Your financial situation may not allow you to get everyone on your Holiday list the perfect gift, but that does not mean you can’t get them a nice gift. If you are on a limited budget (and many are these days), there are ways of giving gifts that don’t cost a lot but will still be appreciated by those receiving them.

Avoid Gifts that Look Cheap

Now, the first thing you don’t want to do is buy a lot of presents that really look cheap. Do not head over to your local Dollar store and fill your cart with items that cost a dollar. Yes, Grandma might need a new can opener, but it does not make an appropriate gift for the holidays.

Kids, who used to be happy with a bouncy rubber ball or a bottle of soap bubbles, have become much more sophisticated. They may still like dolls and toy cars, but what they really want are the electronic games and gadgets. Consider going to a video or gaming store where they sell slightly used versions of the games and gadgets. Wrap them nicely and chances are your kids will be thrilled when they open them.

Visit Local Thrift Stores

One of the first steps you can take in your pursuit of cheap gifts that do not look cheap is to hit the local thrift stores. Goodwill, the Salvation Army and many other outlets often have like new items at ridiculously low prices. Shop around in Goodwill and you might find some brand new looking hardcover books for a dollar each. If you happen to know someone that is a fan of John Grisham or Stephen King, there are plenty of their titles (albeit, they are not their latest work) by these authors that show up regularly on thrift store bookshelves.

Gifts for collectors are also plentiful in the thrift stores. For sometimes as little as 50 cents, you can pick up a cute figurine. Clowns are a fairly common collectable and you can usually find 2 or 3 unique clown statues or figurines in a decent thrift store. Again, you will only pay a few dollars for these items which, if brand new, might sell for $10.00 – $20.00.

Other items in the realm of possibility include music, jewelry, pictures and picture frames and clothing. When it comes to clothing, stick to brand names and try to pick items that are not very obviously worn. A scarf, hat, purse and even a pair of jeans can look brand new.

Focus on Presentation aka The Wrapping!

Once you have returned from your tour of the thrift shops and have a bunch of interesting items, the secret to making your gift giving a success is to spend a little money and wrap the items nicely. Get some gift boxes, wrapping paper and ribbons and decorate the box nicely. A used sweater in a beautiful box will look expensive, even if you only paid a few dollars for it.

Consider Something Homemade

If you don’t want to go to the thrift stores but still need to get some cheap gifts, there is nothing more appreciated than a homemade gift. Knowing that you took the time and put in the thought to make a personal gift for someone may be more appreciated than a store bought gift. If you have some artistic talent, you might create a photo collage that has special meaning for the recipient.

Perhaps you are good working with wood. Any kind of hand carved item is special. Building a wagon for a child would be a very memorable gift that does not cost too much in materials. If you have the time and inclination to create a present from scratch, you can be assured that the gift will be remembered for years to come.

The holidays are all about giving but they are not about breaking your budget so try to be creative and always consider all your options instead of paying full retail price for a gift.

Alan Dunn

Written by Alan Dunn – one of our highly talented and underpaid writers. For more information on Alan follow him on Twitter or Google Plus

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