeowners suddenly faced with caring and tending to their own garden.

7. A great cookbook

A great way to save money is to make meals at home, but the sheer number of cookbooks available can be overwhelming.

For novice chefs, I recommend the Budget Bytes cookbook, which is designed for people who are new to cooking and who want to save money. The focus is on simplicity, with a lot of basic recipes that can be adapted or modified however you wish. Plus, with the endless food blogs we have these days, you can give your recipient a book that already has a built-in community, where they can seek out further recipes as well as tips and tricks.


8. A photograph in a nice picture frame

Image by Rodrigo Baptista.

Do you have a mother? Does she love you? (Of course, she does.) Do you know what she’d love almost as much? A nice picture of you in a good frame that she can hang up in the living room or put on her desk at work.

9. A photo calendar, coffee mug, or a good old-fashioned scrapbook

Image by Lewis Minor.

True story: At the end of seventh grade, one of my best friends moved to Iowa. I spent that entire year taking really bad (yet cherished) pictures of her and our other friends and put them all together in a scrapbook. In hindsight, it was maybe a little creepy, but my friend loved it.

And now, with services like Shutterfly and Snapfish, you don’t even have to put those precious memories into a scrapbook. They can go on magnets, coffee mugs, mousepads, and to-go cups. Or just on a big poster.

10. Lunar calendar

If you don’t want to go all out and get a calendar printed, lunar calendars are a cool addition to any home. It’s exactly what it sounds like—a calendar that tells you the phase of the moon each night. Perfect for your friends who are into astronomy/astrology.

11. Nice stationery, a quality pen, and a few stamps

Image by Kathryn Rotondo.

Now that our e-mail accounts are mostly just digital landfills full of listserv emails and one-time offers you somehow still get three times, it’s time for good ol’ pen and paper to make a comeback. Writing letters is more intimate than e-mail or the dreaded Facebook message. It’ll last a lot longer, too.

12. A journal or notebook with a personal note

Image by matryosha.

Keeping a journal can help increase focus, promote mindfulness, and boost memory. An empty notebook is also just full of promise, especially for a person of a creative or analytical bent.

Apparel & accessories

13. Hat, mittens, or scarves

Unless you live in Florida or Southern California, it’s probably cold where you are. And cold-weather accessories are, at least for me, always the first things that go missing just when you need them. They fall out of a pocket, or somehow find their way under the seat of your car, or you toss them in the back of the closet and only rediscover them the following summer when you’re looking for some long-lost piece of sports equipment.

What I’m saying is people always need more hats, mittens, and scarves.

14. Nice socks

Socks are always portrayed as the ultimate lame Christmas gift, but grownups know that good socks—especially warm ones with fun critters on them—are key to a good life.

15. A nice tote bag

You can get literary tote bags, art tote bags, and many more, so there’s no end to who you can give this gift to.

16. Travel pillow

Ever been trapped on a six-hour flight with nothing but the headrest to comfort you? Then you know the pain you are sparing your friend by giving them a travel pillow.

17. Creative key chain

This is another one of those nice-to-have items that almost no one buys for themselves. Most of us have our keys attached to a keychain from a now-defunct bank from 1998, or from our dentist, or from whatever commercial enterprise thrust one into our hands as we left their establishment at some point in a foggy, distant past. A nice, light keychain is an easy way to spruce up anyone’s daily routine.

18. An action figure or some other kind of figurine

Work can be depressing enough without a dreary, barren desktop. Give your friend or loved one a reminder of their favorite TV show or book to bring a little fun to their workspace.

19. Costume jewelry

Cheaper than the sterling silver stuff, and often more fun, costume jewelry is great for your dramatic friend with the colorful wardrobe who wears nothing but “statement necklaces,” or for the budding diva in your family itching for her (or his) first closeup.

20. Wallet

Image by Heather.

A wallet is another essential that often goes neglected, until the poor wallet is dusty, dirty, and warped from all those years of being stuffed in a pocket (or a pocketbook). There are lots of fun options, including card wallets, or more full-bodied options for people who still carry cash around.

21. A belt

For some reason, everyone puts off buying a belt. A $10-$30 belt just seems like too much to spend, even though it’s an important accessory.

Food & drink

22. A loaf of homemade bread

Image by Jessica Spengler.

Everyone loves carbs (even the people who don’t eat them), and almost everyone is impressed by baking, especially when it involves yeast.

Bonus: you’ll learn how to make bread.

23. A nice vase or jar filled with candy

Image by Javcon117.

Food, honestly, is never a bad gift. People need to eat, and they’d prefer to eat something delicious. Similarly, home décor is often the last thing on somebody’s mind. So give them a jar or vase full of candy of your choice, and once they’ve scarfed that down, they’ll have a nice receptacle for flowers to go on the dining room table. (Or the hand-me-down kitchen table with the bum leg that could really use all the help it can get.)

24. A coffee or tea mug with a bag of coffee or a box of tea

Mugs are another place where your knowledge of your friend or loved one will come in handy. Do they love owls, penguins, or turtles? (I hear owls are having a good year, merch-wise.) What about Bob’s Burgers? (Maybe they’d like this Tina mug I’ve been eyeing.)

25. A pour-over coffee starter kit

Image by Robert Gourley.

Pour-over coffee is the latest in coffee connoisseurship, and it doesn’t require all that much to get started. A ceramic cone costs anywhere from five dollars to $20 (like this one from Amazon).

(A good burr grinder is pricey, so maybe be sure your coffee-loving friend already has one, or a loved one who plans to give it to them.)

26. A bottle of good bitters and a book of cocktails

Image by Chelsea Nesvig.

Once you’re past college and have stopped drinking trash can punch and PBR, you inevitably start to turn your taste-buds toward more sophisticated ways of getting plastered.

Bitters is an extract that goes into classic cocktails like the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, the Mai Tai, and the Mojito. Give it to your vaguely pretentious friend who’s really into Tom Waits, along with a book of drink recipes.

27. A handful of nips of quality whiskeys

Image by doctyper on Flickr.

Whiskey can be an acquired taste, and it usually takes a few tries to get it just right. Give your friend several small samples to get the acquiring done quickly and economically.

28. A nuts and trail mix gift bag

Image by Sarah Milne.

Your gift will be a savory island of salty goodness in the holiday sea of sugar and rich chocolate.

29. A gift bag or basket of gourmet chocolate truffles or bars

Image by Mark Lee.

Your gift of chocolate will be another delicious drop in the holiday sea of sugar and candy.

30. A six-pack of a specialty beer

Image by Angelbattle.

You can’t swing a dead cat around the countryside without hitting a craft brewery these days. Pretty much everywhere you turn, there’s a bunch of bearded guys in flannel shirts offering you a free sample of their latest creation, usually something with a clever name like Hops on Pop IPA. You could get something local, something seasonal, or something weird. Great for that friend who’s still drinking Natty Lite at age 32.

31. A good $10 bottle of wine (plenty abound)

Image by Mary Witzigazdyatvcevwyffafsfvxawtussvtbbabuq.

Go to Whole Foods, or whatever vaguely chichi market you have in your town, and loiter in the wine section. Look a little confused. It won’t be long before a concerned person wearing an apron or a name tag will wander up to you and ask you if they can help. And, oh, can they! Tell them your budget, what your friend likes, and they’ll give you plenty of options. Be upfront if you don’t know anything—they can still make recommendations. Wine store employees are a lot like librarians: they wander about all day just dying for someone to ask them a question.

32. A flask

To go along with the various forms of alcohol above. You can get a simple flask for your minimalist friends, or a Harry Potter flask for your really cool friend that has great taste in literature.

33. Bottle of nice olive oil

If you’ve ever watched Ina Garten’s show on the Food Network, you know Ina’s all about using some “good olive oil,” and I’m told by people who actually follow her advice that you really can tell the difference.

34. A collection of nice hot chocolate mixes, plus a mug and marshmallows

Image by Randy Heinitz.

As apple cider is to fall, hot chocolate is to winter—regular, steaming mugs of that chocolate-y goodness can propel you through the short days and oh-so-long nights of January and February. Grab a few packets of your favorite brand (and don’t forget you can get different varieties, like mint or Mexican chocolate) and put them in a festive mug for your recipient’s pleasure.

35. Pancake mix and maple syrup

Image by Kurman Communications.

Pancakes are the ultimate weekend indulgence, light and fluffy and redolent of sleepy Saturdays when you were a kid. While the idea of pancakes is almost always appealing, the actual fact of making them usually isn’t. A mix can help expedite and simplify the whole process, allowing for less time measuring flour and more time stuffing your face.

36. Homemade cookies

Image by Moyan Brenn.

COOKIES! Enough said.

37. Travel size hot sauce

Many of us have that one friend who puts hot sauce on everything…even pizza. So, this gift is perfect for them. You can find hot sauce on Amazon, or most major stores like Walmart or The Christmas Tree Shop.

Fun & leisure

38. A few free months of Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Filmstruck, and a bag of popcorn

Image by keriluamox.

Netflix is great for that friend who’s yet to experience the joy of Orange is the New Black. Hulu is ideal for those who want to stay current on their favorite shows, but refuse to pay for cable.

Filmstruck, a new collaboration between Turner Classic Movies and The Criterion Collection, is the perfect gift for that die-hard film nerd.

Unsure of which one to pick? Read our review to find out.

39. A mix CD, a $10 iTunes gift card, or a month (or two) of Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music

Image by Nickolai Kashirin.

They’re not just for hopeless crushes or your girlfriend from college. Most people, as they get older, get less and less invested in new music, or even in finding cool old music to listen to. Getting a curated CD (great for people with longish commutes) or playlist can allow them to feel current without having to trawl the depths of Pitchfork for something they like.

Unsure which streaming service to get? Read our review to help you decide.

40. The first issue of your favorite comic book or graphic novel series

Comic books are a growing market, and there’s a lot more out there these days than just Marvel and DC. There are classics like The Watchmen (for someone who’s interested in a new take on superhero tropes), socio-political graphic memoirs like Persepolis or Maus, and literary works from Daniel Clowes.

And, for a hardcore superhero fan, you might consider getting them a month’s subscription to Marvel Unlimited.

41. A gift card to the local bookstore

Local bookstores are amazing, and if you’re not sure what your friend or family member would enjoy reading, giving them a gift card can allow them to choose the perfect book.

42. A deck of playing cards and a book of rules

Image by Jiahui Huang.

Cards are a great holiday game (for many years, my family always played a highly contentious game of spider on both Thanksgiving and Christmas), and injecting some novelty into an old tradition can keep things from getting stale.

Go for a classic deck, or maybe for something themed, if that’s your thing. Introduce your family or friends to such classic games as whist (kinda out of fashion, but ripe for a comeback), bridge, or the many varieties of poker.

43. Board games

Image by Mike Fleming.

You can go old-school with childhood classics like Jenga, Trouble, Hungry, Hungry Hippos, or Sorry. Or you can go with strategy games like Risk or Agricola.

For word nerds, consider Scrabble or Bananagrams. Again, consider your friend’s interest.

44. A few of the recipients’ favorite magazines

Image by Jessica Spengler.

True story: I asked for a subscription to The Economist for several years in a row, and never got it, and it always bummed me out. Now, The Economist is not a cheap gift (there’s a reason I asked someone else to buy it for me) but there are plenty of other magazine subscriptions to be had for far less than the combined newsstand price of a few issues. (For instance, you can get three months of print and digital access to the New Yorker for only $12, plus a free tote bag!)

45. Puzzle book (crosswords, Sudoku )

Image by Jenny.

Whether they’re crazy for crosswords or mad about Sudoku, puzzle enthusiasts can almost never get enough. Load them up with head scratchers to keep them busy until the spring thaw.

46. A travel guidebook for an upcoming vacation

Image by fotologic.

This is where it’s all about the thought. Do you have a friend who’s always dreamed of going to Europe? Or who wants nothing more than to sunbathe along the Amalfi coast? Backpack through Thailand? Give them some encouragement—and the tools to create their dream itinerary.

Personal care

47. Winter skin care kit

Image by Dee.

The horrors of winter are manifold—frigid temps, bone-chilling wind, the radiator that slowly leaches any and all moisture from your skin. Give a gift that will protect its recipient from the worst of winter’s physiological terrors: some nice lip balm, a good hand lotion, some cuticle oil, and maybe a facial moisturizer or shaving lotion.

48. A great shade of nail polish, cotton, and remover

Image by Travis Wise.

Consider something holiday-themed, like a nice pine green or a glowing fire-engine red.

49. A three-month subscription to BirchBox

This is also pushing it in terms of cheap, but a BirchBox subscription could be the gift that keeps on giving….for three months! Instead of trying to pick out what you think your friend might like, give her three months of chances to find something great on her own.

50. Travel-size toiletries

With the TSA still refusing to let us take our full-size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash on the plane, and the airlines still charging $25+ to check a bag, it’s more essential than ever to have a good travel kit filled with 3.4oz toiletries.

51. Bubble bath, bath oils, or a nice soap

Image by Denise Mattox.

Winter can be hard on both the body and the soul. A nice, warm bubble bath can take a little of the misery out of the sun going down at 3:45 pm.

52. Lavender sleep mask

For those nights you just can’t get to sleep—try this lavender eye mask that’s sure to help you relax.

53. Men’s grooming kit

Men need personal care items too. This kit is perfect for a close shave, or a simple trim.

54. For pet lovers: A box of pet treats and a pet toy

Image by William Prost.

Pamper them by helping them pamper their furry friends. Make your own BarkBox! (Or, if you’re willing to pay a small premium for convenience, you could just get them a free month of BarkBox.) Maybe do a little snooping, find out what Fido or Fifi’s preferred flavors and textures are.

55. Custom dog (or cat) collars

Print your friend’s pet’s name on the collar, or get one in their favorite collar.

Make your holiday budget go further

These 55 inexpensive-yet-thoughtful gifts are a great way to buy your loved ones gifts that won’t break your budget.

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If you want to make holiday shopping even easier, consider using a credit card that offers great cash back rewards or a sign-up bonus. That way you’re still earning even while you’re spending. Plus, some of these cards have the added bonus of offering 0 percent interest on purchases for over a year!

  • How to Give Your Significant Other the Perfect Gift
  • Creative Secret Santa Gift Ideas

How to get cheap gifts that look expensive

Reading Time: 6 mins

There are so many more times when you have to give presents now that we’re all looking for ways to get cheap gifts that look expensive.

From anniversaries, to Mother’s Day, to office birthdays (often people you barely know) to Valentine’s Day and the misery of Christmas, there are far too many occasions now where we feel obliged to give at least a card if not a full-blown, impressive-looking present.

So how do you look generous without having to go overdrawn or take out a huge loan to cover it?

  • Too many people to give presents to? You’re not alone
  • How to get cheap gifts that look expensive for women
  • How to get cheap gifts that look expensive for men
  • Free presents that look impressive
  • Christmas presents and cards – how to do that on the cheap
  • How to save for Christmas and birthdays

Too many people to give presents to? You’re not alone

According to a survey by we are feeling burdened by the number of occasions we feel we need to buy presents for. They found that 68% of us feel more societal pressure to buy presents for more calendar events like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

We spent £21 billion on Christmas festivities last year, we send 300 million birthday cards each year and over a third of us spend more on gifts than we can really afford.

So, what can we do about it? Here are some ideas.

How to get cheap gifts that look expensive for women

If you have a bit of time on your hands and some creativity, a great way to give a gift that looks more expensive than it is is to make a hamper for them.

See our article here about how to make hamper to give or sell. As you can see, you can put all sorts of things in them from homemade cakes to smellies from the pound shop and markets, to just plain sweets. It’s all about the presentation – the cellophane, the ribbon, the flowers. You can make something for a few pounds that looks like £50.

Use cashback sites where you get money back for purchases. We love TopCashback. With these you sometimes get so much cashback that your gift ends up costing nothing.

If they’re a bit of a culture-vulture you could give them an annual membership of something like the National Trust.

Keep an eye on local charity shops through the year. Not only do they often have well-priced new things but they have secondhand items that look new. Buy them when you see them and keep them in your presents box (see below for more details of that) so that you can give them later when birthdays and Christmas come up.

How to get cheap gifts that look expensive for men

If you have the time and will make the effort, it’s worth hanging around outside a football stadium or rugby club to get your male friend’s idol to sign a t-shirt, ball, cap or whatever you can afford to buy. It might involve some extra time hanging around but it would make an ordinary present suddenly very valuable…at least to him.

Again, use cashback sites where you get money back for purchases. We love Quidco. With these you sometimes get so much cashback that your gift ends up costing nothing.

Experience presents like those offered by Red Letter Days are often good for men and these companies regularly have special offers so check to see if they’re having a sale now.

Watch the sales through the year. Buy Christmas presents in the summer sales and birthday presents in the January sales. Keep them in your presents box for later when these birthdays and anniversaries come round.

Free presents that look impressive

Use your points

Do you have a Boots Advantage card, Avios, Nectar points or similar?

Many of us never get round to using them but you could save them through the year and use them to buy Christmas or birthday presents.

give the gift of your time

If you’re struggling to afford anything right now, give the gift of your time. This is often much more acceptable to older people or those who have enough worldly goods already.

Do a nice card for them and offer them some free hours of babysitting, or a day out to the shops, or a days-worth of ironing. Think of what you’re good at and what they really need and offer that. Who wouldn’t want someone else to do their ironing for them??

Use freebie sites

There are amazing free gifts offered through the year on freebie sites – like MoneyMagpie Freebie newsletters which you can sign up to for free here. Make sure you check these regularly to see what’s on offer. Even if it isn’t something you personally want, you could add some of the things to your presents box for giving to others later on.

Christmas presents and cards – how to do that on the cheap

We have a great article here on how to have a free Christmas. There are loads of ideas there for presents and cards to give for nothing.

Christmas is a ridiculously expensive time for most of us, so take a multi-lateral approach – get your friends and family together and suggest that you do a ‘secret santa’ in groups so that you just buy one good present for someone and not lots of silly little ones that people won’t want.

Or, suggest to your friends that instead of buying each other presents, you just all go out for a dinner or to a show that you all want to see. You all buy your own and that’s your present to and from each other. That way you have the fun of a night out together but you don’t overspend. in fact, make it cheaper by waiting until January to do it. There will be lots of offers in restaurants and theatres unlike December and New Year where they all add a naught to the price!

Greetings cards can cost a crazy amount at Christmas so get round that – and save the planet – by buying an annual subscription to where you can send as many cards as you like all year round.

how to save for christmas and birthdays

It might sound obvious but if you save a small amount regularly, over time you will have enough – or nearly enough – to buy presents and fun stuff for special occasions when they come around.

There are various ways you can do it:

  • Save a specific coin every time you have it in your purse: it might be that you put all your £2 coins into a jar through the year and then use those to pay for Christmas, or even every 50p coin. It doesn’t matter which one you choose but if you do it through the year, by December you will have a decent amount of cash saved.
  • Set up a standing order at the beginning of the month: just come up with an amount you can afford – maybe £5 a month – and set up a standing order from your bank account to go into a special savings account (just pick one of the ones here that you like) and don’t touch it until Christmas or a special anniversary that you’re saving for. Actually, you could set up several different savings accounts and put £5 or £10 into each every month so that you have enough saved for 1) your annual holiday, 2) repairs of household appliances when they need it, 3) birthdays and anniversaries. You might have other things you want to save up for like car repairs or a new kitchen. Set up as many savings accounts as you like, do a standing order each month and after a few months you’ll be surprised at just how much you have.
  • Keep a ‘presents box’ into which you put things you’ve bought in the sales, in markets and at charity shops through the year. When a birthday or Christmas comes up you can dip into the box for a relevant present. You can also put ‘re-gifting’ presents here, i.e. put in gifts other people give you that you don’t want. Just make sure you don’t give the present back to them!

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