Gifts for $10 or Less

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Our Christmas gift buying has always been on a budget of some kind. With six kids and a large extended family, we could easily got hog wild if we didn’t pay attention to what we were buying. And often, we’ve set a $10 limit for friends and family. You’d be amazed at what you can get for ten bucks.

Gift Cards Can Go a Long Way

When money was really tight, I loved to receive gift cards. Still do, actually. And you may not think that ten bucks can do much on a gift card. But, think again. $10 at iTunes, Starbucks, Panera, or Amazon can easily bring a smile to someone’s face. That’s lunch out. Or a CD worth of songs. A date night full of coffee or even a new book. You’d be surprised at how far a gift card can stretch if purchased at a great place.

Warm Things Up

In our efforts to conserve money, we usually have our thermostat set well below the recommended 68 degrees. I tell the kids, “It’s free to put on a sweatshirt.” But it can still be a little chilly.

Years ago, I made each of the kids cornbags, microwavable heating bags that they use to cuddle with on cold days or at night to warm up the bed. These have lasted a good three years now, well worth the $5 investment to buy custom fabrics and super-clean feed corn. If you sew, cornbags are an excellent gift!

My sister added to our collection later by making pretty flax seed heating wraps for less than $5 a piece. You can read her detailed instructions to make your own.

Make a Spa Kit

Print out this instruction sheet for An At-Home Spa Experience onto pretty paper. That part’s free! Now, spend $10 on bath stuff at the drugstore (watch for sales, ECB’s, and Register Rewards) or cruise the aisles of the dollar store. Package it all in basket and you’ve got the makings of a relaxing moment.

Create a Movie or Slideshow

During our leanest year, we were short on cash, but still wanted to give our siblings and parents a gift. So, we created a slideshow on the computer, added music, and burned DVDs.

You can get really creative with your music selections — we added in the Star Wars theme song — and that makes it a little more personalized. DVDs cost about a dollar a piece, so this mostly just costs you your time.

I found that our computers were preloaded with the necessary software already. You might use Windows Live Movie Maker (a free download) and Windows DVD Maker (available in Windows 7). Those worked for me as very user-friendly programs and I didn’t spend a lot of time reading about how to use them. Like none.

My kids probably love our video best of all. It’s a wonderful, moving scrapbook of that year.

Got a Great $10 Gift Idea?

Today is the $10 Gift edition of Frugal Friday. Share your ideas for fun but frugal gifts!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I had some issues when posting and it accidentally recalled another post: Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints. Sorry about that.

  2. I too love gift cards!
    We drew names this year so for my husband’s side of the family (14 people) we’re buying four nicer gifts, but everyone else gets a small 1-2 dollar homemade thing.
    My side of the family everything is WELL UNDER $10. I have a lot more time then money so homemade it is.

  3. I love making things for cheap – these fudge filled christmas cookie cutters are adorable and a wonderful gift for anyone! They get something sweet and who doesnt love another cookie cutter 🙂

  4. I am looking forward to looking through all the links. The area I really struggle with is finding good gifts for men! Everybody else I think is pretty easy to make homemade or inexpensive gifts for.

  5. For teacher gifts this year I’m going to buy one of those $9,99 jars of nuts at Target and spice them, packaging them festively. Real Simple Magazine had a spread on various recipes.

    For those who drink alcohol a mulled wine kit would be very easy to put together. A bottle of Charles Shaw, cannister of Trader Joe’s mulling spices, and a pretty mug make a nice little kit. You could also do this with cider.

    Maybe I’ll make one for myself…..

  6. I have several frugal homemade gift idea vlogs by our dd25 on my blog; homemade bath salts, homemade bath powder, & homemade body or linen spray, and all natural too!

    I’ve make white rice heat up thingies (much like the corn bags) with perhaps a drop of lavender essential oils in it for extra pizazz and relaxation if I have a bottle handy. ; ) I make my rice heat-up thingies with six or so channels and long, so the rice stays even and it fits across the back of a person’s back if needed. Last year, I found a beautiful pink satin material on clearance & made one for my MIL. I usually use flannel though, it’s so nice & cozy. : )

    Hobby Lobby jar candles are wonderful for gift giving if you catch them for 50% off too. No muss, no fuss. Easy breezy!

  7. I’ve shared how to make any gift look better…it’s a bow tutorial. Easy as can be…anyone can do it. Thanks for the link.

  8. We spent a few hours last weekend with my brother making apple streudel. it’s my grandmother’s recipe, and he was asking for it. We packed it in freezer bags (he’s a bachelor who travels a lot) with a “do not open until CHristmas” label (like that will happen). The kids loved the extra time with their uncle, it was easy on the budget and everyone was happy!

  9. I think I mentioned this during the summer: we go fruit picking in the summer/fall, and I make some into fruit butter and can it. That alone is a nice enough gift for teachers, hairdressers, etc. [$20 of fruit + $8 canning supplies /8 jars = $3.50 each… and I probably could’ve done better w the fruit pricing AND I have jars left for next year] As a splurge for some of family units on my list, I did theme baskets this year [it’s peach butter] – so w a basket from the dollar store, a peach candle from the dollar store, a pkg of gummy peach rings also from the dollar store, and a box of peach tea [full price at the grocery store – probably could’ve done better but I just wanted to get it done!], it’s maybe $9.50 each. Summary: less than $80 for over 16 people! Woohoo!