Don’t Turn Down That Invite Because You’re Broke: Try These Low-Cost Gift Ideas

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated January 27, 2021

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Money Saving Tips
April 27, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Getting invited to a birthday party or other event usually feels good when you have enough money to buy a gift for the host. When you’re short on cash, though, you may feel tempted to turn down the invitation. Instead of avoiding events hosted by your friends, colleagues and family members, you can rely on these four low-cost gift ideas.

If you have a collection of recipes that you love to make at home, put them together in a binder and give them to your host as a gift. You can add photos and illustrations to make the collection more attractive.

A professional recipe book can cost anywhere from $20 to $100. A homemade version will cost less than $10.

Buying a tomato, cucumber or another type of vegetable transplant at a home supply store can cost $5 or more, depending on the type of plant that you want. Instead of buying transplants from the store, you can grow them at home for practically nothing.

Start by buying a packet of seeds. Follow the directions to grow the seeds into sturdy seedlings that have started to flower. You’ll need to purchase some startup equipment, but these items don’t cost much. Besides, you can use them year after year to grow new gifts.

If you have a collection of photographs that include your host or your host’s family, then you can turn those images into a photo book.

Photo books don’t cost much to make, especially when you use companies like Shutterfly and Snapfish. As long as you layout the pictures yourself, you can buy a photo book that looks professional for less than $20.

An amazing gift doesn’t have to cost much money as long as it involves some effort and thought. For instance, you may go to a specialty store to purchase the host’s favorite candy. The candy might cost a lot compared to the items that you find in your neighborhood grocery, but it’s unlikely that you’ll pay more than $10.

Your host will love your gift because it’s somewhat difficult to find. Really, it doesn’t matter how much you spend.

Never turn down an invitation because you’re too cash-strapped to buy a present. There are always affordable options when you take a creative approach to choosing a gift.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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