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5 More Budget-Friendly Gifts

Looking for distinctive, yet affordable gift ideas? We've got five more economical options.

By A Little Birdie | Posted on February 15, 2018 in Gift Ideas, Gifting on a Budget


Compared with modern editions, vintage books often have beautiful illustrations and a more accessible price tag.

Compared with modern editions, vintage books often have beautiful illustrations and a more accessible price tag.
© Little Birdie Me

Here at Little Birdie Me, we’re of the belief that, for most folks, the most meaningful and special gifts they have ever received likely have nothing to do with their resale value. Perhaps it’s that lumpy clay sculpture your child made for you in third grade? Or that quilt your mom sewed for you? Or, perhaps it was the beautiful fountain pen you were given when someone really paid attention to what you loved doing (letter writing!) and surprised you with something you hadn’t even dreamed of asking for?

Needless to say, it never feels nice to receive something when the giver makes it clear that the gift was an obligation, a burden, or where the giver clearly pinched pennies, not because they had to (an entirely understandable reason), but because they didn’t really care – yes, we’re talking about that shirt/candle/book that was obviously re-gifted. With a little bit of ingenuity and forethought though, it’s easy to give meaningfully and economically, making the whole experience more joyful while upholding true spirit of gift giving.

We’ve posted previously on the subject of budget-friendly gifts, but here are five more to add to that list:

  1. VINTAGE BOOKS. We’re not talking first editions of classic novels here – some of those go for thousands, even tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, there are a lot of wonderful hardcover, clothbound books available through the likes of AbeBooks, eBay or discoverable through Bookfinder - lovely volumes available at a fraction of the cost of buying a newer edition, often costing $20 or less. For children, a copy of the 1921 edition of Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book, replete with gorgeous illustrations by Frank Godwin, might be just the thing. For adults, some might get a kick out of a vintage edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette or, if they like to entertain, an old school book of party games. Early hobby-related books can be fun too, from cocktail-making books, to sewing, or golf books – for example, The Golf Clinic, authored by six golf greats, including Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen. And, don’t forget vintage cookbooks. They’re a little unique in our eyes because, unlike most other books where notations from a previous owner are typically undesirable, there is often something wonderful about inheriting the notes of cooks-who-have-gone-before-us.

  2. UNDEROOS. So, many of us had Underoos as children – but did you know that they make them for adults too? Know a Wonder Woman or Superman who could do with a chuckle and new set of undergarments? As at writing, we’re seeing sets available on the Underoos site costing $24.99, but priceless for their ability to get a grin and a flashback to childhood.

  3. TINS. We came across these great little tins by MagnaKoys and have ordered them more than once as we use them to protect and/or store all sorts of small things – most notably to keep our earphones neat and tidy and to keep our gum from getting squashed in our handbag. Giving the gift of organization, or solving small annoyances (like squashed and sweaty gum) is part of the thought behind a gift like this. Aside from gum and earphones, we’ve found the tins to be handy as BAND-AID holders too – really the possibilities are endless when you tally up all the small bits and bobs one often carries about on a daily basis or when traveling. If you decide to go this route, we suggest filling each tin with a little something (even if it’s not something that will permanently reside there), like gum or some humorous BAND-AIDs by Accoutrements. Eminently affordable but handy things might include: a small tape measure, a tiny LED light, a mini box cutter, a USB stick, mini Sharpies, matches, or lip balm.

  4. A TASTING SPOON. A beautiful wooden tasting spoon from Earlywood plus recipe(s) could be just the ticket. As at the time of writing, the spoon itself is $18 and we priced out the cheapest shipping to MA which came to $3.61 for a total of $21.61. We’ve ordered from Earlywood before (their “trifecta” - three gorgeous, pan-friendly utensils) and were super-impressed, as was our gift recipient, so much so that she ordered additional utensils for herself. Wooden tasting spoons tend to be especially handy for winter meals – we recommend Anna Nanni’s “Ragù alla Bolognese” as published in Saveur magazine as an ideal such recipe. If you have a little bit of cash to spare after splashing out on the spoon, pair it and the ragù recipe with a bottle of red wine suitable for cooking. A nice cooking wine shouldn’t set you back more than additional $8-10 and, as it’s one of the ingredients called for in the recipe, it makes for a good companion gift here.

  5. RIEDEL OUVERTURE WINE GLASSES. Riedel is one of the most renowned wine glass makers in the world. That said, they have applied their expertise not just to high-flying, exorbitantly expensive glasses, but to the accessible and the affordable as well. In their own words, their Ouverture line is an, “entry-level series for customers who appreciate good, reasonably priced wine.” The glasses are crafted to be “dishwasher proof” and are machine-blown in Bavaria, Germany in lead-free crystal. As we are writing, a pair of Riedel’s Ouverture white wine glasses are going for just under $20 on Amazon, a lovely gift wethinks for a wine lover, be it for newly minted wine lovers or more experienced wine drinkers who could do with a pair of dishwasher safe glasses for casual enjoyment.

We hope that one or more of these ideas might fit the bill for your recipient. Stay tuned too – we’ll keep adding ideas for gifting on a budget as we think of them. And, of course, if you have any ideas you’d like to share with the community, please do comment below!

Tags: gifts for her, gifts for him, gifts suitable for anyone, on a shoestring, smart shopping

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