For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

Gift Ideas

10 surprisingly thoughtful gifts for £5 or less

To support our site, we may use links which earn us a commission at no extra cost to you.

Buying a great gift doesn't have to break the bank. Here's our pick of some thoughtful gifts that'll put a smile on anyone's face – all for less than a fiver.

person holding wrapped present

Credit: Efetova Anna – Shutterstock

Need a budget birthday gift or scouting for Secret Santa gifts under £5?

Your nearest and dearest are undoubtedly deserving of all the love, affection and gifts you have to offer. But sometimes, your bank balance just won't stretch far enough to match your enthusiasm.

You don't have to buy gifts with eye-watering price tags to show you care. We've come up with some cheap gift ideas for £5 or less – light on pennies, packed with love and all brilliant bargains.

If getting wrapping paper, avoid any that contains plastic as it could end up in a landfill. Wrapping presents with brown or recyclable paper looks great, especially when sealed with brown paper tape or twine. Or go for reusable gift bags – an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Best cheap gift ideas

These are the best cheap birthday gifts and Christmas presents:

  1. A framed photo or quote

    Got a photo you think your friend would love? Maybe it's one of the two of you. Or maybe it's an inspirational quote you know they live by. Either way, a framed photo or quote can be a really thoughtful (and low-cost) gift.

    Photo prints – real photo prints, not just ones from your printer at home – can be expensive. But, if you make the most of introductory offers, they can be free (plus P&P). Check out our guide to printing your photos for free for the best deals.

    And the finishing touch: the frame. We'd recommend something simple but classy. Dunelm has some good options. At the time of writing, some cost as little as £1.

  2. Touchscreen gloves

    hands in touchscreen gloves touching phones

    Credit: Romain Zaiets - Shutterstock

    The key to buying a good gift is making sure it will actually be used. Fortunately, gloves are bound to be helpful (especially if you're giving the present to someone in winter!).

    But these aren't just any gloves. These are gloves that can work with touchscreen phones. Finally, you no longer have to choose between skipping the track or not getting frostbite.

    Touchscreen gloves are available to buy in loads of online stores, such as Amazon and Etsy.

    What's more, if the item on Amazon is eligible for Prime delivery and you have a Prime account, you can get it sent for free. If you don't have Amazon Prime, try the free six-month trial.

  3. A poster for their favourite film

    If you know their favourite film, a relevant poster is one of the best gifts under £5 you can get them.

    As you'd expect when you're working with this kind of budget, the selection can be limited. You might not be able to find the film you're after or you might have to settle for an A4 print.

    However, the selection available on both Amazon and Etsy is pretty impressive. You can usually find some for less than £5.

  4. A jar of their favourite sweets

    jar of sweets

    Credit: Pao Laroid – Shutterstock

    Everybody likes at least one type of sweet or chocolate, making this a perfect cheap but thoughtful gift.

    The beauty of this gift is that you're essentially upcycling and putting a markup on something that's usually fairly cheap and easily purchased anyway.

    Say their favourite sweets are Wine Gums (a solid choice) – you can buy a large-ish bag for around £1 – £3. This should be more than enough, and could even leave you with a few to snack on yourself.

    All you have to do is put the sweets in a jar, which you might already have in the fridge (wash it out first though). If you don't have a spare jar, Dunelm sells some glass containers for under £3. Most of them wouldn't look out of place in a trendy cafe.

    For bonus points, try tying a piece of ribbon or string around the lid, maybe even fixing a piece of fabric over the lid in the process.

  5. A personalised coaster

    Unless you're buying a gift for some kind of desert-dwelling animal, your recipient will need to drink something from time to time. And where there's a drink, there's a cup waiting to leave a ring.

    For a gift that's as practical as it is lovely, why not give your loved one their very own personalised coasters?

    Tesco Photo sells a single glass coaster for £5, and they can be delivered to your local Tesco free of charge.

  6. A scented candle

    scented candle

    Let's face it: everybody likes scented candles. How can you not?

    Many cheap scented candles on Amazon come in the kind of packaging you'd expect to pay twice the price for. The positive reviews often suggest they haven't scrimped on the smell, either.

    To get free delivery and stay within budget, sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial.

    Don't fancy Amazon's offerings? Ikea's scented candles are just as affordable (they start at around £1), if not more so. Etsy also has a typically unique range, although delivery costs may tip you over £5.

  7. Some homemade sweet treats

    Fancy yourself as a future Mary Berry? You could bake your friend a special something and surprise them with one of the best cheap but thoughtful gifts.

    There are plenty of delicious treats that are low-cost and easy to make. For instance, our recipe for 40+ chocolate digestive truffles costs around £2.

    And, even if you're not the best baker, it's the thought that counts.

  8. A notebook with a personalised note

    two notebooks

    Got a budding novelist/poet/songwriter/wordy creative among your friends? Then a notebook could be the ideal gift for them.

    If you want to make it extra special, add a note on the back page telling them how much they mean to you. You could even add a little drawing.

    Waterstones has a cute selection of notebooks for under £5.

    Etsy also has a lot of options, many of which are made out of recycled paper. That's two good deeds in one!

  9. A grow-your-own kit

    A grow-your-own kit is the perfect cheap present to brighten up any uni bedroom or inspire somebody to start growing their own food at home.

    There are two ways you can do this. One option is to buy a grow-your-own kit containing the seeds of your nearest and dearest's favourite fruit, vegetable, herb or flower.

    Sometimes these can be hard to find for less than £5, though. So, another option is to visit your local garden centre and buy the seeds over the counter. You could grab a plant pot at the same time, or order one online.

  10. A reusable coffee cup

    Do your bit for the planet and buy your mate a useful present. Reusable coffee cups are easily one of the best eco-friendly gifts to buy on a budget.

    To give people a little nudge down the path of wisdom and prosperity, coffee shops often give a discount on your drink if you bring your own cup.

    Plus, there are lots of designs to choose from for under £5 on Etsy, making it an ideal gift.

Birthday coming up? See this list of birthday freebies that could be up for grabs.

Tom Allingham

WRITTEN BY Tom Allingham

Tom joined Save the Student in 2017, initially heading up the editorial team before becoming Communications Director. He has appeared as a Student Finance expert on a range of TV and radio stations including the BBC, ITV and Sky, sharing his top tips for saving money and cutting student bills.
Read more


Tweet / Instagram DM / Facebook DM / Email