Let's face it, the primary reason we spend more than we want to is usually due to last-minute desperation. But you can stay beneath the $10 mark and still give someone a birthday smile. Keep a stash of ready-wrapped, always-welcome gifts (and birthday cards) for both sexes and all ages on hand, and you'll never box yourself into a corner.
Look around the house. There are things you can do or make that are virtually cost free and still make for a good gift. Burn a CD with some of their favorite tunes using music you already own. Personalize a CD cover by printing something from the computer or cutting out images from a magazine.
Look for cheap purchases. Picture frames, books, some candles, lotions and soaps are good cheap, usually asexual gifts. Gift certificates and gift cards are also great because it takes the burden of shopping off of you, but also gives them some free spending cash at their favorite stores.
Offer the appearance of high-cost. Buy a cheap bottle of wine with a cool label, and wrap a colorful hand towel around the neck. You can do this for $10 and it looks like you went out of your way to spend high-end.
Keep a stash of anytime gifts. If you happen to see something for cheap that could be used for any number of friends and family, buy it right then and keep it in a drawer or closet. Do this often enough and you'll have an arsenal of cheap gifts without the hassle of shopping.
Tips & Warnings
- In theory, there's nothing wrong with recycling gifts you've received that would suit someone else much better. Just remember to note on the box or bag who gave it to you before you put it in storage and forget. Avoid embarrassing moments later by recycling it in a different circle of acquaintances.