Assorted wrapped gifts in all colors.

The (Budget-Friendly) Joy of Gift Giving

We all like to know we’ve brightened the day of someone we love and care for. Choosing to spend a little extra money on a gift for someone special may seem like it’s worth it right now, but if you have to deviate from your budget, then it might not be the best idea in the long-run.

Luckily, there’s plenty of ways to give something that’s sure to be appreciated while also staying within your budget. We’ve compiled a few ideas to help you do just that!

Give ‘em some coupons 

No, not the ones sent out with the newspaper for toilet paper, kitchen appliances, and the like. Make your own coupon booklet of things the recipient can redeem whenever. If it’s for an immediate family member or roommate, make a few coupons volunteering yourself to do the chores you know they like to do the least, such as mowing the lawn or dusting the house from top to bottom. If it’s for a friend or significant other, make one for a home-cooked meal where they pick the menu and you do the cooking. Get creative and brainstorm quality time activities and favors, write them up on some cardstock, and assemble into a flipbook.

DIY personalized cookbook

For the chef, baker, or mixologist in your life, compile recipes you think they’d like or family favorites. If they have a favorite food of all time, you could do a section specific for that – or even make the entire book just recipes with whatever their guilty pleasure is.

Give the gift of music

It could be a playlist of their favorite songs, music you think they’d like based on their tastes, or songs significant to your relationship with them. If you happen to have the gift of making music yourself, whether singing or playing an instrument, consider making a few recordings of yourself. Parents who have funded any or all of your musical endeavors might be particularly appreciative of that twist!

Gifts in a jar

The possibilities are endless with this idea. Whatever their hobby might be, whether it’s crafting or drawing or baking or something else entirely, gather up some small items that relate to it and put them in a jar. Finish it off with some decorative touches, and voilà! The Gunny Sack has some additional ideas for potential themes for your jar gift.

For the reader in your life… 

You can never go wrong with gifting them a book in an area of interest to them. However, books aren’t necessarily the cheapest purchase. A more budget-friendly idea is to compile a “Must Read” list of either your favorite books or the results of some searching for new reads you think they might like. Or, you could even coordinate a book swap of one of your favorites with one of theirs! 

A little thoughtfulness goes a long way in conveying your care for someone this holiday season–and toward keeping your budget intact!


Spending less is just the first part of a successful financial plan. Put away the money you saved on the holidays into a savings account for future expenses. Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully. Let America Saves help you reach your savings and debt reduction goals. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. That’s what our pledge is all about. Learn more about how to save money for the future here.

TAKE THE PLEDGE


Gift-giving doesn't have to be a budget buster this holiday season. Here's how: http://bit.ly/2AG587x 

Tweet this now

Take the Pledge

I pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. I will encourage my family and friends to do the same

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | January 16, 2017

    Saving for a rainy day? Put your #taxrefund into emergency #savings >> http://bit.ly/2hTDPg2 via @AmericaSaves

Saver Stories View all »

Saving Early: Key to Successful Future

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

For Johnnie Lovett, a Young Illinois Saver, saving has been a habit since he was a teenager. “As a teenager, I was responsible for buying certain things with my allowance,”

Read more...

Starting and Continuing a Personal Finance Journey

Written by Sara Cooper | December 23, 2013

When Kiara Hardin, now a junior at Western Illinois University, became an intern with the Chicago Summer Business Institute during her sophomore year of high school, she began her personal finance journey. The program required participants to open a savings account.

Read more...

Developing a Savings "Game Plan"

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Eunice Diaz, a teacher in Colorado Springs, had been noticing a pattern. Despite the fact that she and her husband were “making good money,” they were spending their entire earnings and “were still struggling at the end of the month.”

Read more...

Receive Updates

Sign up for Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Sign Up

Sign up for Emails

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Get Emails

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving