How to Buy the Perfect Gift on a Shoestring Budget

by AJ Pettersen · 7 comments

cheap gifts

Buying gifts for others can be rewarding, or it can be stressful. If you haven’t prepared for a holiday or other gift-giving occasion, you’ll most likely be stressed out and at a loss for ideas. There are a few ways you can prepare so that you’ll be ready to buy the perfect gift — at the perfect price:

cheap perfect gifts1. Pay Attention

My dad would always use this simple, yet underused, method for buying gifts. Whenever a holiday or a birthday approached, he’d closely examine what we talked about and what we hinted towards. Sometimes, he’d get a perfect gift and we wouldn’t even know how he came up with the idea. He’d do the same for my mom every year, and she’d always be amazed.

By paying attention to the person you want to buy a gift for, you’ll be able to understand what they really want. Maybe they’re constantly talking about something they have difficulty doing at home or something that’s broken. Pay attention and write down ideas as soon as they come to you.

2. Look for Solutions

This is a good method when you’re with someone on a regular basis. It delves a little bit deeper into the gift-buying process. Finding solutions to problems around the house can be a great way to buy the right gift. My wife and I both recently used this method.

My wife loves getting back massages. After giving one, I was locked in as the go-to masseuse for life. The only problem with back massages at home is that they’re difficult to do comfortably on a couch or bed. When her head is turned to one side, it changes the alignment of her whole body, making for a less-than-ideal massage. So I turned to the internet to find a pillow with a hole and air holes in the middle. Now, she can put her face down comfortably while getting a massage.

3. Get the Right Price

I shopped around on a few sites to find the right price for the pillow. Once I found the cheapest possible price, I made the purchase. Amazon is a great place to start for many gifts.

My wife and I often work very different hours. This means we sometimes don’t get a chance to talk for a couple of days at a time. We’d been leaving each other messages on the mirror with dry erase markers as a clever way to communicate. This had become difficult to clean off, so my wife came up with a solution. For just a few dollars, she bought a picture frame and put a few stickers on it. It’s working wonderfully as a new spot to write messages to each other.

Sometimes, DIY is the best way to save. Many websites, such as Pinterest, offer DIY solutions and projects that can make great gifts.

4. Get it Right

By paying attention and looking for solutions to problems, you can find the perfect gift for a friend or family member. You can save money by shopping around and looking for DIY ways to make the gift work. By following this process when buying a gift, you can ensure it’ll be perfect.

What process do you use when buying a gift?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • JJ says:

    Here’s a question for anybody to critique (I think that’s the word). My next-door neighbour already has so much; so for Christmas I thought I’d give her a box of small travel bottles of lotion, hand sanitiser, shampoo, and body wash, and even some packets of shoe-cleaner wipes. Plus, she likes herbal tea, so I’m going to give her a box of assorted tea bags, herbal teas. Does that sound acceptable?

  • Reader says:

    I applaud the first suggestion. However, a woman I met some years ago informed me that she buys year round. She indeed listens, looks, and one time even checked in her sister’s kitchen to see if the sister had a food processor. She did not, so that was her Christmas gift that year. The sister was Christmas gift that year. The sister was thrilled, from what I hear.

  • JJ says:

    Somebody once gave me an idea for a Christmas gift. Something she’d had, but given away, was a Swiffer Sweeper. She has bare floors, and her dog sheds heavily; she was using broom & dustpan to clean up the hair; I watched her for awhile one day, then the light bulb came on. I told her, “You need a Swiffer Sweeper.” To my surprise, she agreed! That was her Christmas gift sorted.

  • Property Marbella says:

    Buying a gift is not about the price, but you should buy with your heart to the person.

  • Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey says:

    Whenever I buy a gift, I always think what the hobbies or collection of the gift receiver is. It is also good to know if he needs something or he wishes to receive something for the occasion. I also love giving DIY gifts, such as framed photo, CD collection of favorite songs, knitted jacket, quilted blanket, or baked goodies.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    I try to pay attention to what the person I am getting is wanting and go from there. Beyond that I do the research to find where I can get the best price and hopefully be able to get a discount on it. More often that not, that usually means I just buy the item online.

  • Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle says:

    I don’t have much money for extra things like gifts so for mother’s day I will be doing heavy yard work at my parent’s house. They still do a good job of keeping things up but I can do a heavy job and it will be appreciated.

    I am a good baker and people love receiving a loaf of my bread (I do not own a bread machine) or other home made treats.

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