It’s getting down to the wire for Christmas shopping. If you’re like me, then you still have a few people who you’d like to get something for them, but you don’t have the time (or money) to  you are like me then you might have a few more people you want to give a present, but you’ve run out of brain power to choose something, plus, you need something inexpensive to give.

I’ve got several last-minute gift ideas for you. These are clever and frugal ideas for anyone on your list, without busting your budget with a gift you can’t afford OR settling for a gift card.

I spoke about this topic on my Savings Segment on Fox. Watch the replay video here:
(I’ll add the replay video right here as soon as it’s made available from Fox)

I love thinking outside the box for useful gifts that I can create quickly when it’s down to the wire and I don’t have time to make something (although there are a few of those ideas too… but only the quickest ones!).

Fill a Mason Jar (or Small Basket) with Mini Items

Anything you can get that is teeny tiny is just FUN. And it makes a very easy gift because of its size.. and Office Supplies are an easy place to start.

Mini-notebooks, mini staplers, plus there are clever erasers and shaped paperclips.

Think about items that most people will not buy for themselves, like colored staples.

Be sure to check the “Travel” Section when shopping to find small lotions, and (my personal favorite) hand sanitizers.

Choose items that you might not splurge and get for yourself (because they seem frivolous) but help make life easier when used and the recipient will think of you when they do.

Dollar Store Gift Basket

Christmas is the perfect time to give someone you love an overflowing basket of USEFUL items that can make their life easier or just pamper them a little bit.

Here’s seven different themed gift baskets we created with items you’ll find at the Dollar Store.

Which means that for around $10 (or less), you can give a really thoughtful gift! In the picture above, I was given a cutting board, oven mitt, spatula, flipper, tongs, measuring cups, salt & pepper shakers, electronic timer and plastic basket (I now use as a trash can in my car). Almost every day I have used that spatula and kitchen timer. And every time I think… that was the best gift ever! My kids are the best 🙂

How about a Gardener’s Gift Basket with seeds, garden gloves a couple digging tools and maybe even a kneeling pad?

Or a Picnic Gift Basket with a blanket, paper plates, bowls, cups & utensils. Some freezer ice packs, travel wet wipes, salt & pepper shakers and put it all in a soft sided cooler!

Lastly, what about a Car Care Gift Basket complete with hand sanitizer, travel pack of wet wipes, car wash soap, glass cleaner, paper towels, trash bags and maybe even an air freshener (or Febreeze) all packed inside a trash bin!

Just walk around the Dollar Store and think about a “theme” that would make someone’s life easier, and you’ll have a super useful gift they will love!

Photo Gifts

I used to be a huge scrapbooker, but as my children started growing, my love of taking photos did too. Except now I don’t have any time to put albums together (I figure one day the kids will be out of the house and I’ll have nothing to do except create baby books, right?!).

While I don’t necessarily have any talent in taking photos… I use my phone and I love looking back at them as we remember the event where I took them.

And there’s nothing more fun than reminiscing about the event months later when you see a printed photo sitting on your desk. To make the photo calendar above, simply print the calendar template from this website, add your own photos printed from Walmart directly from your phone in less than an hour (they need to be 4 inches wide), punch a hole in each one (kinda try to line them up) and fold some cardstock into a stand (the simple instructions are on the same site as the download).

The best part about giving a photo gift is that photos are super cheap. If you’re a member of Snapfish you can often get free prints with a coupon code. Walgreens, CVS,  Costco and Sam’s Club all offer discounted photo printing for a quarter or less each print.

You can either have the item made for you (around $10 or less) with items such as a Photo Book, Mug, Calendar or you could print the photo and either add it to a frame that you decorated (bought super cheap at the dollar store) or used it to make a crafty gift like coasters!

Either way, you can bet a photo gift will be cherished long after the Christmas decorations are put away.

Eatable or Crafty Gifts

If you have a lot of people to buy for and want to spend the least amount possible, then your best bet is going to be making something.

Typically these fall into two categories, eatable or crafty.

For eatable gifts, you can make cookies, breads, desserts or what I love to do; get the ingredients and put them in a jar with a fun note telling the recipient what they need to add to make your favorite item (I have done this several times with brownie mix. I layered the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt & chocolate chips and then attached the recipe to the top of the Mason Jar with the Brownie-in-a-Jar recipe (telling them to just add oil & eggs!). I’ve got 6 simply (and cheap) DIY Food Christmas Gifts at the bottom of THIS post.

For a crafty gifts, you will have to go to the craft store for some of the ingredients. But you could make a sugar scrub or this lip balm is easy (& super quick), or soap (I’ve never ventured to make soap, but I hear it’s easy). A few other easy crafts to make and give are homemade slime, crayons, playdough or sidewalk chalk!


Hit the Book Store

Bookstores are hidden with inexpensive gifts for almost anyone.

Watch for interesting deals on earbuds, book lights, bookmarks, book bags, bookends, even novelty t-shirts.

And don’t forget that you can always get someone a magazine subscription. Those gifts last ALL YEAR and they work for any age. My kids still LOVE their Lego magazines that come each month and you might know someone who would enjoy a FREE Magazine subscription. Just buy one magazine at the bookstore to wrap, then fill in their name for the ship to address so they will get it all year! No one will ever even receive a bill! Score!

Think About Useful, Yet Small Items

I like to think of frugal gifts that are useful and clutter free (especially as we head into a new year when everyone typically wants to get organized, right?!).

One easy trick is to think of items that can be used in the car such as USB Car Charges or cords that light up.

Also items that everyone loses or really wishes they had a backup, like a portable phone charger.

Even a new cell phone case, those always make your phone feel like new!!

Dress Up A Discounted Gift Card (or Cash)

I realize that sometimes nothing else will work but a Gift Card!

Hopefully you already know about buying them at a discount where you could get a card for up to 30% less than it’s actually worth (and, yes, you can get an “egiftcard” almost instantly)!

You can even use my Refer-A-Friend link and get $5 Off your first order! That’s how I get $10 Starbucks Gift Cards for less than $4!

Now, moving on to the wrapping… and yes, I have some creative ideas for gift wrap too!

Your Turn Do you have some frugal last minute gift ideas too? Please comment below! I’d love to hear them!

Tight for time this Christmas? Then I\'ve got some seriously great gifts that can be made at the very last minute, cost very little AND you\'ll be excited to give!