Throwback Tuesday: 6 Last-Minute Low-Budget Gift Ideas

This time of year can be extra stressful as we try to find gifts for people who are hard to shop for, or we struggle with a tight budget for gifts. Can we give meaningful gifts that won’t cost too much? This week I’m sharing 6 ideas for doing just that. I hope these might inspire you and alleviate some of that last-minute stress!

Snippet from the Show

“When you’re struggling with a low budget, and you want to give people gifts, and you want them to be meaningful, that’s okay! It’s really encouraging to remember that it’s the thought that counts.”


1) Gift of Service

You might offer babysitting or car cleaning or taking on someone’s usual chores. Offer your services in a clear and planned-out way so that it won’t be awkward for the person to take you up on the offer. 

2) Meet a Need

One year I bought my husband lots of pairs of socks for Christmas and he LOVED it. What is a small need that you might be able to meet in a big way to make a great gift for someone?

3) Photo

Photos are an inexpensive but often deeply meaningful gift. Frame an old or new photo that will mean a lot to someone – maybe of them with their kids or of the two of you together. You can find inexpensive but often very nice frames in thrift stores.

4) Framed Print

Consider purchasing a framed print of artwork or a saying that will be meaningful to your gift recipient. Or you can purchase a design download on Etsy for just a few dollars and frame it yourself. Look for a quote or Scripture saying that will be important to the person you are giving it to. 

5) Food

Besides cookies and other treats, are there food items that your person will enjoy? Think about breads, or a frozen meal you might give to a busy person that will be a gift to them in the months ahead. Or is there a specialty coffee or other beverage they would enjoy? Remember to think about the person you are giving the gift to and find something that will let them know you are thinking of them.

6) Letter

Write a letter or even just a short note to someone, letting them know how much you love them, or how grateful you are for them in some specific way. I promise you, the effort you make at writing down your thoughts and feelings will be treasure to them for years to come!

This week I also take on listener Deborah’s question about how to get through the holidays without completely derailing her recent weight loss. If you have ideas to share on this topic or anything that we share in today’s episode, please email me!

Here is a link to the Advent playlist I mention at the start of this week’s show. I hope you will enjoy it!

Embrace Joy is the virtual Advent retreat I’ll be leading beginning December 4. I hope that you will join us (and bring a friend)!

My newest book is one that I wrote with Dan, the Manual for Marriage, a beautiful resource for every couple. In it, Dan and I share reflective essays on marriage and family life, but it also features a large collection of prayers, Scripture passages, hymns, and stories from the saints that will encourage and support you in your married relationship.  

I have received so much feedback from all of you about my newest book and the first chapter that I shared with you at the end of episode 210.  Giving Thanks and Letting Go: Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood is a book in which I share from my heart about the very real changes, challenges, triumphs, and joys of being a mom in an “emptying nest.” You can read that sample chapter at Ave Maria Press. (Use the coupon code BEAN20 to get 20% off your order!)

My book, You Are Enough: What Women of the Bible Teach You About Your Mission and Worthis available for order! Use the code, GIRLFRIENDS to receive ten percent off your order. Don’t miss out on this special available exclusively to listeners of the Girlfriends podcast. 

Have feedback or an idea to share? I would love to hear from you!


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The You’re Worth It! Retreat for Women

Find out more about bringing this unique event for women to your parish, group, or community. Read more and request more information here.

Or find out more about having me come speak at your parish or conference.


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