How to Create Cheap Gifts That Look Expensive

Make your gift look like a million bucks.
Make your gift look like a million bucks. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Savvy shopping means you know how to get the best things for a great deal. You don’t have to spend a bundle on gifts when you want to show someone that you’re thinking of him. No matter if it’s a trinket for the secretary in your office or a special gift for that special someone in your life, you can buy something cheap that looks rather expensive. Be a savvy shopper by saving big on super gifts.

Know where to shop. Even if you are brand-conscious, you can buy some of the best brands at a low price if you know where the shopping hot spots are. Check online at places like or eBay for items sold by stores cleaning out extra shipments. Venture out to large discount retailers like T.J. Maxx or Ross where designer brands ranging from home décor to apparel and jewelry are sold at steep discounts off department store prices.

Buy something personal or practical. Avoid buying a gift with no meaning. If you don’t know the person well, at least purchase something based on how you know her. Buy a gym buddy a pair of workout gloves. Buy a co-worker who’s always organized a set of novelty organizer folders and office supplies. Make your gift something that the recipient will most likely enjoy, taking the focus off of how much you paid and where you got it.

Look in the clearance section. Take the time to look at items that are on sale and have been marked down. Shop early in the morning before everyone has had a chance to rummage through things and/or pick out the best things. Ask the manager or floor assistant what’s on sale that may not have been marked down.

Buy smaller items and package together. Don’t spend your entire budget on one big gift. Opt for smaller items like a special wine bottle opener, coffee mug warmer or glass set.

Buy dark or silver finishes. Some items look much more expensive in certain colors; the same is true of apparel and goods like handbags and furniture. Avoid too many details in the items, such as a purse with too many compartments or cheap flowers with too many colors. Buy simple when you need to buy inexpensively.

Wrap the gift in something nice. No matter what you’re purchasing have the gift professionally wrapped or wrap the item yourself. Choose colorful, bold paper with complementary bows and gift cards. Check dollar stores or "big box" retailers for deals on gift bags, wrapping paper and coordinating ribbons.

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