Frugal Beautiful

Be Prepared: Frugal Gift Giving

Posted on: February 19, 2011

Strawberry Vanilla Votive CandlesBuilding a small gift inventory is one of my favorite frugal tips.  When you have the time and money to get a really personal, thoughtful gift.  When you don’t have the time or money, having something in-hand for an last minute event or celebration could be a lifesaver!

I always have a few gifts on hand (usually purchased on clearance or saved as a re-gift)  for last minute housewarming and dinner parties, birthdays or when I can’t afford to run out and buy something.   Having a hassle-free gift with the right wrapping can make a great statement for a small price!

-Candles of all sizes:  Pillar candles wrapped in a wine bag are great for nicer gifts.  Votives in a cute holders are great small gifts- many come pre-wrapped to throw in a gift bag.  To complete the gift, add a book of matches or lighter if you have one on hand (which can be bought in bulk).  I’ve given small votives and tealights to people that “light up my life,” as a very small/affordable gift of gratitude.  Target has tealights in bulk and great candles on clearance.

-Stationary: I have several sets of stationary to gift, several of which are from the dollar section or I got on clearance.  For a nicer gift, take the stationary out of the cello and wrap it with a fabric ribbon and add a pen, postage stamps or an address book/photo frame.  Gifting thank you notes with stamps is great for a graduation party or for a young adult.  When I was moving, I stupidly packed my stationary.  Someone gave me a set with a gorgeous pen, I kept that in my suitcase so I could get my thank you cards in my mail sooner- what a help!

-Spa Supplies: I am a notorious regifter!  Often we receive bubble bath when we don’t have a tub, or a scent that we just won’t get around to using, there is no shame in regifting to someone who might!  Pairing bath supplies with a hand knit/crochet face cloth or a loofah, tied on with a fabric ribbon makes for a fabulous gift.

-Coffee Mugs: Throw a single serving coffee/tea bags in a mug  and wrap in the cellobag for a quick gift.  I have found like-new mugs at thrift stores, but I usually shy away from dollar-store mugs since I’ve heard of questionable lead content at some of these stores.


-Small bottle of dish detergent in a fun color with a sponge  (Cost:  $2.50)

-Blank printable labels and instructions so someone who is relocating can print their own return address labels (Cost:  $4)  Paired with other office supplies.

-Photo frames can be a great gift, especially if you promise the recipient a flashdrive of event pictures so they don’t have to worry about photography while hosting!

-Magnetic Notepad or Post-its from the dollar bin can be thrown in to any gift to make it more substantial (Cost: $1)

-Hershey kisses/clearance candy is great to keep on hand (if you can stop yourself from eating it) can be thrown in a cello bag and paired with another small gift or stand on its own.

Always Keep Gift Wrap On Hand-  This is key to saving time and money!

Cello Bags:  These can be found in the dollar or party section of Target, etc.  Throw a small gift in a cello bag, tied with wire garland or fabric ribbon and it will look great and is typically cheaper than a paper gift bag.  To conceal the gift, just wrap in tissue paper first!  Using cello bags is also a great way to make small gifts look more substantial.

Paper Gift Bags and Tissue:  I always save my gift bags to reuse, but have picked them up for cheap on clearance.

Having small gifts on hand- whether it be a tea light or a nice bar of chocolate can make a profound impression when it’s unexpected.  Being prepared, to reciprocate for a  friend’s help or an invitation to an event is a great way to foster an “attitude of gratitude,” without having to break the bank!


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