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Gift Ideas

10 surprisingly thoughtful gifts for £5 and under

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

wrapped present

Credit: Efetova Anna – Shutterstock

Need a budget birthday gift or scouting for super-cheap Secret Santa buys?

We know – 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 rattled our brains to come up with gifts that can be had for £5 or less – light on pennies, packed with love and all brilliant bargains. Read on!

If you're prepping for a birthday in amongst the Christmas madness, make sure you check out this list of birthday freebies that could be up for grabs.

Best cheap gift ideas

These are the best cheap birthday gifts and Christmas presents:

  1. A framed photo or quote

    framed photos on wall

    Credit: SUN-FLOWER - Shutterstock

    Got a photo that you think your friend would love? Maybe it's of the two of you enjoying some classic bants together. Or maybe it's an #inspirationalquote you know they live by. Either way, a framed photo or quote can be a really touching (and really cheap) gift.

    Photo prints (and we mean real photo prints, not just something out of your printer at home) can be expensive, but if you exploit the free introductory offers available at most places, they can be... well, 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 like these ones from Wilko (some cost as little 90p!) and, if possible during the coronavirus pandemic, go for click and collect to avoid postage charges.

  2. Touchscreen gloves

    touchscreen gloves

    Credit: Romain Zaiets - Shutterstock

    The key to buying a good gift is making sure that they'll actually use it. Fortunately, if you're buying a present in the middle of winter, you can bet your bottom dollar that whoever you're getting a gift for will need gloves.

    But wait, these aren't just any old 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 all over the place, but few shops sell as many different styles for under £5 than Amazon.

    What's more, if the item 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, get a free six-month trial.

  3. A poster for their favourite film

    old movie posters

    Credit: Oxy_gen - Shutterstock

    If you know them well enough to be able to name their favourite film, this is about as good a gift as you can get for under a fiver.

    As you'd expect when you're working to this kind of budget, the selection can be tad erratic. You might not be able to find the film you're after, or you might have to settle for an A4 print rather than a larger poster.

    However, the selection available on both Amazon and Etsy is pretty impressive and there are plenty of fairly sizeable posters for less than £5.

    If you don't mind sticking to A4, we found this Amazon seller to have a ton of classic posters going for £3.49 (£1.40 P&P), with excellent customer reviews across the board.

  4. A jar of their favourite sweets

    jar of sweets

    Credit: Pao Laroid – Shutterstock

    Everybody likes at least one type of sweet or chocolate. And if the person you're buying a gift for doesn't like any sweet treats, don't worry about buying them a present – they don't deserve it.

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

    Say their favourite sweets are Wine Gums (solid choice) – you can buy a large-ish bag for less than £2. 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 may already have in the fridge (wash it out first though). Or, if you don't have a jar going spare, Wilko sells plenty of glass containers for under £2, most of which wouldn't look out of place in a trendy cafe.

    For added bonus points, try tying a piece of ribbon or string around the lid, maybe even fixing a rogue piece of fabric over the lid in the process. So rustic chic, and the absolute dictionary definition of a cheap but thoughtful gift.

  5. A personalised coaster

    cup coasters

    Credit: Levenchenko Hanna - Shutterstock

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

    That's why God invented coasters – and if you so wish, you can give your loved one their very own personalised placemats.

    The good people at Tesco Photo sell a single glass coaster for just £5. They can be delivered to your local Tesco free of charge, and once you've got them, you just need to slot in your photo(s) of choice.

    If you've got a decent printer at home you could probably get away with just producing the pictures yourself, but if you prefer the professional look, our guide to free photo printing is your friend once again.

    Just remember that if you're paying for the delivery of your prints, you might have to settle for just one coaster in order to keep to that £5 mark.

  6. A scented candle

    scented candle

    Despite what your wannabe-lad friends might try to tell you, everybody likes scented candles. How can you not? Disliking them is the nasal equivalent of not wanting to eat food that tastes nice because it tastes nice.

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

    To get free delivery and stay within budget, here's your periodic reminder to get a free Amazon Prime trial.

    Don't fancy Amazon's offerings? Ikea's scented candles are just as affordable (they start at £1!), if not more so, while Etsy 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 (and when we say 'future', we mean in like, 200 years, or however old she is)? Why not bake your friend a special something, and give them the most unique gift they'll ever get?

    There are plenty of delicious treats that aren't just easy to make, but cheap too. Take for instance our recipe for 40+ chocolate truffles which costs less than £2, or our guide to making chocolate fondant buns which costs just over 20p per cake.

    And hey, even if you're not the Star Baker™, it's the thought that counts... right?

  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, you could add a little personalised note on the back page telling them how much you adore them (n'awww) or a little inside joke that you've shared. And if you're a dab-hand with a pencil, you could even do a little drawing.

    Waterstones do a super cute selection of notebooks for under £5 (including a few that come in packs of two – ideal for killing three birds with one stone), while Etsy also has a wide selection, many of which are made out of recycled paper – that's two good deeds in one!

  9. A grown-your-own kit

    plant pots from above

    This is a perfect one to brighten up any uni bedroom, or inspire somebody to start growing their own food at home.

    Now, 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 fave flower (or herb, if they're a bit of a foodie).

    Alternatively, you can pop down to your local garden centre and buy the seeds over the counter and grab a plant pot at the same time (or order one online).

  10. A reusable coffee cup

    reusable coffee cup

    Credit: Bogdan Sonjachnyj - Shutterstock

    Do your bit for the planet and buy your mate a useful pressie. Without giving you a lecture, disposable coffee cups often end up in our oceans and, according to the Environmental Audit Committee, we use seven million disposable cups a day in the UK alone(!!).

    To give people a little nudge down the path of wisdom and prosperity, coffee shops generally give a discount of up to 50p on your cuppa if you bring your own cup. Couple that up with the fact that there are lots of designs to choose from for under £5 on Amazon and it's a true double-whammy.

Know somebody who's graduating soon? Our guide to the best graduation gifts will help you find the ideal present for them.


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