You check your bank account and it’s hardly full—in fact it might even be nearing negative territory—but still, the reminder on your calendar warns you are going to need a present in hand within the next few days! So what do you do when your bank account is inching near zero but your wants to please others, and present a nice gift, are high and mighty?
Buying a gift that costs a lot of money is not necessary in order to please the people you love—unless you have terribly materialistic friends, in which case you need a new crew! Gifts are supposed to come from the heart, and not having the dough to buy the latest Kate Spade Handbag or Channel Sunglasses should never mean that you can’t come with the best gift in hand.
No matter how low your budget might be—here are some free gift ideas that will guarantee you and your loved ones are all happy, oh and not completely broke!
I. No Money? Gift Your Time
Money is the equivalent of time and while you might not have money, perhaps you have some time to donate. Instead of buying a gift for your friend, gift yourself! Maybe your loved one does not like to clean or do dishes, or they are completely swamped in the office and could use some paperwork help—no matter the surrounding circumstances, donate your time to a friend in order to make their life easier. They will greatly appreciate the help and find your desire to treat them even though you have no money extremely enduring!
II. Make a Coupon Book
Coupon books are easy and fun to make, simply purchase a cheap little blank flip book at Target, Wal-Mart, or even the local CVS; or instead, make your own with some computer paper, staples, and coloring pens! Make sure to give plenty of coupons—some of which should expire in order to prompt your friend or family member to use them. So what are these coupons for? Depending on you and your loved ones’ lifestyle and interests, the coupons can vary but here are some great ideas to include in your coupon book:
- Free Dinner and wine night at your place—prepared, cooked, and cleaned by you of course.
- An hour-long massage, you don’t have to be a licensed physical therapist to give a massage that feels amazing!
- Free Cleaning! Offer to clean your friend’s room, office, car, or whatever else you know they dread doing. This would cost them money to have done by a complete stranger, having you do it will cost them nothing and be worry free because they know you will do a good job and not mess up any of their stuff.
III. Special Day Out
Take your special friend or family member out for the day—just because you put hard work and planning into the occasion does not mean it has to cost much money! Pack a picnic with some of the goodies you have at home, think basic sandwiches and fruit, and head to a beautiful spot overlooking a lake or even the ocean if you are lucky to live on the coast. Try and uncover a new place that your friend has never been before but you know they would love. The thought you put into planning an event like this will stay in their memory long after they have forgotten all of the materialistic gifts they receive this same year.
VI. Free Photo Fun
Making something for your loved one is another option when money is low. A scrapbook might cost you some money because you must purchase a book and the supplies to decorate with, but it will still cost less than other equally good gift ideas. Instead of money, a scrapbook will mostly just cost you in time, although it is totally worth it because they last for years and years!
If you don’t have the time or skills to create an entire scrapbook, try buying a cheap wooden photo frame and then creating a beautiful, personalized masterpiece out of it. Bedazzle the frame in jewels or instead stencil inside jokes around the edges, the options are simply endless! Of course, you can slip a great photo of the two of you inside or gift it empty, allowing them to instead select which photo to display inside.