Great gifts that won't break the bank

Giving is synonymous with the holiday season. But in a holiday season where people are still dealing with a sagging and unpredictable economy, giving in a way that won't break the bank is imperative for many thoughtful holiday shoppers.

In response to the economy, many families have set limits on how much family members can spend on holiday gifts. Such budgets are a great idea and can even make holiday shopping more fun as shoppers hunt down the perfect gift without having to worry about how they're going to pay for it. Low-cost holiday gifts come in many shapes and sizes, and the following are a few ideas to help you get started.

Food & Beverage

If you need to find an inexpensive gift for the family foodie, then you're in luck. Plenty of culinary gifts can be had for less than $25. Early risers might appreciate some gourmet coffee beans accompanied by a new coffee mug, while those who prefer tea instead of coffee would no doubt appreciate a variety pack of herbal teas and a new teacup or teapot.

Men and women who embrace mealtime as an opportunity to experience various styles of cuisine would likely love a cookbook filled with recipes from all over the world or a particular country whose cuisine inspires them.

Another great gift for foodies is a membership to a club such as "Pastry of the Month" or "Coffee of the Month." Such gifts cost a little more than thrifty shoppers would care to spend, but there are some deals to be had on such memberships come the holiday season.


The dawn of the digital age has made photography more popular than ever before. Amateur photographers can now take photos with a digital camera or even their cellular phones and post their pictures to the Internet in a matter of seconds.

Though online photo albums are popular, a traditional photo album is a thoughtful and inexpensive gift for a loved one who can't take enough pictures. New parents might also consider giving their youngster's grandparents a photo album filled with photos of the family's newest addition.

Film Fans

Movie buffs are passionate about their favorite films, and feeding that passion can be easy and inexpensive. Many film fans have a favorite director or actor, so why not gift a collection of that director or actor's work? Perhaps thanks to the growing popularity of streaming movies online, DVDs are now more affordable than ever.

Many film fanatics are also interested in the history of the film industry, so a book detailing that history might appeal to your loved ones.

Of course, all film fans generally appreciate a gift certificate to their local multiplex.

Pet Parents

Pet parents are enamored with their furry friends, so a pet-oriented gift is sure to make their holiday season even more special. A new bowl, a flashy new collar or some additional attire aimed at helping their beloved pooch or cat stay warm through the winter months won't cost much, but it's certainly something most pet owners and their pets need.

For the pet parent who seemingly has everything, remember that pets can never have enough toys. Pets tend to play rough, so their toys aren't known for their longevity. Some new pet toys can be had on the cheap, and pet parents will appreciate the gesture.

Rest & Relaxation

Arguably one of the best holiday gifts is one that won't cost shoppers a penny. Offer to babysit a loved one's kids so the adults can enjoy a worry-free night on the town or simply relax at home without the kids.

Another R&R gift is to book a spa trip for you and a loved one. While this won't necessarily qualify as an inexpensive holiday gift, you can often get great deals on spa treatments and other luxurious services when you book for two. And booking such a trip is also a way to reward yourself for surviving another holiday season.