Gifts for $10 or Less

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Overwhelmed by the high cost of gifts this year? Wondering how you can eke out a few nice presents for little money? Is a gift possible for $10 or less?

Yes, Virginia, there is a way.

Many moons ago when FishPapa and I were earning two incomes and had no children, we often spared no expense at the holiday. In fact, I think we were sometimes a little too extravagant. (See that? That’s my mother nodding her head.) Anyway, necessity is the mother of frugality.

Or something like that.

We have had to change some habits over the years. It’s no longer the wisest choice for us to spend $100s of dollars on Christmas gifts. But, that doesn’t mean we have to give junk. With a little creativity we can all come up with fun gifts that don’t cost an arm and a leg. And, if the holiday is really about being together and enjoying friends and family, then the extravagance of the gift shouldn’t matter, anyway.

Today I present several different options for inexpensive gifts that you can give as a token of your love and friendship toward others.

A Coloring Kit
Sort through all your broken crayons and make these muffin tin crayons. Package them in a clear cellophane bag with a festive ribbon and present them with a coloring book or two from the dollar section of your favorite store. Even my big boys were fascinated by these crayons.

foil muffin papers: $1.29, used 1/5 the package = $0.26
crayons: recycled, therefore FREE
treat bag: package of 20 for $2 = $0.10
ribbon: reused from previous year, therefore FREE
coloring book: $1

Total cost $1.36

Brownie Mix
Place the dry ingredients for Cocoa Brownies into a kit, complete with a mug, and some fun mix-ins, like instant coffee, marshmallows and chocolate chips. Or prepare a muffin kit which is just as tasty.

Mug: $0.99
Brownie mix and mix-ins: $2
treat bag: $0.10
ribbon: free

Total cost $3.09

Tool Kit
If you’ve got an IKEA nearby, pick up the FIXA 15-piece tool kit for $7.99. Include a package of $1 bandaids as a practical, yet humorous gift for the Mr. or Ms. Fix-it in your life.

Total cost: $8.99

Muffin Kit
Dry ingredients are packaged with muffin papers and some fun mix-ins. Include baking instructions.
Muffin papers: $1.29
Mix and goodies: $3
Muffin Kit download: $1 (good for multiple gifts)

Total cost $5.29 for first kit, $4.29 for each kit after that

$5 Dinners
You don’t mind an extra 11 cents, do ya? The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook is now available for preorder. The book ships on December 22nd, so plan accordingly. But, what a wealth of money-saving ideas! This falls under the category of the gift that keeps on giving. Recipes from $5 Dinners in easy-to-access book format.

Total Cost: $10.11 at Amazon

Movie Night
Select videos are on sale for $5 at Target. Pick out one to fit the tastes of your gift recipient and throw in some Junior Mints and a box of microwave popcorn. If you’ve got coupons, so much the better.

DVD: $5
Junior Mints: $1
popcorn (varies): $2

Total cost: $8

Ok, what have you got? Share your idea for gifts $10 and under on your blog or in the comments. Can’t wait to see what brilliant ideas you have!

(If you have another money-saving idea, you can share that too. This is the first “themed” Frugal Friday and I know it’s easy to forget those kind of things.)

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  1. I love your ideas! The recycled crayons are fantastic and my 9 y/o will love these! Here's my money saving gift tip. For the several teachers my DD has I wanted to get something practical, yet fun. So, I got each of them a sample size name brand lotion and a tasty lip balm. Each gift cost less than $3 and I would be happy to get something like this.

  2. Great ideas FishMama! Thanks for hosting, this was a great Frugal Fri. idea!

  3. Sorry I didn't realize I still had last weeks message in my name on Mr. Linky! Great minds think alike I also do the movie idea!

  4. Love the post. I think we've all done the too expensive gifts at one point. It makes me feel much better to focus on more practical and reasonably-priced gifts.

    I shared my homemade vanilla extract. It's very inexpensive if you buy a large bottle of vodka, buy vanilla beans in bulk, and recycle appropriate jars. It is very much appreciated by those who like to bake. 🙂

    I also shared my honey butter. Just butter and honey (in recycled small jars), but lovely on toast, fresh-made bread, muffins, etc. It's especially great if you use local honey as it's known to help folks with allergies.


  5. Love the ideas! I'll have one for next week for sure. Still cutting and gluing:)

    Anyway, where do you get your ad campaings from? I like the Walmart and Macy's ads you are carrying. Are they directly from the stores? Thank you.

  6. L-O-V-E the crayon idea! We are definitely trying that! It looks like a great simple activity my 4 and 2 year olds can do.

    Thanks! 🙂

  7. Oooh! Those crayons sound like fun. My young-in is too young to have renegade crayons in need of reuse but I am filing this idea away for future crafting!

  8. I'll join in with the others who say they love the crayon idea. Though I don't have kids, I do have nephews who would love that! My money-saving Christmas gift ideas involve shopping right after Christmas and into January when you can hit all the great 50-90% off sales. I stock up for next year and get my Christmas (and birthday) shopping done way early! Plus, with the LOW prices, I can give more gifts or nicer gifts to those on my list.

  9. (This was my first time participating, so I didn't know about the theme for this week and linked to my post on some of the many uses of baking soda.)

    Last year we gave some 'gifts in a jar' that were very appreciated – layered bean soup (variety of dried beans with bag of spices on top) and another with homemade cornbread mix. Some people received fruit chutneys that we preserved. This year we're making herbal salves, and homemade bread with fig jam (picked the figs and made the jam a couple of months ago:)).

    Also visited the thrift stores and have found some great gifts for a fraction of their retail cost.

  10. I can't give specific directions in this comment, but some of my frugal gift ideas for $10 or less are homemade nursing covers and homemade hooded towels.

    Nursing covers are great for expectant mothers. They cost $40 online but the cost for the materials (fabric, a pair of D rings, and 12 inches of boning) costs less than $10, unless you buy expensive fabric.

    I have given homemade hooded towels to small kiddos. I wait until a good white sale comes along, and then I buy a full size towel and a hand towel in coordinating colors for any kiddos that I know of who will have a birthday before the next white sale comes around. You can give these hooded towels some pizzazz with appliques or stitch on letters in the child's name. Just make sure any appliques are okay to run through the washer!

    I am a pretty decent seamstress, and came up with the patterns for these two ideas myself, but I am sure that you could find a pattern or directions for these things online. Or ask a seamstress that you know!:)

  11. We are being very creative with our gift-giving this year. Here are some things that I've done:

    Make a Superman cape from a fabric remnant; paint or iron-on a Superman logo onto a t-shirt (replace the S with the child's initial if you're feeling extra artistic); and add a couple of Superman comics from your local comic shop's discount bin (at my store they're 6 for $1)

    Make mini-loaves of different breakfast/snack breads; package in cellophane with a pretty ribbon.

    Make melt-n-pour soap (buy with 50% off coupon at Michael's) and scent it with cinnamon from the pantry. Package in cellophane with a pretty ribbon.

    Hope my family reads this *after* Christmas or everybody will know what they're getting!

  12. The crayons are so pretty! I bet I have a bunch of broken ones around. 🙂

    I left a link to my blog, I'm doing an entirely homemade Christmas this year so I have several ideas listed there!

  13. I think this maybe my second post…My gift idea is small unique gifts that are inexpensive from mount vernon, and old fashioned girls are into that primitive prarie theme.

  14. I just wanted to add that one gift I keep pondering is giving an elderly family member a card for the Soup of the Month club and that will mean I'll bring soup to her once a month throughout next year. The cost will be nothing really as I'll just package a small amount for her (she doesn't eat a lot) from a pot of soup I've made and include muffins or bread I've made, too. It is a commitment though, so one has to be prepared to follow through. But, it's a good way to ensure that an elderly family member or friend will get some nourishing food and human contact. Sometimes the months fly by and we realize we haven't been to visit someone we care about. I say that I've been pondering it because, frankly, this is a difficult person, but maybe this gift will really make a difference to her.

    Love all the ideas.