Last Minute Holiday Gifts Ideas That Are Easy and Affordable

by Ashley Eneriz · 7 comments

Gift giving is fun, that is until you realize you need a lot more cash for the season. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your loved ones that you care, but it may require a bit more time and creativity to do so.

I love giving gifts, but I’m also very practical and hate to give gifts just for the sake of doing so. I want to give gifts that are meaningful and don’t collect dust.

Seriously, I am the type of person that thinks giving a Costco-size package of toilet paper is a much better gift option than a cheap trinket you put on a bookcase. I’m sure not many of you will agree with me, but here are some other more affordable and practical last-minute gift ideas.

Affordable Last-Minute Gift Ideas

  • Frames and Printables: A nice frame that’s décor-neutral can be quite useful. Pair the frame with free online printable for an easy and somewhat impressive gift. Google Burlap and Blue for a list of 30 free printables for the home. For grandparents, I tend to give a nice frame with an updated picture of our family or my daughter in it. This year, I’m giving small ornament frames with my daughter’s Christmas picture in them. You can save money on frames by shopping at Jo-Ann’s or Michaels with a 40-50 percent off coupon (check the weekly paper).
  • Coffee: Can you really go wrong with a tasty bag of coffee? Most of my family loves their coffee and since they go through a lot of it, they usually buy the cheaper brands, like Folders. I love giving them a bag of coffee from a local artisan coffee shop as a little treat. It’s simple, and I know it will be something that will actually get used. Coffee is also easy to pair with nice coffee cups or special chocolates or desserts. The easiest way to save money on bags of coffee is to buy discounted gift cards. Costco has $100 worth of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf gift cards for $79.99. Pair these gift cards with an online promo code and Ebates cash back, and you can save about 30-40 percent off your order.
  • Elevated Gift Cards: I’m not sure why it’s still taboo to give gift cards when in reality, it’s what most people want. If you feel like giving a gift card looks too “last minute”, then try elevating the gift by pairing it with something else. For example; a Jamba Juice gift card will look cuter in a tumbler cup. You can pair an Olive Garden gift card with some Italian goods for the kitchen. You can also give a Spa Finder gift card with a little basket of spa or beauty goodies. One last idea is to give a Coldstone or other ice cream store gift card with cute and inexpensive ice cream bowls.

Give Practical But Thoughtful Gifts

Like I said above, you can find discounted gift card through Costco and Sam’s Club. Many grocery stores will also offer a promotion that offers $10-15 back in a redeemable grocery store coupon when you purchase $100 worth of gift cards.

This doesn’t save you on the actual gift cards, but it gives you cash back for future shopping trips. Vons has been a favorite store of mine to buy gift cards because they have given me several personalized coupons on my rewards cards for certain gift cards.

I’ve received $5 off of $25 for a Pizza Hut gift card, $10 off of a $50 Children’s Place gift card, and plenty more. In my opinion, giving a gift card is better than giving a sweater or shirt that will never be worn. The recipient can enjoy spending the money how they like.

What are some of your favorite last-minute gifts when you’re on a budget? What’s the most thoughtful gift you’ve ever received?

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  • Kate says:

    I am a spinster aunt (and great-aunt) with masses of little children for whom gifts are expected. I buy books. Fortunately, although sadly, it is possible to buy virtually new children’s books at any thrift store. Contrary to popular opinion, the fact that one has no children or grandchildren does not mean one is rolling in money.

    • Marcia says:

      Books are a great gift! I request them for my boys often, even though our bookshelves are groaning.

      And I always always suggest to my family members that they buy them used.

  • Mike Carlson says:

    I’m glad to read this article. It’s such great idea for Christmas giveaways. I will let my wife read this so she can make this. Thanks for sharing this article. Great post!

  • I too would love to get a Costco package of toilet paper :)! I am a huge fan of practical, needed gifts that people will truly use. Fortunately, our families give us lists of things they’d like, which makes it easy. I enjoy giving loved ones things that they actually want.

  • We’ll be doing the photos for the grandparents this year too …. and probably every year to come.

    • Ashley Eneriz says:

      It’s the only reason to have kids, right? To have easy and cute photo gifts to give each year. 😉 All kidding aside, we definitely give a lot of photo gifts each year too.

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