When giving a gift, it's not the cost of the gift that matters but the gesture itself. Gifts don't have to be very expensive and some of the most significant gifts don't cost much of anything at all. Cheap meaningful gifts are a symbol of the relationship between you and the recipient and invoke your shared memories and tastes.
Keepsakes and Heirlooms
Giving a gift of a keepsake or heirloom costs no money but is still a deeply significant gesture. If you have a family heirloom that you want to give your children or other relatives, give it as a gift during a milestone celebration instead of waiting to leave it to them in your will. A keepsake doesn't have to be something handed down for generations, it just has to be an item that holds a certain level of significance in your life. Write a heartfelt letter to the receiver explaining the meaning behind your keepsake and why you wanted them to have it.
Craft a memory jar that holds handwritten memories of you and the gift receiver. Thoroughly clean out an old food jar or buy a glass jar from the store and decorate the outside of it using fabric, ribbon or paint. Hand write several different memories, inside jokes and other things that have meaning to you and the receiver of the gift. Fold the memories and place them in the jar. You could also add pictures, small objects, ticket stubs and other memorabilia. The recipient will love taking the time to sift through every memory and reminisce about your lives together.
Every great cook has her own secret recipes that she's known for, but consider sharing the recipe as a cheap meaningful gift. Buy recipe cards or print your own from home with detailed instructions on how to make your favorite dishes. If you don't mind spending a little extra money, you can gather some of the dry ingredients needed for the recipe and give them alongside the recipe card in a decorative jar or container. A recipe gift shows the receiver you care about them enough to let them in on your culinary secrets.
Give the gift of music by hand selecting songs you think the recipient would enjoy. Music download sites like iTunes give you the option to purchase songs for other people and craft a specially tuned playlist to their musical tastes. The recipient of a musical playlist will appreciate the time you took to select the best songs and learn more about their choices in music. Music downloads cost roughly $1 to $2 each, so you can stay within budget by limiting the amount of songs you pick for the playlist.