Last Minute Gift Ideas on a Budget

MARTIN PICTURE croppedThe holidays are swiftly approaching and many of us haven’t finished shopping for gifts. Impressive presents don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some last minute gift ideas that will fit into a tight budget.

Gift Cards. This may seem impersonal but it allows the receiver to get exactly what they want. The cost is customizable and you can pick up a gift card at any store at any time. Gift cards are practical for almost any age. Children are excited to have the power to purchase things themselves and adults are happy to not get a ten pound fruitcake. Sites like and offer gift cards at a discounted rate for even more savings.

Homemade food items. The internet is overflowing with recipes for candies, cookies and savory snacks. Preparing these gifts at home yields higher volume and adds a personal touch that can’t be found on shelves. A few ideas include:

  • Peppermint Bark
  • Cookies
  • Fudge
  • Spiced nuts
  • Jerky
  • Preserves

Plants. Potted plants provide decoration with longevity. Bouquets may look nice but they won’t last more than a few days. Plants such as aloe vera produce an abundance of offspring and can be easily transplanted and shared with others.

Magazine Subscriptions and Ebooks. This is a gift that keeps giving all year long.  Maxim, Popular Science, Glamour and SmartMoney sell for less than $10 for 12 issues. These subscriptions grant access to all the digital content these publications provide as well. Ebooks are also easy to purchase last minute. Ebooks are a fraction of the cost of their bound counterparts and require no shipping or wrapping.

Photos. Pull out your old photo album or browse social media for a memorable picture.  Supermarkets and convenience stores offer multiple printing options including calendars and posters. The services turn around quickly and won’t put you in the poor house. Put your picture in a reasonably priced frame and you have a perfect keepsake.

Libations. It’s quick and it doesn’t break the bank. Stop by your local store and buy a six pack of microbrew or a moderately priced bottle of wine. If your gift recipient doesn’t drink beer you can always get a small bottle of hard liquor. Buy several miniatures and spend your Christmas experimenting with different mixed drinks.

These are just a few of the many gift ideas to help you stay under budget this holiday season and help you on your way to getting out of debt for good. If you have any other affordable last minute gift ideas, please share them!

Martin Sher is CEO of AmSher Collection Agency and a recent past president of ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals.  Martin is the author of the 54 word Collector Pledge, committing credit and collection professionals around the world to the ethical and respectful treatment of all consumers.  Martin’s personal mission is to get 5 million people out of debt-for good, and for FREE.

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