Holiday Gift Guide
Can you believe Christmas is just 2 short weeks away? By now, you have hopefully made a gift giving budget and bought your holiday gifts while sticking to the budget. Personally, we have overspent on Christmas again this year.
If you haven’t gone out and made your purchases yet and are looking for a little inspiration on what to get, here is a list of 15 ideas that a frugal friend (or someone you want to be more frugal) is should enjoy and appreciate.
Disclaimer – This page contains affiliate links (all the Amazon links). In the event of a sale, I will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost for you).
I switched from a standard tri-fold wallet to a simple money clip a couple of years ago. The switch made me realize how much junk I was carrying around in my wallet that I didn’t need. It made me be very selective about the important things that I need to carry at all times. It also limits the amount of cash I will have on hand burning a hole in my pocket.
Aside from those frugal/money conscious/minimalist reasons to switch to a thin/slim wallet, the one I linked also contains an RFID shield. If you are concerned about your credit cards being scanned and stolen, the RFID shield would block the scanners from picking up the information in your credit cards.
Tools – Lowes/Home Depot
In the ~7 years I’ve been a homeowner, my tool collection has grown with every new repair. Having good quality tools has been key to doing some repairs and updates myself, saving money on hiring someone else to do it. Most of my tools are Kobalt (Lowe’s brand) and I have never had an issue with them. Another brand that is trusted and a good price for the average home owner is Ryobi, from Home Depot. A simple cordless drill or ratchet set would find use in a home in no time.
Another reason I love tools as a gift, is it can also foster a new hobby, like wood working. Since my tool collection has grown, I’ve taken on fun weekend projects and built a few things myself. It’s a relatively cheap hobby once you have the tools, and builds confidence to take on more and more challenging home repair projects, saving more money by not hiring someone else to do it.
LED Light Bulbs – Non-Dimmable & Dimmable
There are still folks out there that haven’t switched to LED bulbs. They last a long time and use much less electricity than incandescent bulbs. One of the first things we did when we moved into our home was change every incandescent bulb to an energy saving LED. The cost of a non-dimmable LED bulb is much more reasonable than a few years ago and is a win-win for the person using them; they save money by not replacing bulbs as often and save money on their electricity bills.
For your favorite “techie” that has everything, this solar charger is something they might not have – yet. It takes about 30 hours to fully charge (from sunlight), and once fully charged, it can charge most smartphones 5-10 times. It takes about one and a half hours to fully charge a phone from 1-100%. It’s a great gift for someone that enjoys the outdoors, attends a lot of festivals, or would like the extra security of a solid battery backup to keep in a car or purse.
Cord Cutting Gifts – Roku | HD Antenna | Fire TV Stick
I wrote a post about cutting the cord from cable for good (here if you are interested). If you know someone that has been toying the idea, help them in the right direction by getting them a 4K/HD Streaming platform (Roku or Fire TV) or an HD Antenna. We love our cable-less set up and wish someone had given us a push to cut cable a couple of years earlier when we were having trouble with Comcast (we just switched to Verizon instead of cutting cable).
In the same vein, with a handful of more perks, you can give the gift of Amazon Prime. Sure, there’s free 2 day shipping, and that is a great benefit. But now they offer a lot of TV shows and movies that make cable cutting much easier. They have a robust music library that you can listen to for free with the Prime membership. One other huge benefit is the free photo storage and 5GB of cloud storage that you get for “free” with the prime membership. Just be sure to warn them to keep an eye on all of that Amazon Prime spending, so they don’t end up spending nearly $25,000 in a decade like we did.
Right now there is a pretty incredible deal for a new 8gb Kindle Paperwhite, Bluetooth headphones, and 3 months of Audible in a package. If you don’t know, Audible is a subscription that provides hundreds of thousands of audiobooks for download. If you know someone that spends a lot of time on the road, or just loves audio books, this is a pretty great deal that is only available for 2 weeks.
We had a subscription to Audible for several months a couple of years ago. We enjoyed it when we used it, but we just didn’t use it enough to justify the monthly payment. If you had a friend that would get use out of the Kindle or Audible, it would make a great gift, especially if you had some finance books to recommend…
Finance Books – Recommended Books
Does your friend enjoy actually reading books? Check out my recommended books section and pick one of those. If they prefer digital, Kindle versions are usually much cheaper than a physical copy. If you feel like giving them ALL THE BOOKS, try giving them a subscription to Kindle Unlimited. For $10 per month your friend can read all the finance books, magazines and listen to audiobooks to their heart’s content.
Nearly half of the gifts I suggest in this post are used in the kitchen, so they get their own special place. Encouraging your friends to cook at home can be a great way to help them spend less (and maybe save more). Dining out/ordering in was one of the biggest sources of our lifestyle inflation during our mid-20’s, and I’m sure there are people in your life that you can think of that may spend a bit more than they need to on restaurants. Some of these gifts might help them do more home cooked meals.
We received an Instant Pot last year for Christmas and have been using it more and more. I just used it on Wednesday to make this Mongolian Chicken recipe. It’s really nice to be able to cook everything in one pot, cleanup is super easy, and there are TONS of recipes available for free, online to try out.
Popcorn can be a healthy and inexpensive snack if you do it the right way. We have used our air popper in the past to make a quick movie stack with some sprays of apple cider vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. A six count box of bagged popcorn is ~$5. Two pounds of popcorn kernels are $2.50. By the time you have popped your 3rd bag of popcorn kernels, you have paid for the popcorn popper and everything after that is money in the bank.
Composting is a great way to boost your soil, help retain moisture, and keep harmful pests and disease away from your plants. I also think of this gift as a way to help get your friends into doing a bit of their own gardening, this gift can lead to the next gift of gardening tools, plants, seeds, or vegetable garden starter kits. Encouraging your friends to grow their own produce is a great way to save money, help the environment, and foster a great hobby! Here is what the EPA has to say about home composting: EPA.gov.
Oh look, right on time, a home herb kit! It’s another great way to introduce friends and family to growing a bit of their own food at home. Herbs are relatively easy to grow and care for, and are much cheaper than the marked up herbs at grocery stores. It’s just another way you can encourage money saving habits with friends and family.
This is one of my favorite tools in our kitchen. I used it last night to make my split pea and smoked ham soup (you can make it in your Instant Pot). The blender is pretty small and tucks away into cabinets or drawers, so it doesn’t hog counter space. We use it with our soups, sauces and dips. Some have cup attachments, so they can be used as little food processors. I’m sure those could come in handy at times, but I don’t prefer those simply because the cups take up extra space and aren’t useful without the immersion blender.
We love cooking with our cast iron skillet. They are naturally non-stick when properly seasoned and maintained. And it’s awesome to take something off our stove and put it directly into the oven. I’m convinced you could keep a minimalist kitchen and only use a cast iron skillet and an Instant Pot to cook all of your meals. If you need more reasons as to why a cast iron skillet is a great gift, check out this article from The Kitchn.
In all of the years I’ve been married, I can’t think of a time when I wouldn’t have enjoyed receiving Rubbermaid containers. They make keeping and eating leftovers incredibly convenient. My wife in particular is great about putting a portion of dinner away in a Rubbermaid container and taking it with her to work the next day for lunch. These containers help promote eating leftovers simply by making it easier store them. They are also great because they are re-usable, and may be recyclable once they reach the end of their life (depends on what your community accepts).
So that’s my favorite 15 items to give to a friend or family member that are frugal/minimalist. They would also make excellent gifts for that person you know that you think should be a bit more frugal…
I’ve got 4,220 more days and 12 more years of holiday shopping before my retirement accounts hits $1,000,000. Hopefully I stick to my holiday budget those years a bit better than I did this year!
What are some of your favorite frugal-type gifts to give? Leave a comment below and let me know!