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Budget gift ideas for Christmas, birthdays and every occasion

Is gift-giving stretching your budget? Are you looking for some affordable budget gift ideas that are fun and thoughtful? We’ve put together a BUMPER list of 50+ gift ideas for every budget that your friends, family, co-workers and kids are guaranteed to love. We’ve included wedding gift ideas, baby shower gifts, Christmas present ideas, birthdays and homemade gifts that show how much you care.

What makes for a good gift?

First of all, great gifts don’t need to be expensive to be thoughtful. In fact, many people prefer gifts that cost nothing, such as lending a helping hand or making something for them. Marriage counsellor and author Dr Gary Chapman coined the term ‘love languages’ after defining five different ways people feel loved. ‘Receiving gifts’ is just one of them.

Usefulness is another factor that can define the perfect gift. The colleague who buys coffee every morning is the perfect candidate for a reusable keep-cup. The friend who keeps losing her keys is calling for a personalised key ring with their name and phone number on it.

Creativity is yet another hallmark of a thoughtful gift, especially so in this age of mass manufacturing. As well as being unique, crafted and other handmade gifts show that the giver has contributed the most valuable resource of all: their time.

Gift giving adds up

Humans have been giving each other gifts for thousands of years. There is little doubt of its social importance. Gift-giving is a ritual that represents community, sharing and reciprocity. But it can also stretch your budget!

Birthdays, Christmas, weddings, baby showers, anniversaries, engagements, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day… It all adds up. Barely a month goes by without needing to buy someone a gift.

Then there’s the challenge of finding the right gift. The fallback is often a gift card. But gift cards can lure you into spending more than you would like to.

That’s where this bumper list of gift ideas comes to the rescue. You’re sure to find something for everyone at a price to suit your budget.

Best Cheap Gift Ideas

We’ve done the legwork to come up with 50+ inexpensive gift ideas that are as thoughtful as they are affordable. As you scroll below, you’ll find gift ideas for women, men, kids, coworkers and all the big occasions, including Christmas, birthdays, weddings, housewarmings and baby showers. We’ve also included a section on DIY and handmade gifts that people are guaranteed to love.

Budget gift ideas for kids

Parents of school-aged children know what it’s like to be bombarded with birthday party invitations. Sometimes, there are multiple parties on one weekend. Affordability is the first challenge. The second is finding a gift that won’t turn to junk in 10 minutes. We’ve tried to tick both boxes with the following kids gift ideas:

  • Games and puzzles
    Board games, card games and puzzles are affordable gifts the whole family can play over and over. In fact, these make great gifts for adults too!
  • Maker sets
    LEGO, Nanoblocks, Duplo, Meccano, STEAM building sets and so on get the kids away from screens and develop their maker minds, engineering aptitude and fine motor skills.
  • Art and craft kids
    Hit your local craft or hardware store (e.g. Spotlight, Lincraft, Riot Art & Craft, Bunnings) for DIY craft kits. Rock painting, mosaics, scale models, macrame, crochet, bath bombs… There is a craft kit for every kid, as well as paints, pencils, jewels, feathers and more.
  • Books
    Is your birthday boy or girl into the Treehouse series? Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Ramona? Judy Moody? There are loads of wildly popular kids book series. Another alternative is an activity book, such as a guided journal.
  • Team and supporter merchandise
    Who is the birthday kid’s favourite team? Skip the official merchandise stores and head over to Amazon or eBay for loads of discount supporter wear.
Board Games

WE DO THE LEGWORK FOR YOU

Boggle (Amazon $15.99) Shop Now>
Shake up the letters, flip the timer and spot the words fast.

Minecraft LEGO Set (Kmart $13.00) Shop now>
Step away from the computer, kids, and bring your Minecraft action into the real world.

Wreck This Journal (Amazon $15.99) Shop now>
Designed for anarchist artists who prefer to draw outside the lines.

Pet Dalmatian Sewing Kit (Spotlight $18.00) Shop now>
Sew a sweet pet who needs a loving home.

Port Adelaide Power Supporter Scarf (eBay $11.00) Shop now>
An Official AFL Port Adelaide Power scarf that includes free shipping.

Oven Bake Modelling Clay Kit (eBay $12.99) Shop now>
Make figurines and household items that can be baked in the oven.

Budget gift ideas for women

Women are notorious for putting everyone’s needs in front of their own. Perhaps that’s why they are a hundred-million times more likely than a man to receive a fry pan for their birthday?? Don’t worry—you won’t find any unsolicited appliances or cookware on this list!

  • Green thumb gift theme
    Greenery is totally on trend. Think: potted succulents, climbers and house plants. But also think: seedlings, seed packets, mushroom growing kits and cuttings from your own garden.
  • Non-green thumbs
    On the other hand… Women are busy. Who has time to tend a plant? Fake plants are the perfect no-stress solution.
  • Sports, gym and yoga
    You know what women need more of? Self-care. Gym clothes and fitness equipment don’t need to be expensive. For example, Bunnings sells a set of resistance bands for less than $10.
  • Personalised gifts
    Mums, sisters, aunties and grandmas love personalised gifts. How about a phone cover for Mum with a family photo on it? Or a coffee mug for work?
  • Magazine subscription
    Which magazine does the special woman in your life love reading? Multi-month subscriptions ensure she’ll remember your gift every time a new edition lands in her mailbox.
Budget Gift Ideas for women

WE DO THE LEGWORK FOR YOU

Fejka Artificial Potted Plant (IKEA $6.00) Shop now >
Artificial greenery because she has better things to do than water plants.

Personalised IPhone 3D Wrap Cover (Officeworks $29.95) Shop now >
Add your favourite photo to these custom phone covers.

Calm Club Yoga Cards (ASOS $20.00) Shop now >
For busy women wanting to unwind on the go. These yoga cards help you to de-stress, one position at a time. Perfect for travelling.

Mushroom Growing Kit (eBay $25.00) Shop now >
What do Lion’s Mane, Enoki, Button, Oyster and Shitake have in common? They are all mushrooms! Green-thumbed gals will love growing them at home.

Taste 6-Month Subscription (iSubscribe $29.50) Shop now >
What is she into? Gardening? Cooking? Business? Finance? There are loads of affordable magazine subscriptions to choose from.


FURTHER READING
30 Mother’s Day Gifts Under $30 From Kmart, Big W and Target >>


Budget gift ideas for men

The traditional ‘go to’ gifts for men—ties, socks, jocks and aftershave—are so 1950s. Our curated list of inexpensive gift ideas for men acknowledges that modern men have modern needs. We’ve catered for hipsters, tech buffs, gamers, makers and more.

  • Coffee lover gifts
    For the guy who loves coffee, how about a stove-top espresso maker (Moka pot) paired with a bag of Aldi Lazzio coffee beans (voted the best in Australia) and travel cup (see links below).
  • Tools and gadget gifts
    Do you have a MacGyver in your life? Then the man needs tools! Torches, laser pointers, solar chargers, pens, tape measures and more are robust, useful gifts.
  • Novelty gifts
    On the other hand… A novelty item is an object that serves no practical purpose whatsoever. How about a box of depressed pencils or socks with his (or your) face on them.
  • Sports, hobbies and man cave gifts
    If he has a love of sport, a man cave (or shed or garage) or specific hobbies, you can angle your gift in that direction. For the home brewer, a fancy set of beer glasses; what about a poster of his hero for the sports fanatic; or a steak branding iron for the BBQ King.
  • Practical, yet thoughtful gifts
    The challenge with practical gifts is how to make them thoughtful. Personalisation is the key to giving a present that is both useful and sentimental. Think: calendars, luggage tags, stubby coolers, mouse mat, and so on, all of which can be personalised at Officeworks.
Budget gift ideas for men

WE DO THE LEGWORK FOR YOU

Espresso Coffee Maker (‘Moka’ Pot) (Kmart $10.00) Shop now >
For the guy who loves coffee, this stove-top espresso maker could be paired with a bag of…

Barista Natural Reusable Travel Cup (Kmart $3.00) Shop now >
Your coffee loving friend now has the perfect trifecta of caffeine-inspired gifts.

Wamter Multi-Tool (Amazon $14.99) Shop now >
It’s a pen, stylus, spirit level and screwdriver all in one. Perfect for the MacGuyver in your life.

Deluxe Photo Mousepad (Officeworks $19.95) Shop now >
Photo gifts can be thoughtful. We especially love ones that are also useful!

Lebron James LA Lakers Print (Above The Gods $30.00) Shop now >
Perfect for the man cave, garage, office or bedroom. Above The Gods has hundreds of artful sporting posters, plus free shipping to Australia.


FURTHER READING
15 Father’s Day gifts under $50 from Kmart, Target and Big W >>


Themed budget gift ideas

Are you looking for fun, affordable gift ideas for a coworker? How about a Secret Santa gift, a housewarming gift, baby shower present or a quirky wedding gift for a quirky couple. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Funny gift ideas
    You can’t wrap a laugh, but this is the next best thing. Quirky T-shirts, games and comedy movies are feel-good gifts.
  • Retro and vintage gift ideas
    For friends who qualify as “vintage,” retro themed gifts are a reminder of bygone eras and oldtime memories. Think: collectables, diecast models, posters, books and more.
  • New baby gift ideas
    When you’re welcoming a new baby, the perfect gift can be something for the baby (clothes, toys), the nursery (wall art, night light), the new parents (bath bombs, a local coffee gift card), or practical gifts (nappies, frozen meals) none of which need to be expensive to be thoughtful.
  • Travel gift ideas
    Is someone taking a trip? Or planning a honeymoon, perhaps? Give them a travel themed gift, such as a travel guide, toiletry organiser, jacket-in-a-packet or customised luggage tags.
  • Homemaker and decor gift ideas
    Are you going to a housewarming party? Is someone moving out of home for the first time? Has a friend recently moved? This is an opportunity to help make their house a home. Think: candles and diffusers, decorative items, house plants, food storage containers and home organisation.

WE DO THE LEGWORK FOR YOU

Cards Against Humanity Family Edition (eBay $33) Shop now >
This hilarious fill-in-the-blank game has been cleaned up so mature kids and immature adults can play together.

Uncle Buck DVD (JB Hi-Fi $44.00) Shop now >
Retro and funny! JB Hi-Fi has a huge range of movies at discount prices.

More Cowbell T-Shirt (Red Bubble $23.55) Shop now >
Another funny and retro gift idea. Red Bubble has loads of printable gifts, including t-shirts and more.

Acrylic Name Letters (Craft Cuts $23.55) Shop now >
Spell out Baby’s name with these acrylic letters, ideal for the nursery wall or door.

Miniature Porsche 918 Spyder (Hobbies N Games $16.00) Shop now >
Miniature diecast models are collectable gifts for rev heads and other collectors.

4-Piece Glass Canister Set With Bamboo Lids (Kitchen Warehouse $27.95) Shop now >
Warm a friend’s house with these bench-worthy glass canisters.

USB Aroma Diffuser (Kmart $15.00) Shop now >
Help a colleague or friend create an aromatic atmosphere at home or work with this diffuser and LED light.

Bamboo Laundry Hamper (Target $30.00) Shop now >
Here’s a stylish and very practical gift for a new homemaker.


Handmade gift ideas everyone will love

Get ready to hear “You made this?” We promise that none of the following homemade gifts include crocheted doilies, monogrammed handkerchiefs or cross-stitched anything. Instead, we’ve curated 10 homemade gift ideas that are cool and useful.

  • Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream
    Poured over ice, homemade Irish cream is a delicious way to end dinner or kick off festivities. (Adults only, of course.)
  • Social media photo coasters
    Photo coasters are a great way to capture memories. (A product called Mod Podge is mentioned in the coaster tutorial—it’s an all-in-one glue, sealer and finish available from most craft shops.)
  • Champagne a la pineapple
    What’s better than champagne and chocolates? Champagne and chocolates that look like a pineapple! The tutorial is in German. Translate the instructions here.
  • Customised jar planters
    Who doesn’t love little succulents in cute customised planter jars? Nobody we want to know.
  • Personalised DIY t-shirt
    Get to designing and making your own printed t-shirts using iron-on t-shirt transfer paper. This link is for Officeworks, but you’ll find similar products at Spotlight, Big W, Amazon and eBay.
  • Personalised pottery
    Personalise a piece of crockery to show you care. This can be a coffee mug for a colleague or a porcelain photo frame for a grandparent. Buy a DIY kit or porcelain paint pens available from Spotlight and Lincraft.
  • Home-baked pet treats
    Home-baked cat treats and dog treats are a thoughtful way to say happy birthday, merry Christmas or simply ‘I love you’ to your four-legged friends and their human owners.
  • Painted bookends
    Painted animal bookends are a cute way to decorate a kid’s (or big person’s) bookshelf. Plastic dinosaurs and toy cars would work well, too.
  • Mixed music tape (minus the tape)
    Share your love of music by gifting a Spotify playlist. Spotify makes it easy to share playlists with your friends and family, since there’s a “share” option directly in the app.
  • Gemstone soap
    These DIY gemstone soaps make beautiful styling items for your friends and family’s bathrooms. Oh, and you can use them too.

The worry-free way to manage your money

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This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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