8 surprisingly thoughtful gifts for £5 and under

A great gift doesn't have to cost the earth: here's our pick of the pressies to put a smile on someone's face – for less than a fiver!
Gifts Under £5Need a budget birthday gift, or scouting for super-cheap Secret Santa buys?

You need our top ten picks of the 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 coming up in the Christmas madness, make sure you check out this list of Birthday freebies that could be up for grabs.

8 great gift ideas for £5 or less

  1. Frame a photo

    Picture FrameThis one can be very sentimental if you find a photo that means something to your recipient (perhaps a photo of them falling over in the street at 4am?) – or stick a few in a frame to make a snazzy collage.

    Photo prints: Get free photo prints (~£2.50 p&p)

    Photo Frame: Try a photo frame from Tesco (£1.50) or this neat double-sider from Ikea (£1) and choose click and collect to avoid postage charges – or make your own for nowt.

    Prefer your pics on the dinky side? Pop a passport-sized photo in a blank keyring (35p with free p&p).

  2. Jar of something they like

    make your own sweetsKnow someone with a sweet tooth? Fill a jar with their favourite sweet as a nice gesture that's guaranteed to put a smile on their face (and their belly).

    Ideally recycle a jar or tin from your kitchen cupboard to save a few quid (soak it in hot water to remove the label), or you can buy a glass jar from places like Home Bargains.

    If you're feeling particularly generous with your time, you could even make some sweets or jams of your own to go inside. If you manage to keep costs down on what goes inside, you can even decorate the jars with some of this stuff to make look pretty as punch!

    Jar: free if you recycle or get four for £2.50 here.

    Sweets: £1+

  3. Scented candle

    make your own candleMaking your own candles is a doddle and, if you've got half-used ones lying around, costs next to nothing.

    Melt any bits of candles you can find down in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, add scented oil of your choice, and even a bit of crayon for colour (optional). Pour the wax into a container – a cute glass, jar or teacup works well.

    Don't forget to place a wick in the centre when you pour, and then leave the wax overnight to harden. You can pick up wicks for around 50p from a craft shop.

    Homemade candle: from 50p, or this spiced candle from Tesco is a berry good alternative (£2).

  4. Make your own bath bombs

    how to make bath bombsCredit: Maryna – Flickr
    ‘Stinkies' and shower sets are gift staples, but they're not that personal. Bath bombs, on the other hand, are fun to use, cheap as chips to make, and you can get everything you need from budget brands.

    Mix 500g of bicarbonate of soda in a bowl with 100g of citric acid. Add a couple of drops of food colouring (optional) and essential oil and combine it all quickly.

    Pour in a little splash of water at a time until you've got a squidgy mixture and then form it into shapes – you could use a baking mould or ice cube tray for this bit. Turn the bombs out, leave them to set and then wrap or pack in a nice box – just make sure you keep them dry until needed!

    Bath bomb ingredients: £4.75 at Wilko's – buy locally to swerve p&p

  5. Reusable grocery bag

    homemade tshirt bagScrunch-and-go shopping bags are incredibly useful: they're better for the planet, plus you get to avoid the carrier bag tax.

    You can even make your own from an old shirt, making them a top-pick for quirky, personalised presents. If you fancy having a go, check this video on turning a t-shirt into a no-sew shopping bag for zero cost – only scissors required!

    You can get ideas – or buy a bag outright if you're not that crafty – over at Etsy.

    Personalised shopping bag: free!

  6. Gambler's luck

    lotteryticketsGot a friend or family member who tends to get lucky with scratchies?

    A fiver's worth of scratchcards or lottery tickets makes for a fun present – if one of them's a winner, you may even get a cut of the dosh. Bonus!

    Scratch cards: £5

  7. Homemade food gifts

    homemade christmas biscuitsCredit: Jennifer Chair – Flickr
    Homemade delicacies are the business when it comes to showing food lovers how much you care. Go for something simple like truffles and they're hard to cack-up, too.

    Otherwise, if you're a bit of a kitchen wiz, whip up a batch of chutney, jam, truffles, cookies or mince pies (recipes readily available on the BBC Good Food website).

    Wrap your foodie gifts in ribbon and finish with a personalised printed gift tag for that extra special touch.

    Chocolate Truffles: £3 for ingredients, leaving a couple of quid for pukka presentation.

  8. Get sewing!

    sewingIf you're a dab hand with a sewing needle, a wardrobe freshener is an easy-win gift from the heart.

    You can make this from any scraps of material you have, or a piece of clothing with a pretty pattern (although note that the stiffer and stronger the material, the easier this will be to keep shape).

    Fold the material in half and draw your desired shape on the top surface. Keeping it folded, cut out your shape so you've got two matching pieces. Sew them together leaving a small opening, then fill with pot pourri.

    Add a loop of ribbon if you're making a hanging freshner – leave it off to make a drawer scent – and sew up the opening. Job done.

    Pot pourri:  £1 from Wilko's
    Ribbon: £1 and up from your local market or craft store

Don't forget to grab a student discount to shave a few pennies off where you can or, if you're organised, make sure you enter these freebie giveaways ahead of time to line-up as treats and stocking fillers. Happy gifting!

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