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What are the Best Frugal Gift Ideas?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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For people living on tight household budgets, the concept of a frugal gift is often very important. The idea is to keep the cost of the gift at a minimum while also identifying a gift idea that is likely to delight the recipient. There are actually several different ways to approach frugal gift giving, including the preparation of homemade gifts, regifting something already owned by the giver, or even making use of gifts that are purchased at a discount.

Going the homemade route is often a great approach to providing a high-quality frugal gift. Here, the talents of the giver come into play, making it possible to create something that is likely to be of interest to the recipient. Someone who cooks may find that people would enjoy a basket of homemade cookies or pastries, or even a casserole that is delivered in a dish that is part of the gift. Artists may create wall decorations that match the color schemes and tastes of the gift recipients. Even people who are good at repairs or doing lawn work may create a simple coupon book as a frugal gift, allowing the recipient to claim lawn mowing services or simple repairs around the home throughout the year.

A second approach to the frugal gift effort is to consider regifting something that the giver already owns. In order for this approach to succeed, it is imperative that the regifted item be something that the recipient has admired or that he or she is highly likely to use. The item should also be in excellent condition. One important consideration is to always make sure the item was not originally given by the person who is to receive the regifted item; this can often create anything but good feelings between the giver and the recipient.

Going with inexpensive finds at discount stores or purchasing items offered at deep discounts may also be a great way to go about obtaining the perfect frugal gift. For example, purchasing several different bath and toiletry products from a discount store and arranging them in a simple basket can create an inexpensive gift that is likely to please. A similar approach would include purchasing a range of snacks at a discount store and offering them up in either an inexpensive basket or even a simple gift bag. Simple gifts of this type provide the recipient with something to enjoy immediately without spending a lot of money.

Living frugally does not necessarily mean doing without gifts or abandoning the idea of gift giving. Instead, it involves using various strategies to come up with low cost gifts that are in line with the tastes and sensibilities of the recipient. Keeping this in mind, it is possible to provide a frugal gift that will be received with gratitude, along with the affection and good wishes that typically accompany any gift to a loved one.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By ninetydegree — On Jun 27, 2011

Good gift ideas can come from anywhere. If you're a frugal shopper, you already re-gift, buy from the local Goodwill or consignment shop, frequent garage sales, shop at your favorite stores when they are having their big sales or attend swap parties regularly.

If you are looking for gifts for your daughter, sister, mother or best friend, swap parties should be your friend!

At a swap party you take a certain number of items to the party that are new or like new and you come home with the same number of items that you chose.

I've found designer jewelry, purses and accessories at swap parties. I usually go with certain people in mind. If I can't find any clothing in my size, no problem! I just think about my list of friends and family I need to buy for and knowing their sizes makes this an easy process.

By indigowater — On Jun 26, 2011

I love going to my local world market and picking up $1 items to fill a basket (that I already own) as a gift. The $1 items are incredibly diverse, from cheese to chocolate, maple syrup in little maple-leaf glass bottles, hot sauce, olives, pepper sauce, vodka in little bottles, and much more.

Cheap gifts don't have to look or feel cheap. They just have to fit in a frugal gift giving budget. I've collected items like these in a drawer. When a special birthday comes up on the calendar, I go to the gift drawer to see what's there and what I may need to add to pump up the gift!

If gift-giving is your love language, you'll need to keep refreshing this drawer full of goodies to fit any birthday, anniversary, or Christmas gift opportunity.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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