photo credit: Dan Nguyen
If you’re out of time and out of money, don’t panic. That’s exactly what retailers want you to do so that you’ll buy a bunch of stuff at full price on your credit cards.
Instead, take a deep breath and consider giving one of these thoughtful and frugal gifts:
Magazine Subscriptions. Magazine subscriptions make great gifts because they are a gift all year round and are usually inexpensive to purchase. Score great magazine deals at DiscountMags or Magazines.com and then buy a single issue copy at the store to gift wrap for the recipient.
Photo gifts. Enlarge a treasured photo or take a nice nature photo and put it in a frame you’ve gotten at your favorite discount or thrift store.
Entertainment Books. Entertainment Books provide tons of coupons on dining out, activities, and more, and won’t set you back too much. If you know the recipient is traveling to a new city in 2012, you can buy an Entertainment Book for that location to help them save on their trip.
Gifts in a Jar. Break out the mason jars and start making gifts in a jar. I love receiving these (especially the food gifts!) because all the work is done for you. I love giving them because they’re inexpensive to put together.
Re-gift. Look through your house and determine if there is anything you could give away that you aren’t using. (New with tags is a plus!) Just be sure your recipient didn’t give it to you in a prior year.
Coupons. Create a coupon booklet full of things you could do for the recipient throughout the year. You can decide what coupons to offer. For example, you could offer a coupon for a free dessert (made by you), a coupon for free babysitting, or dinner at a nice restaurant (which you’ll save money on by using a service like Groupon). Sometimes what people want most is the gift of time, so think of things you could do that would help your recipient save time, like offering to mow their lawn or shovel snow.
What are some frugal last-minute gift ideas you’ve come up with?
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molly wertz says
One thoughtful and last minute gift is to make a donation to a charity that is meaningful to the recipient. Raising A Reader Bay Area has a page where you can donate to the organization by “buying” a book, a bag of books or sponsor a reader so that low-income children and their families share books all year long. A beautiful e-card can be sent instantly to the recipient telling them about their gift. https://give.rarbayarea.org
I think photo gifts are underrated at any time. I don’t know how many times family members tear up at photo books. They can take a little time, but are pretty cheap and have a huge impact.
Mary Jane says
This is a great list! Thank you so much. I really like giving magazine subscriptions since they are cheap. Last minute gifts can also be food attractively packaged.