10 Gifts Ideas Under $20

Often times I’m scrambling to think of a gift to give that shows I appreciate the recipient but also doesn’t break my small, college student budget. I absolutely love giving gifts, and I wish I could shop budget free for everyone on my list. In the meantime, though, here are 10 go-to gifts I like to give–each are under $20.


A cup of tea and some child murderers.

A good book and their favorite tea/coffee

There’s nothing like a good book and a cup of tea or coffee to help someone relax. This gift is good for an avid reader or someone who’s always looking for a good book recommendation. While some hardcover books can cost more than $20, the average paperback book costs anywhere from $10-$12. You can select either the person’s favorite tea or coffee, or a kind you think they might enjoy.

 Lush Colour Supplement

Lush products

Lush gifts are especially good for a bridal shower or bachelorette party. With bath bombs ranging around $7 and shower gel around $10, you can shop around the store for the perfect scent combination.

 Sancion Angel para HBF

A themed gift

Another great gift idea is to buy a few inexpensive items to make a themed gift, for example, a nail care or hair care gift. A nail care gift could include a nail polish and a clear coat, a nail filer, and a nail polish remover, such as Josie Maran’s Bare Naked Nail Wipes. A hair care gift could include a Tangle Teezer or a straightening serum.

R-bear key chain

A personalized keychain

If you’re unsure of whether or not the person you’re buying the gift for wears jewelry or what kind of jewelry they prefer, I think a keychain is great alternative. A personalized keychain doesn’t even necessarily mean a key chain with their name. Do they have a favorite movie, book, or Broadway show? Are they a teacher or a social worker? Websites like Etsy have endless, homemade, high quality options for $20 or under.

Me & My Camera

A meaningful picture in a frame

This gift would be ideal for an old friend. Find your favorite photo of the two of you and print it in black and white and place it in a beautifully detailed frame. This idea even works great as a housewarming gift: find a meaningful quote printed on a card or post card and place it in a neutral-colored frame like black or white. (The neutral color will ensure the frame color doesn’t clash with his or her home décor.)

365.26: Magazines

A magazine subscription

Is the person you’re buying a gift for really into fitness, food, or maybe another hobby? Buy them a year-long subscription to a magazine—they usually average around $10—and give the person something to look forward to each month.


A monogram collage canvas

If you’re on the creative side, a super easy and popular DIY gift is a canvas collage with the first letter of the person’s name. The project is easy: search through magazines and old books and select pictures and words that relate to the person. Next, glue the pictures onto a canvas with mod podge. Last, paint a wooden letter and glue onto the center of the canvas.

Art Journal Template

A journal

There are two ways, I think, of giving this gift. One: give a beautiful faux leather journal with your favorite quote or an inscription inside. Two: purchase a journal that gives a daily writing prompt—or drawing prompt, for an artistic friend.

 What's Cookin'

A recipe or health book

A recipe book by a friend’s favorite chef is great as a housewarming gift. Or, buy a health/ nutrition book for someone you know who is working on improving their lifestyle—Eat, Nourish, Glow by Amelia Freer, anyone? This is a great gift because it’s a book your friend will return to again and again, and they’ll remember your thoughtfulness every time.

A box/bag of their favorite things

If you’ve been friends with the person for a while and know their likes and dislikes well enough, this idea can be ideal on a tight budget. Pick out their favorite snacks, candies, gum, etc. and place it with a gift card for $10-$15 to their favorite coffee or juice place. This gift is great because the person receiving it will know you put in a lot of thought, and you won’t have to worry that they won’t like it.

Please post some of your best inexpensive gift ideas below!


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