Keeping a stash of inexpensive thank you gifts on hand is a great way to save money while avoiding the inconvenience of last minute trips to the mall.
Showing Your Gratitude
During a typical week, there are probably many different occasions where people do small favors for you. For example:
- Your neighbor walked your dog and watered your plants while you were on vacation.
- Your hairdresser squeezed you in for an emergency appointment after you botched your home dye job.
- Your sister provided free babysitting services so you could enjoy a romantic evening with your husband.
- A friend gave you a box of clothing and toys her kids no longer needed, but everything is exactly right for your children.
- A co-worker invited you to a party at his home, where you had the chance to make contact with several people who are important in your field.
- An acquaintance gave you a tip that led to a new job offer.
While a gift isn't technically necessary whenever someone does something helpful or kind, it's nice to show your appreciation as much as possible.
Ideas for Inexpensive Thank You Gifts
Get in the habit of keeping a few multi-purpose gifts on hand and you'll never be caught unprepared when the need arises for an inexpensive thank you gift. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Scented candles. Look for sales after major holidays. For example, you can often find cheap vanilla scented candles after Christmas. If you purchase a gift set, you can even take apart the set and repackage it to make several smaller presents.
- Photo albums. A small photo album decorated with a pretty pattern makes a lovely thank you gift. This is an especially appropriate choice for someone with small children or someone who enjoys traveling frequently.
- Classic board games. Battleship, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, and other classic board games are heavily discounted during the holiday season. Stock up on these items to use as family-friendly thank you gifts.
- Movie night box. Package microwave popcorn, popcorn seasoning, and a few popular movie candies in a pretty bowl. If you wish, you could even include a budget priced DVD or a gift certificate to the local video rental store.
- Books. Art books, quotation books, poetry books, cook books, and trivia books all make great inexpensive thank you gifts. Look for good deals on books you can buy in bulk at the Amazon.com 4-for-3 Books Store.
If you're looking for gift ideas for a child, check out the LoveToKnow Save slideshow Frugal Presents for Kids.
Gifts to Make
If you're feeling creative, here are some ideas for inexpensive thank you gifts you can make:
- Homemade reed diffuser. Reed diffusers are a trendy way to scent your home, but buying them can be very expensive. For a cheaper alternative, mix 1/3 fragrance oil, 1/3 vegetable oil, and 1/3 budget vodka into a pretty glass bottle. Present the bottle with a few bamboo skewers for a gift that's sure to earn rave reviews.
- Decorated picture frames. Purchase plain wooden photo frames from your local craft store, then decorate them with the design of your choice for a unique gift idea. LoveToKnow Crafts has an article on Crafts to Make Picture Frames that can help you get started.
- Printable gifts. From journal jars to personalized desk calendars, there are a number of printable paper crafts that make great thank you gifts. See the LoveToKnow Crafts article Crafty Computer Made Gifts for some ideas.
- Homemade cookies. Assuming your gift recipient isn't diabetic or on a diet, a plate of homemade goodies is a great way to say thank you. If you don't already have a favorite recipe, LoveToKnow Recipes has a large selection of cookie recipes for you to try.