Gift Ideas for Under $2


If the amount in your bank account is prohibiting you from buying a designer bag or expensive perfume for a gift, other options are available for just eight quarters. Gift possibilities on the cheap often substitute dollars for time and creativity, but these inexpensive gifts can be just as effective as higher-priced ones.

Flattened Penny

  • Most flattened pennies show a landmark or destination and can make a unique keepsake. Assuming you have a good memory of this place with the gift recipient, look for a penny machine in the mall or at the touristy area of your city. Place the penny in an old jewelry box, and tie it with a bow. On a small square of paper, write the simple, sweet memory you shared with the person.

Poker Chips and Cards

  • Most dollar stores offer a deck of cards and a set of poker chips. Use a Western-like font, and type out the rules of poker to give with the gift. Age the piece of paper and make it appear like an old saloon poster by crumpling it up and dipping it in a cool cup of coffee. Unfold it and leave it to dry.

Wildflower Bouquet

  • Go to the nearest state park and go on a wildflower-picking hunt. Choose bright and bold-colored flowers. Place them in a vase from the dollar store. Tie a large bow around the vase using discarded ribbon.


  • A simple picture in a frame can make a meaningful, lasting gift. Find a photo of the two of you, and place it in an inexpensive frame. Or just re-gift a frame already in your house. If you know how to use photo-editing software, use an image of the two of you online from a social-networking site and retouch it. Make it black and white, or distort the hues to make it appear whimsical. Print the picture at the drugstore for less than 50 cents.

Coupon Book

  • Think of any skills or services you can offer a person, and put them into a coupon book. For example, one coupon could be a free massage or an offer to do the laundry for the next month. Draw cute stick-figure images of you performing these tasks.


  • Cut out a bookmark-shaped square from a manila folder. Hole-punch the top of it, and use embroidery floss to make a tassel. Tie beads from the tassel as well. On the bookmark itself, take a fine pen and write the gift recipient’s favorite quote or slogan. Ideally, write in calligraphy.

Other Ideas

  • Nancy Twigg, author of “Celebrate Simply,” suggests other creative gifts, like making a painting, writing a poem or even designing a web page dedicated to the other person.

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  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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