10 Last minute gift ideas for those living on a budget

So surprisingly enough this year Christmas comes on December 25. I know that’s a bit of a shocker to some. Who knew they’d go and schedule it next week??gift ideas

Well obviously I’m being a little facetious, but Christmas can sneak up on us sometimes. Life gets busy and suddenly we realize that Christmas is less than a week away and we still need to get a few gifts for the people we love. So what do you do if you are running out of time to find a bargain, but you are trying to stick to a budget? Here are some gift ideas for the last minute shopper:

“Gift Certificates”

Make up some home-made gift certificates to give your loved one. Maybe there are certain chores that your spouse normally handles that you will take care of for him or her. Maybe  you offer to watch the kids for an evening so your spouse can enjoy an evening with no responsibilities. Perhaps a back rub at the end of a hard day. Be creative. Choose some unusual things that will make your friend smile.


If you enjoy cooking, bake some cookies. Bake some bread or a pie. Make a favorite treat. Most people enjoy a nice gift of food.

Magazine subscriptions

Give the gift of a magazine subscription. I’ve used http://www.bestdealmagazines.com/ and http://www.magazines.com/ to find discounted magazine subscriptions. Amazon.com is another site that often has good deals on magazines.

Use your talents

Do you have a hobby that you enjoy? Scrapbooking? Wood working? Knitting?  Sewing? Use your talents to make a gift for your friend.

Photo gifts

Buy a nice frame and fill it with a favorite picture. Or as an alternative, most places that allow you to upload and print digital pictures also allow you to have the picture imprinted on other objects. Select some pictures and have a custom calendar made. My son had a coffee mug made for me with his little league picture on it a few years ago and it is my favorite mug.

Make a donation

If you are looking for a gift for the “person who has everything”, consider a donation to a favorite charity. Give to a local organization like a homeless shelter or food kitchen. Make a donation to an organization like the Salvation Army. Organizations like World Vision or Compassion International have catalogs available, where you can buy items in your loved one’s name for folks in a third world country.

Board games

Classic board games can often be found at very reasonable prices and can provide hours of family fun.

A home-made gift basket

Get a nice basket and fill it with a variety of fruit. Have a coffee lover? Fill it with a variety of coffees. You could do the same thing with tea.

Daily Deal sites

Check out daily deal sites like Groupon.com. In addition to the daily deals, these sites usually have other weekly deals available. Find a deal that your friend will enjoy and save some money in the process.


Re-gifting, giving a gift that was previously given to you, is always an option as well. Just be careful and respectful when doing this. Obviously, you want to make sure you that there is no chance of hurting the feelings of the person that gave it to you in the first place. Be careful too that you are giving a gift that the person will want to receive.

Last minute doesn’t have to mean break the budget

If you are one of those folks who wait until the last-minute to buy your gifts, it doesn’t have to mean that you can’t still stick to your budget.

I love giving gifts at this time of year. It gives me great joy to bless those I love. The key though is you don’t want the payments from those gifts to be following you around for the next 6 months. If you are a last-minute shopper, don’t let the excuse of time lead you into buying things you can’t really afford. Use some of these ideas to give nice gifts that won’t leave you with January regrets.

What are your favorite last-minute gift ideas?

Photo credit: www.metaphoricalplatypus.com (creative commons)

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