2011 Last Minute Cheap Christmas Gift Guide

by Mr. Cheap

Welcome to Money Smarts! If you're new here, please read the "About" page to find out more about this site. If you would like to receive updates by email then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Unfortunately, the economy is still down, and this year the pressure is still on to find cheap gifts for loved ones.  The previous edition of the Last minute cheap Christmas gift guide is still relevant for gift giving, but if you need more modern ideas for what to give on a budget, we’ve got you covered.

  • hugA hug:  The classic way t0 let someone know “I’m broke, but I care” a hug is perfect for all ages and both genders!  As it’s most acceptable with older relatives, you can also push your luck and give this to siblings and friends.  Add a kiss or other affectionate act and you can cross that “special someone” off of your list.  Not recommended in work environments (especially with your boss).
  • cdsBurnt CDs / DVDs:  Let people know that when you steal for them, you steal the best!  Whether it be bootleg music, tv shows, movies, or even computer software this is the gift that says “I thought about something that would be perfect for you, then downloaded it off of the Internet and burnt it on a $0.10 bit of plastic instead of wasting money getting it at the store.”  Edgy and “counter-culture” this tells everyone involved in the gift giving festivities that you’re a good looking rebel who plays by his (or her) own rules!
  • soapsHome Made “Spa” Gift Basket:  If you travel regularly (perhaps for business), collect the toiletries they give out free where you stay and make your own “Bed Bath and Beyond” style gift basket.  These will be name brand products (just hotel chain names instead of cosmetic companies) at a fraction of the cost!  If you don’t travel, perhaps you can ask a friend who does to collect these for you, then you’ll be well stocked for giving indulgence on a shoestring next year.
  • couponsHome Made “Savings Book”:  Fund raisers will often sell a book of coupons for samples and discounts at local businesses.  If people will buy such a thing, it probably has value and can be given as a gift.  And why buy it when you can make it yourself?  Search through junk mail and store flyers to find as many coupons as you can.  For each recipient, put coupons for things they use at the front (and bury expired coupons and things like “$0.10 off Bengay” near the middle where the recipient probably won’t notice them after receiving the book).
  • backrunGive Services You Already Provide: Every family has a natural “division of labour” where different members specialize in different jobs.  Mom does the laundry, dad shovels snow and cuts the lawn, Johnny sets the timer on the VCR and provides tech support and Suzy makes baked treats.  Instead of selflessly and freely giving these services to loved one, give them coupons to receive these services a set number of times in the coming year.  This helps them appreciate what you do for them, prevents them from being too demanding, and makes them a little worried what will happen once the coupons are gone (“What Johnny, you don’t have any more ‘home cooked meal’ coupons?  Guess you’ll be living off of microwave popcorn until next Christmas.”)

Whether you’re shopping for someone who is starved for affection, a music geek, a woman who appreciates relaxation and luxury, someone frugal or someone who doesn’t appreciate you, with a little creativity you can find a spot-on gift that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!


Be Sociable, Share!

Want to learn more about RESPs? Buy The Book:

Resp-Book

The RESP Book: The Simple Guide to Registered Education Savings Plans

Everything you need to know about RESPs.

See it on Amazon now

Welcome to Money Smarts! If you're new here, please read the "About" page to find out more about this site. If you would like to receive updates by email then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Four Pillars

I love the coupon book. :)

2 Mrs Pillars

I’ll happily accept the back rub coupon shown in the photo, Mike…

3 guinness416

I think a kiss under the mistletoe is more festive than a hug, which is more of a birthday present. Although you do have to spring for the mistletoe; I suppose maybe you could purloin some from your workplace or something. The hotel-lotions gift basket is a very good idea actually!

4 guinness416

Oh also, you’ll want to be extra careful those coupons to the right person. It would be a little awkward to find you’ve given the back-rub coupon to the postman or the free beer one to your six year old nephew.

5 Smac20

Burning CD’s/ DVD’s is a great idea. Pirate with bit-torrent thank you. I’m sure there is a lot of negative reations from promoters here. You are putting in the time and effort to develop something unique for that special someone here though.

6 Alexandra

How about ribbon-wrapped rolls of toilet paper, taken from public washrooms?

Or a basket of office supplies you’ve stolen from work?

Or a nice assortment of condiment packages from various take-put restaurants?

7 Mr. Cheap

Alexandra: Shh! You’re going to ruin the 2010 edition!!!

I like the condiment idea. You could include “exotic” condiments like Taco Bell hot and mild sauce…

8 Len Penzo

Each year, starting precisely on December 8th, I start stealing old newspapers off my neighbors’ driveways in the wee hours of the morning. Then on Christmas eve I hand them out to the carolers that drop by to sing outside my front door.

They love ‘em! The look on their faces when I give them a copy of an old edition of the LA Times or Orange County Register is simply indescribable. (I think they are really very thankful that they aren’t getting offered the same old stuff like cookies, hot cocoa, and money that the other neighbors always pass out.)

Happy Holidays! ;-)

Len
Len Penzo dot Com

9 Jerry

LOL! Please tell me the previous readers know you were joking. Hilarious post. I will be sure to give my pirated copies of movies to my family with love and consideration. It will only lead to more selfless giving in the future. Homemade toiletry kits and coupon books are sure to be insurance for anyone’s budget ;) The hug was my fave.
Jerry

10 Ken

I like the coupon idea..this is my wife’s strong suit already….I’ll have to give her a dozen “foot rubs” to redeem. Good ideas and I love the price. Adios!

11 PF $tudent

ROFL! If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was April 1st.

12 Doctor Stock

My homemade coupon book that entitles my loved ones to my time was a hit!

13 cheapskater

For years I have given out hotel soaps for xmas gifts. I am so frugal the last time I actually bought soap was in 1998 as I have SO much of the stuff. Down side: I travel too much…oh well, at least I am home for the holidays this year.

This year I think the modest gifts will be wrapped in newspaper. Makes cents to me! I might splurge and not even read them before wrapping.

Love the hug idea!

Happy merchandising season everyone!

14 Mike Holman

@Cheapskater – Hotel soaps? Wrapped in newspaper? Are you serious?

At that point, I would think it might be better to just announce that you don’t “do” gifts anymore and just leave it at that.

15 My University Money

I gotta agree on the newspaper wrapped soap Mike – ouch. I really like the whole “services” idea. We used to help my grandma and do a complete house cleaning after Christmas. She was always so thankful.

16 Mike Holman

@MY Uni $ – Ahh, giving services is a great idea.

Probably a lot more useful than any purchased gifts. Mind you hotel soaps are pretty useful….

17 Andrew

Lottery tickets also work as a cheap last minute gift :)

Leave a Comment

Current day month ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: