Gifts for under 20 bucks...

Ok. Help me out here.

I’m a student. I’m very low on cash right now with tuition having to be paid for the full year now instead of semester by semester (thanks, Mike Harris, you @#&!@#!!. I have to be creative. My summer paying-gigs covered my tuition and my books and my “rent”… but now it’s my mom’s 50th birthday, and I have a budget of about 20 bucks to find her a little something. Any suggestions?

I think I’m going to give her a gift certificate entitling her to one (1) website design for her grade 1 class (which I will design for her) It costs me nothing to offer it, but is a pricey item in its own right.

Any creative ideas?



20 lottery tickets.


Well, it’s an idea…


A house plant? Lasts longer than flowers and all homes are lovlier with plants… You can get indestructable types for the non-green-thumb recipient, or low maintenance…

Beauty for under $20, and oxygen to boot!

I’ve been in that situation before.

  • For my mom, she always appreciated a small amount of some nice chocolate and a card/gift certificate good for some chores, or that I’d cook her a nice meal, or something involving my time/labor rather than my money. With the big winter holidays coming up, maybe an offer to be her kitchen-slave on the big day? Or an offer to keep the relatives out of her hair so she can get stuff done?

  • If she gardens, maybe some bulbs of interesting flowers that she can plant this fall.

  • If you have a CD burner and some time, see if you can hunt down some good music for her on the web and make her a CD of songs that make you think of her? (OK, a little cheezy, but MY mom would dig it!)

  • Is there a crafts or art supply store anywhere nearby? If you have any craft/art skills, you maybe could make her something. Of course, if you don’t have any skills, it could end up looking like something you brought home from Kindergarten.

  • A framed copy of your transcript (or bursar bill), to demonstrate why you’re broke? :wink:


Great suggestions all 'round :slight_smile:

::: has ideas now! ::::

You guys are great!


More suggestions:

See what’s at your local junk… er… antique store. Know of any particular thing from your Mom’s childhood that she’d like to see again? Or if she likes to cook, some of the old cookbooks can be good gifts, and those sometimes you can get for a $1. Most of the Antique Malls will have at least one booth (or sections of booths) that has a section for stuff under $10/$5/$1.

‘Gift’ certificates reedemable for:
[li]One day of you doing chore ‘X’ (insert appropriate chore there)[/li][li]One homecooked meal[/li][li]One dinner out[/li][li]One movie date[/li][li]Etc.[/li]Print them up on nice paper, and voila!

<< I drank what? -Socrates >>

Better still, find an old picture she really likes, one that’s small, have it enlarged and framed, and add a heartfelt poem/letter telling your Mom how much you appreciate all she’s ever done for you.

Worked when I did it for my folks.

I keep bringing this idea up on gift threads because I like the idea so much, but maybe spend $15 - $20 on an adopt-an-animal program? I know you can adopt a bat or an owl through certain agencies, plus your local zoo may have a similar program.

Depends on your mom’s sensibilities, of course.

Does she garden? You might also consider getting one of those “Make your own garden stepping stone” kits and make her a personalized and utterly cool stone.

Along the same lines, someone gave me a garden flag once. I loved it, and it started me on a little garden flag collecting binge that had given me mucho pleasure. They have them now at Target.

An idea that worked for me: I spent $12 on one of those nice wooden jewelry boxes that have frames in the lid, scanned some old baby pictures of me and my brother, made 'em all nicely matched in color (kind of a sepia thing) and then sized 'em to fit the frames. Printed them, inserted them in box, then voila! a nice personal gift that cost me mostly time and not much money.

Here’s an easy thing you can make:

Bath Salts
1 cup epsoms salts ($1.97 at the drug store for big box)
1 cup kosher salt ($2.00 or less at the grocery store)
10 drops of essential oil (try grapefruit or orange - they’re cheap - $5.00 at a health food store)
Mix all ingredients

Place in nice, cheap glass jar you got at World Market for $5.00

Voila! Bath salts. And they really do smell good. I make mine all the time.

** Elenfair **

You may find some ideas on these sites

Tell your Mom happy birthday for us and that we thank her for the gift she gave us, you !

I’ve been broke so often -

Ok, great ideas so far, but some additions:

  1. Any foodstuff treat type thing. YOu’d be surprised how rarely folks will spend the extra buck or two for specialty jams or a fancy pasta.

  2. (this takes time): One of my best ideas has been to write family archival stories. Did it for my brother when he got married (also made up a ‘recipe book’ of family recipes, since our mom had died before then).

  3. Photo arrays - either in a photo book (and if you have scads of time, there’s always the ‘scrapbooking’ phase thing going on), or just a photo collage - with color printers now, you can do one a lot easier and quicker.

  4. Sign her up for some craft class at a local store, community college (or g/c for same) - they’re often only about 15$, and again aren’t the sort of thing folks will think of to spend $$ for themselves.

You could also try one of those pottery making places, if you enjoy that kind of thing. (I do.) For 15 bucks Canadian, I picked out a nice serving tray, painted it, and had them fire it in the kiln. My Mom LOVES getting homemade stuff rather than bought stuff, so I know she’ll appreciate it.
$15 Cdn is like, what, about 8 bucks US? Not bad…