Saba’s Survival Guide to Gift Giving When You Broke AF

When you don’t make a lot a money, it’s hard to get the people you love the things they deserve for the holidays.  My parents deserve a new car and a million dollars and all I can give them is a pen that writes in five different colors of ink.  So if you’re not exactly rolling in dinero and still want to give gifts to the people you love this holiday season, here are some actually reasonable ideas (unlike fucking Buzzfeed lists) of some things you could buy/make.

Holiday Treats

Sort of obvious, I know, but I always love getting a plate of goodies. These will only take some of you time, and you can make a large batch inexpensively.  Make a variety, box them up nicely and send give them to friends and family.  They’ll appreciate the handmade quality and the effort.  I honestly don’t see anything wrong with giving treats.  Especially if you take into account if someone has an allergy or is on a diet and you accommodate by making sweets they can actually enjoy.

Printed Photos

In the times of Instagram and Snapchat, we don’t really save a lot of pictures with our friends.  I know I don’t.  But if you want something special and something for on a budget, Artifact Uprising is a website and app that allows you to print your Instagram photos!  They have great deals where you can get 25 prints free and only pay for shipping!  This means you can get all of you gifts done in one fell swoop. What’s really nice is they come on nice cardboard squares which makes them sturdy and you can write a small note on the back.

Secondhand Books

I love getting books and I know you have friends and family who do enjoy them as well.  Do you have a favorite book, or a book that made you think of someone while you were reading it?  Check around your local secondhand bookstore and see if they have a copy!  New books are far too expensive, and there is something sweet about a worn book that smells so relaxing.  This isn’t a gift for everyone, but a friend will really appreciate if you also write a note about why you chose the book for them.

Handmade Soaps, Bathbombs, and Sugar Scrubs

If you’re more crafty than me, I would highly recommend doing some of these.  They’re something a friend or family member will love to use, and it’s not a silly novelty gift that will end up in the closet by New Years Day.  To individualize you can do unique packaging in mason jars you have lying around, or cute little pouches with bows.  The packaging will make it festive and doesn’t need to break the bank. Here are a few DIY links for you for Soap, Bathbombs, and Sugar Scrubs.

Novelty Tea Infusers and Tea

Tea infusers are wonderful for everyone because with the cold weather who wouldn’t enjoy looking at a tiny sloth grasping their mug while drinking tea.  Tea infusers can be as inexpensive as $1 and you can scoop up some high quality tea for under $10!  So maybe your favorite uncle gets both, and that weird coworker who thinks you’re really good friends gets the infuser.

Good Chocolate (Not Hersheys)

If baking is too time consuming, which I totally understand, and you want something easy and delicious, buy delicious chocolate in bulk off Amazon. This listing allows you to get 6 bars for $18, so that’s about $3 per person which isn’t bad by any means.  It’s easy, cheap, you can order from anywhere, and it can be a good gift for coworkers.


Now before you scoff at this, there are some super cool shirts out there!  This is great for a person you really have no clue what to buy for.  And Threadless has cheap shirts with awesome designs that can fit literally anyone you can think of.  You an shop in the sale section and there are always discounts going on that you can take advantage of.


I’ll put this near t-shirts because maybe you couldn’t find something you liked, or you feel the t-shirts aren’t exactly what you’d like.  Well Romwe has some decent quality hoodies that are basically long sleeved shirts that you can buy for friends.  There’s free shipping and some cute and funky designs.  This is better for someone who is always cold.  Pro tip, this is a Chinese Wholesaler, so order the largest size and it’ll fit like a normal sweatshirt.

Enamel Pins

What I love about enamel pins is that you can get them with everything and anything on them.  Friends who love Sci-Fi, being political, novelty pins, and anything else can be found. You can browse Etsy for hours finding great ones.  If you don’t want to buy a bunch of individual ones you can buy a variety pack of random vintage ones as well.  It’s a gift that can be used and won’t take up space for someone who is traveling home.


Succulent Plants and Holders

Can your friends and family not keep anything alive?  This could be perfect for them.  You as the buyer spend a few bucks and they’re given a plant that just won’t die. Succulents can go weeks without water and still be green and happy.  They don’t take up a lot of space and will make them feel like a million bucks for keeping a plant alive.  Etsy has greats deals on them!  If you want you could also go to your local thrift store, buy some old tea cups and plant them yourself. Cups are around 30 cents, and you can buy one large succulent and separate it relatively easily.


One last tip for all of you, include a nice note.  Don’t just write “Happy Holidays!”  People don’t need things, but showing them that you appreciate them with words is perfect when you’re on a budget.  I’d tell you what I’ve done for the holidays but it’s a bit early, so I’ll let you know when all gifts have been given. What are some of your go-to inexpensive holiday gift ideas?  I’d love to hear them. I’m sure my readers need all the help they can get if they procrastinate as much as I do.





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