Are you looking for the perfect “budget-friendly” gift for a friend but not sure where to begin?

A man with hand on his forehead looking around.

Well, you’re in luck because with a little creativity, you can show your friend that you care about them without going broke. 

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Homemade or “Upcycled” Gifts

If you’re feeling a bit crafty, try making a gift by hand or look for some used items you have lying around at home before purchasing a brand-new gift.

A person using a glue stick on a handmade paper ornament with scissors, glue sticks, pine cones, and paper in the background.

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Homemade Gift Ideas

  • Create simple candles of their favorite scents using wax & recycled jars

  • Make personal care items such as lotions, bath salts, or soaps/shampoo bars

  • Bake up their favorite treats like muffins, cookies, or brownies

  • Make a handwritten card or poem

  • Knit or crochet clothing or accessories (scarves, hats, blankets, gloves)

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Upcycled Gift Ideas

  • Take an old picture frame and decorate it with beads or paint it a fresh color

  • Repurpose clear glass jars into decorative lanterns

  • Create planters out of different-sized tin cans

  • Turn a used t-shirt into an eco-friendly grocery tote bag

  • Use magazines or newspapers to create a fun collage or upcycled coasters

Not only are homemade and upcycled gifts an eco-friendly choice, but they're also a creative and thoughtful way to make your friend feel special.

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Personalized Gifts

Finding a gift that is personal to your friend's interests and style is a great way to make even a simple gift meaningful.

A woman holding out a bouquet of yellow and pink roses. Photo by Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash

You may even find some items at home that you can add a personal touch to:

  • Make a memory jar using handwritten notes and inspirational messages that they can read when they're having a rough day.

  • Create a scrapbook using pictures, ticket stubs, and any other memorabilia that will bring a smile to their face.

  • Design a fun coffee mug by drawing on a plain mug and baking it in the oven.

  • Customize a calendar with fun pictures of the two of you.

  • Compile a recipe book that includes their favorite recipes and even some new ones to try.

Taking the time to personalize a gift shows sincerity and effort.

Moira Rose from Schitts Creek saying,


Amira is on a tight budget but wants to give her friend Miguel, a photography and music enthusiast, a birthday gift he'll remember. Which of these gifts would be a great option?

Acts of Kindness

Another simple gift-giving idea is to perform an act of service by helping your friend in some way. Flaticon Icon

Possible ideas might include...

  • Running errands for/with them: Drive them to the grocery store, to a doctor's appointment, to fill up their gas tank, etc.

  • Help them with chores: Help with laundry/household chores, yard work, or a home improvement project. Offer to babysit (if they have a child/children).

  • Take them out: Set up a coffee/lunch date. Go out for ice cream or even just a walk in a local park.

Any of these options will surely show your friend how much you care about them.

Kamala Harris saying ,

Take Action

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There are many cost-friendly options for giving your friend a meaningful gift that comes from the heart.


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