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Gift ideas that won’t break the bank

Flickr/queenbeeofbeverlyhills

Want to be the king of the Secret Santa or impress your friends with your gift giving skills without breaking the bank? Try any of these gift ideas and you’ll leave your friends wondering how you managed to get them such a nice gift while staying within that preset $15 limit.

Headphones

Nobody really likes the Apple ear buds. They both look funny and can hurt your ears if you leave them in for too long. So if you have a friend that has yet to upgrade, give them new headphones this holiday season. While good pairs of headphones can cost anywhere from $50 to $150, JVC.com sells headphones for $13.20 that are highly recommended and will have everyone thinking you busted the piggy bank.

Wine

Package it in a nice enough bottle and wine will always look expensive. Better yet, it’s something almost everyone can enjoy. It’s perfect for the people who seem to have everything. Stores such as Trader Joe’s offer a decent selection of wine starting at just $2.99 a bottle. At that price, you could turn it into a gift basket.

Soaps

Handmade soaps always look really nice, with their pretty swirls of color and interesting scents, but most importantly they usually cost somewhere around $6 a bar. If you pair that with a couple of small sized, equally nice smelling lotions (which can usually be bought for about $3), you’ve created a nice set that looks designer.

If you want to take this to the next level, make some soaps yourself to distribute this season. There are loads of DIY articles online regarding how to make soap. Buy some melt and pour soap (available at most craft stores) and melt it down and then recast it into fun shapes or with small toys inside to make it more personal.

Bracelets

Bracelets are big this year, particularly a stacked set of them. Despite the fact that they are little scraps of fabric with a few beads, you will likely find yourself $30 poorer if you purchase just a couple.  But, if you buy them in a set, like the ones that can be found at Target or Delia’s, you will get more for your money as long as you ignore the fact there is probably one ugly one.

If you want to get more for your money, you can make them yourself. Most craft stores sell everything you need to make a few of these friendship bracelets from beads to leather to chain, and this way you can make them more personal for less money.

Clearance Clothing

There is no better place than the clearance rack to buy a gift that looks more expensive than its price tag. After all, the items that have made their way to the clearance rack did cost more than your $15 spending limit at one point. While you should be mindful of the person you’re shopping for, Urban Outfitters is a great place to start. Almost all of their full-priced items eventually wind up on their sales racks. The best part, no one ever has to know it was on clearance.

Katie Landeck can be reached at klandeck@student.umass.edu.

Comments
2 Responses to “Gift ideas that won’t break the bank”
  1. Shawn says:

    Agree that there are better ear buds than what Apple sells. Headphones makes nice gifts and they come in all price ranges.

  2. Kathln says:

    I love the fact that you added wine into the list. It is a very sophisticated gift idea that people will always appreciate. Another idea are funny coffee cups. I received some of those my last birthday and am still using them whenever I work in front of the computer!

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