Giving Small But Thoughtful Gifts on a Budget

Updated on April 29, 2020
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Nicole has a degree in psychology, and is a mom to three young sons. She loves all things art, and enjoys writing about her experiences.

Super cute outfit (long-sleeve shirt and pants) off the clearance rack, mostly paid for with my $5 rewards money!
Super cute outfit (long-sleeve shirt and pants) off the clearance rack, mostly paid for with my $5 rewards money!

Gift-Giving on a Budget: It Is Possible!

Do you have a special event coming up, but not much cash to spend? Is there a baby shower or wedding in your future, but your limited budget is giving you anxiety? I've found a few tips and tricks for creating cute, thoughtful gifts that don't cost much (but are still nice!). Hope you enjoy!

A gift for a friend, using a blank Snoopy card as a birthday card.
A gift for a friend, using a blank Snoopy card as a birthday card.

Use Store Rewards and Store Cash to Your Advantage

One of the tricks I've found when giving little gifts to friends is taking full advantage of the rewards programs at the stores where I shop. For example, our friends who live on the East Coast just had a baby girl in December. Since we are in the habit of writing letters and sending little gifts back and forth to them, and since we wanted to bless them with a little gift for their newborn, I decided to take a trip over to Kohl's.

Shop Clearance and Don't Use a Credit Card

The old me would find an overpriced (albeit adorable) outfit that was definitely outside of my limited budget, and then I would charge it on my credit card (big mistake!). Not anymore! This time, I whipped out the $5 rewards I got in my email inbox, and I challenged myself to find something cute on the clearance rack. My challenge to myself is this: I spend as little over my rewards amount as I possibly can (without buying something that looks too cheap).

Since springtime is fast approaching, long-sleeve outfits are already going on sale. However, it will still be cold in New Jersey for some time. So, instead of getting too out of control and going over budget, I found an absolutely *ADORABLE* outfit on the clearance rack in 6-month size so that the new baby can wear it for awhile. Guess what? It was only $8.23!

Stick to Your Budget

Now, I might be tempted to think to myself, "I'm only spending $3, so I might as well get something else to go with the gift . . . like a blanket or a stuffed animal, right?" WRONG. That would be going over budget and over the goal. So I marched myself straight to the checkout line and purchased the precious little outfit for a grand total of (after using my $5 rewards) only $3.23! What a steal! Plus, the outfit is perfectly cute, there's nothing wrong with it, and once I pull the clearance sticker off, no one needs to know (nor would they care) that I didn't spend full price.

Note: You usually do have to spend money at a store to get rewards or store cash. I got mine by using gift cards I received at Christmas, so that helped!

Cute little bows from the 99 cent store!
Cute little bows from the 99 cent store!

Shop at Discount Stores Like the 99 Cent Store and Dollar Tree

Going back to the example of the newborn outfit, I had $7 in cash to spend at the dollar store the other day. I decided to use some of it to purchase a few cute little bows for the newborn baby gift. There were also some sweet and soft little blankets there, which I could have added as well. However, I chose not to because I had purposely left my debit card with my husband, who was waiting in the car. I did not want to be tempted to go over my $7 budget I had set for myself.

Create Challenges for Yourself so You Don't Overspend

I've found that creating these little challenges for myself is really helping me not to overspend. The outfit, plus the bows and a cute little card, is more than enough of a nice gift for our friends, especially since they understand that we have a growing family with a limited budget.

Discount Stores Are Great for Gifts and Gift Wrap

The dollar store and 99 cent store have so many perfectly good and useful items at a fraction of the cost you would be paying elsewhere. That being said, it's a really great place to shop for gifts. The 99 cent store also has an amazing gift wrap section, as well as cute little greeting cards that literally only cost 99 cents instead of at least $1.99 and up. Why spend a lot of money on a card someone will most likely throw away anyhow? So don't be shy in taking advantage of these wonderful discount stores!

Re-Gift Quality Items You Already Own

One example of re-gifting is another newborn gift I recently gave a friend. Since she just had a baby girl and we don't have any daughters yet, I took a couple of "newborn" sized baby girl outfits out of my closet and gifted them to her. It seems like I make big babies (both of mine have been over 9 lbs so far). So, it seems unlikely to me that I'll give birth to a little girl who will be small enough to fit in newborn size at all, or at least not for very long!

With this knowledge, I took the perfectly nice, unworn, and unused outfits and gave them to my friend, who absolutely loves them. They still had the tags on, and she didn't need to know they were re-gifted.

Use Common Sense When Re-Gifting

That is one example of tactfully using items you already own to create a wonderful gift that will bless a friend or family member. Remember to use your common sense with this one, though, because you don't want to re-gift something that is used, dirty, or otherwise unacceptable!

I Hope Some of My Tips Helped

I hope some of my tips/tricked helped you to think of creative ways to give gifts on a budget. It really is worth it not to overspend and get yourself into unnecessary debt, and gift-giving in a wise way is a blessing to yourself and others!


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