5 Innovative Low Cost Gift Ideas for Any Occasion

Liz Krauseby Liz Krause, SimpleItalianCooking.com

Just about everyone knows what it feels like to stretch the dollar at some point in their life. From college days of nightly $1.00 hamburger dinners, to avoiding birthday parties because you did not have the money to buy a decent gift - most likely these scenarios sound familiar for those on a tight budget.

However, there are many gift ideas which do not have to cost a lot of money. Here are 5 of them to help you get started:

1. Discount Clothes for Babies and Toddlers

This idea does not work as well with older kids who are fashion savvy, but for babies and toddlers this is perfect. Visit discount stores or check out clearance racks at any retail outlet. Look for clothing such a bibs, socks, outfits, hats, gloves, etc. that can be given as a gift. You do not have to worry about purchasing high quality items made to last for years because the infant or toddler will soon grow out of them anyway. However, this does not mean to buy anything that looks and feels cheap, but understand you do not have to go out of your way to find top designer baby clothes.

2. Create a Kitchen Gift Basket

No, this does not mean you have to go buy a fancy kitchen appliance like a stand mixer or a meat grinder, but you can buy some other useful items for much less. The goal with this idea is to create a gift basket designed for the kitchen. Visit any discount store and look through their kitchen section. Look to collect 5-10 items which are all matching in style. For example, look for a hand towel, pot holders and hand mitts which share the same or similar pattern. Next, look for matching dinnerware to round out the gift. Examples would be a plate, bowl, salad plate, and even a coffee mug or tea cup which all hold the same designs.

While you are at the store, take a look around and look for anything that can be used to hold all the contents, such as a basket or plastic container. Each item should cost no more than a dollar each, and when placed all together will look quite impressive.

3. Go Fly a Kite!

Flying a kite is extremely fun on a windy day. Especially if the kite is impressive and colorful. You can even go to the store with the child and have them pick out the kite they want. Spending time together like this is good for any relationship and also shows a child they can enjoy their time outside doing creative activities rather than staying indoors. A good idea is to go out afterwards for some dessert, such as an ice cream cone or shake. The memory alone will mean a lot!

4. Give the Stay at Home Spouse a Break

Sometimes sacrificing your time to free up someone else's time can mean more than any store bought gift. If you work full time, but your spouse is the one who works at home cleaning, cooking and taking care of all the house chores, it is good idea to give them a break by taking over for a day.

Sometimes, this will not work depending on the type of personalities. For example the spouse who works may not know how to cook dinner, lunch or do much else since they are not usually in charge of those type of duties. This can cause more stress for the other spouse who will find themselves constantly having to tell the other where everything is and what to do. In this case, choose to spend the day outside of the house. In fact, this may be exactly what they would prefer - getting out of the house!

With an idea like this, it is best to talk it over before announcing your plans. Ask them what they would like to do and honor their request.

5. Frame a Memory

Here is an excellent idea which costs very little, yet holds quite a lot of value. Find a photo that represents a memory or special occasion in the person's life. You can include yourself in the photo, such as if you had a recent outing or get together. Then go to a store which sells inexpensive frames, or check out the clearance racks where the frames will be discounted. You are sure to find some suitable frames. Look for a frame that suits the recipient's personality. Place the photo in the frame and wrap in nice wrapping paper with a bow. In your card, make sure to reference the event, or subject matter which is in the photo, as this adds a nice thoughtful touch.

Gift giving is not just about going to a store and buying whatever is the latest and greatest item on the market. With a little bit of thought and frugality, you can discover a wide range of low cost gifts which are meaningful and special.

About the Author:
This article was contributed by Liz from SimpleItalianCooking.com, a website which features Italian recipes, and kitchenware reviews for items such as slicers for food and grinders for meat. Having grown up in an Italian family of 7, she now enjoys writing and studying topics related to cooking, and family life.