In this world of hustle and bustle, it’s easy to miss opportunities to celebrate our friends and loved ones. While birthdays don’t have any magical power other than to signify that we are older, why not take the opportunity to celebrate!
Hunting for the perfect gift can almost be too much pressure; it’s important to remember who the receiver is. What you may like (say, a surprise party), might be their worst possible scenario.
The majority of my friends and family have birthdays over the summer. While my budget is slim this year, I’m trying to think ahead so I can be more intentional with my gift giving. Honestly, sometimes the intentional gift is more meaningful than dropping a few hundred bucks.
Whether for a birthday, anniversary, mother’s/father’s day, baby or bridal shower, or a just because, here are 5 Low-Budget Gift Ideas for any occasion:
1. Be Available and Present
Reach out to plan a time to hang out with just the two of you or a group gathering. Perhaps meet at your favorite restaurant or have them over to your house. Leave the phone in your purse or pocket and look them in the eye. Ask them how they are. With technology nagging for our attention, it’s rare to get the opportunity for undistracted conversation. Want them to feel seen and loved? Be present. Be available.
2. Act of Service
Did you ever give a “free coupon booklet” as a kid? As you flipped through you’d see free hug, free back rub, free carwash. Man, those were the days!
Something that you’re good at may not seem like a big deal to you, but a huge deal to your friend. For instance, my husband is really good at detailing cars so he’ll wash his friends’ cars for them for their birthday. A few other ideas: making them their favorite meal, babysitting their kids (slam dunk here, people!), gifting them your homegrown vegetables, mowing their lawn, or painting them a picture. If you live with the receiver – like your roommate, parent/kids, or spouse – the possibilities are endless! Get creative!
3. A Heartfelt Note
I was more intentional with this when I was dating Mike, but now our main written communication is through text message or actual conversation. How often do we take the opportunity to encourage our loved ones? What are some areas you have seen them grow in or that you admire in them? How do they make the people around them better? What are you best memories with them? How can you build them up? It doesn’t have to be a long note.
You can pick up a greeting card from the store, or grab a piece of card stock and make your own. I like finding a general bundle of blank cards (like these) so I can use them for any occasion.
This category is all my dad asks for these days: a bottle of wine or good chocolate. It’s practical and personal, especially if you know their favorites. My go-to is their favorite beverage, like a bottle of wine or a 6-pack of their favorite beer. Let’s be honest: if you’re a pop drinker, a McDonald’s fountain drink is a sweet nectar and if you show up to my door with one, I will hug you. If you’re stumped, check out your local bakery, brewery, candy shop, or farmers market – or make it yourself!
5. Collaborate on a Gift
We do this a lot for weddings or baby shower gifts! If you know there’s something they really want, ask a few friends if they want to go in on a gift; strength in numbers!
A few friends and I planned a little surprise baby sprinkle for a dear friend of ours earlier this year. We really wanted to bless them, so everyone brought snacks to share and we went in on a gift card for them. Collaborating allowed us to go above and beyond what any of us could do on our own!
What are some of your go-to low-budget gift giving ideas?