Frugal, Last-Minute Gift Ideas for This Holiday Shopping Season

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated December 19, 2018

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Money Saving Tips
December 19, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Buying the best gift during the holiday shopping season isn’t always in the budget, especially if you waited until the last minute. But if you find yourself procrastinating on your gift shopping, there’s no need to worry about breaking the bank. Here are three frugal, last-minute gift ideas to try this holiday season:

Show someone you care with a handmade treat. You can gift these crafty creations without making it overtake your budget, too. Try your hand at baking some delectable delights, including holiday cookies, pecan caramel candies or mint frosting cupcakes. These make great gifts to give to your neighbor or to the host of the holiday dinner party this year.

You can spend just a few dollars on the ingredients or just use what’s already in your pantry. After the desserts cool, wrap them in parchment paper or cellophane and use a decorative ribbon to add the perfect finishing touch. You can even pair it with an inexpensive but tasty wine that’s $5 or less from the grocery store.

Get your creative juices flowing and use inexpensive parts to arrange a gift basket in a unique way. Visit your local dollar store or browse the dollar section of a discount store for items to piece together as a gift basket. You can go for a standard gift basket or get more creative and use everyday items that double as containers, such as mugs or canisters.

Reuse tissue paper from old gifts that are in good condition and start packing the gift basket with inexpensive items like sleeping masks or coloring books. Create a theme around the basket and stay in your budget. For instance, you can make a gift basket for relaxing and include items, such as single packs of face masks and bath accessories. You can also use cellophane and curled paper ribbon to add a store-bought feel to the gift, too.

If you have no plans to use that unwrapped gift you got last year, there’s no harm in passing it along to someone who will. The key here is to make sure it’s a gift that the recipient will want. You also want to customize the gift for the person you’re giving it to and avoid handing it over to people in the same social circle as the original gift giver. Use special wrapping paper and write a handwritten card or note to make it memorable.

Don’t let the gift-giving season bend your budget. By getting creative with last-minute gifts, you can make this holiday shopping season frugal and fun for everyone.

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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