Thoughtful Gifts on a Budget

Nov 23, 2022 | Financial Guides | 0 comments

thoughtful gift ideas on a budget

Thoughtful Gifts on a Budget

It can be challenging to find thoughtful gifts on a budget. Which is why we rounded up a few of our favorite gift ideas that your friends and family will love! (and won’t break the bank!)

Before we get to the gift ideas, we want to stress the importance of living an intentional life. Where not only do we maintain healthy financial lives, but we also promote healthy lifestyles, eco-friendly choices and mindful consumption. 

Gift giving is in no way the most important part of the holiday season. So we want to remind you that a gift free policy is a great route to take. Especially when you’re working on your financial goals and trying to maintain healthy boundaries around your personal finances. 

Read more about how to be a mindful shopper this season and avoid financial stress during the holidays.

How Much Should I Budget for Gifts? 

How much you should budget for gifts, depends on a lot of things. But the simple answer is as much you can spend without going into debt or dipping into savings.

A lot of people find themselves spending more than they can afford during the holiday season. That means high credit card balances and a stressed out start to the new year! We call it a ‘Holiday Hangover’ and we don’t want that for you! 

The key to avoiding spending too much is to plan ahead.

How Do I Determine my Gift Budget?

Determining how much you can budget for gifts takes a bit of planning. Before you start shopping you need to look at your finances. 

Setting your Holiday Gift Budget: Step-By-Step

  1. Review your Budget and Cash Flow to determine the total amount you can spend. 
  2. Add a “Gifts” category to your December budget and make sure the numbers work. 
  3. Make a list of how many people you want to buy a gift for this year.
  4. Decide how much you can spend per person. 

Of course you will also need to follow up and track your spending to ensure you don’t go over budget.

We know this can be challenging, especially if you have a big list! So we stress the importance of communication, setting expectations and honoring your personal boundaries. Even if you have a lot of people you want to buy gifts for – it might not be responsible or wise to do so. That’s OK and is exactly why some of the ideas below can be so helpful.

HELP! I Have Too Many Gifts to Buy! 

If you have a large family or group of friends, consider a party! Organize a gift exchange game like Secret Santa or our favorite “White Elephant”. There is almost always a set price limit and you only have to buy one gift instead of many. Even better – make it a potluck so everyone brings something to eat and you all have a meal and a good time!

That said, this giving season we wanted to round up some of our favorite gift ideas. Many of which encourage a healthy lifestyle, thoughtful spending and quality times with loved ones.

Thoughtful Gifts on a Budget


The gift of knowledge is one of the greatest gifts someone can receive. Books are incredibly budget friendly and can change a reader’s life! 

We are avid readers and know that the books we have read, made our lives better and made us better people. Which is why we’ve curated lists of our favorites!

Check out powerful stories that will change the way a reader views the world. Make a small investment in a book that helps them improve their personal finances, a book is a great gift. Help them reach their career goals with books about Business & Leadership.

Digital Memberships

Truly a zero waste gift! These memberships allow you to access content online that you can listen to or watch from your device any time, anywhere. 

Great for the commuter, traveler or multi-tasker looking to enrich their life. Think, Audible for audiobooks, or Calm for meditation and better sleep.

Homemade Gifts

A handmade gift is incredibly thoughtful. We’ll be the first to say that not all DIY gifts are great, but some can be excellent! Even if the gift itself isn’t exactly a show stopper, taking the time to create something for someone, is special. It shows how much you care, despite how big or small your budget is.

Consider printing and nicely framing a meaningful photo, or making Christmas Cookie Boxes. It just comes down to your level of craftiness and DIY skills that you can tap into. 

Digital Gift Card 

You can get a digital gift card for pretty much anything these days. But we love environmentally friendly companies such as LUSH, Prana, or Rasa Brands that create items anyone would enjoy, while also being environmentally conscious.

Gift Basket Filled with Locally Made Items

One of our favorite gift ideas is to go to local stores and find fun, locally made products that you can then put into a gift basket or a care package for the whole family to enjoy! 

Not only is it thoughtful and custom made. But you will also cut down on packaging, decrease your carbon footprint and support local businesses by shopping local rather than online.

Relaxing Experiences

All of us are stressed. Literally. ALL OF US. So give the gift of relaxation and a little self-care. We suggest a massage at a local day spa, a visit to a float tank, nail salon or sauna!

Like this idea but out of your budget? Try gifting a Groupon!

Make Memories

A gift that truly keeps giving is spending time with those you love. Who doesn’t love making memories that will last a lifetime? As we mentioned above, a Christmas or Holiday Party is a great way to make memories with a large group.

You can also get tickets to a show at a local venue, take a class together, or experience a new attraction in your town!

Help Them Achieve Their Goals

Most everyone makes New Year’s resolutions or sets a goal for the year ahead to be healthier, more balanced or mindful or just try something NEW! 

Get them stoked on a healthy lifestyle or a fun new hobby. Buy them a membership to a climbing gym, martial arts school, yoga practice, or cycling!

– – – 

Remember, whatever gifts you decide to give this holiday season, do so thoughtfully. 

Be careful not to overextend yourself financially. No friend or family member wants you to go into debt for Christmas.


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