10 surprisingly thoughtful gifts for £5 and under
A great gift doesn't have to cost the earth. Here's our pick of the pressies that'll put a smile on someone's face – all for less than a fiver!
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!
10 cheap gift ideas
A framed photo
Got a photo that you think your friend would love? Maybe it's of the two of you enjoying some classics bants together. Or maybe you're super vain and it's just a shot of you looking great. Either way, a framed photo can be 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.
In terms of the frame, we're not currently aware of a (legal) way to get a new one for free. However, you can make your own for almost nothing! The video below will show you how in a few easy steps. 🙂
Alternatively, if you're not so handy with the old arts and crafts, check out the selection over at Wilko (some are as little 90p!), or this neat double-sided number from Ikea (£1). If possible, go for click and collect to avoid postage charges!
The key to buying a good gift is making sure that they'll actually use it. And in the middle of winter, you can bet your bottom dollar that whoever you're buying 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 as 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.
The poster for their favourite film
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 on Amazon 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 (£1.30 P&P), with excellent customer reviews across the board!
A jar of their favourite sweets
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 easily 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 could already have in the fridge (wash it out first though!).
If you don't have a jar going spare, Wilko do plenty of glass offerings 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.
A personalised coaster
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 get in under that £5 mark.
A 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, if not more so!
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 £3 recipe for 40+ chocolate truffles, or our guide to making chocolate fondant buns (the recipe costs £8, but you can scale it down since this is only for one person!).
And hey, even if you're not the Star Baker™, it's the thought that counts... right?
Make them a bath bomb
Believe it or not, making your own bath bomb is actually incredibly easy. No, really! All you need is some bicarbonate of soda, a bit of citric acid and a dash of some scented oil (total cost £4.25 when bought from Wilko, with free P&P if you do click and collect).
Mix 500g of the bicarb in a bowl with 100g of the acid. Then add a couple (and we mean a couple – this stuff can be pretty potent!) of drops of the oil and combine it all quickly. If you've got some food colouring knocking around the house, feel free to add a tiny bit of that too.
Gradually pour in a few little splashes of water until you've got a squidgy mixture and then form it into shapes – you could use a cookie cutter or ice cube tray for this bit.
Turn the bombs out, leave them to set and then wrap in plastic or tissue paper, or pack in a nice box. Just make sure you keep them dry until needed!
A chalkboard mug
Admittedly you run the risk of accidentally scratching your nails and creating the worst sound known to man, but other than that, a chalkboard mug is a great idea!
This chalkboard mug is comfortably under £5, and best of all, it comes with chalk included! After all, you don't want to be like the person who gets you a battery-powered gift, and doesn't supply any batteries.
When the mug has been delivered, what you do with it is up to you – you can either leave your friend to decorate it themselves, or you can write a little message on there for them to see when they open it.
A reusable coffee cup
Do your bit for the planet and buy your mate a useful pressie this Crimbo. This one really is killing two birds with one stone!
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. Double-whammy!
Still looking to shave a few pennies off the cost of your gift? It's always worth double checking to see if a retailer has a student discount, or even checking out our freebie section to see if you could get some or all of the present for nothing at all!