6 Smart Gift Ideas That Will Keep You Out of Debt

If you’re already stressing out over what to buy for whom on your endless holiday gift shopping list, take a deep breath and then look below for some tips and inspiration. Cut down your holiday anxiety, save some money and impress your friends and family with unique, meaningful but smart gift ideas that also show off your creative genius.

1. Hobby Starter Kits

Ever hear your friend or family member sigh and say they always wanted to try oil painting or wood carving or brewing their own beer? Well, this Christmas, you can fulfill their long held wish by putting together a personalized hobby starter kit. Just gather up the basic supplies they´ll need to get the show on the road and arrange it nicely in a gift basket or box.

2. Frequent flier miles or hotel points

Many customer loyalty programs allow the transfer of miles or points as a gift. Even if the number of miles you are gifting isn´t entirely enough for a round trip ticket, it might be just the amount your loved one needs to add to their own collection to get off the ground.

3. Travel Experience

You don’t need to gift miles to get your loved one a memorable travel experience. Give them a gift subscription to a volunteer organization like Workaway or How about a gift membership on a house sitting website like, so they can see what it’s like to live in a house in France or Thailand or Argentina?

4. Make a Donation

Giving money to their favorite charity is always a thoughtful and fulfilling gift. If you want to take it to another level, why not adopt an animal from a zoo in their name? Many zoos in different countries participate in such a program and send regular photos and updates to the adoptive ‘parent’.

5. Monthly Gift Subscriptions


How can anyone resist a new box of chocolate or bottle of wine in the mailbox every month? It´s truly the gift that keeps on giving. Keep your loved one guessing all year long with this fun and affordable gift idea. But these days, chocolates and wines are just the tip of the iceberg–whatever your recipient is devoted to, whether it’s pickles or beauty products or treats for their dog, there’s almost surely a club for it.

6. Get Mixin’

Yes, mixed tapes are still cool, even if it´s actually a CD or just a flashdrive full of mp3s. It´s the thought that counts, not the format–but wouldn´t an actual cassette tape of your friend’s favorite music blow them away? You’d probably also have to buy them a cassette player though. Besides the gift of personalized music, what about painting a t-shirt or apron with fabric paint? Or how about making a book out of that collection of poems they wrote and forgot about?

If you just take a moment and make a quick list of your loved one’s favorite things,and their life goals and dreams, your gift idea will come to you pretty easily and inexpensively. Remember, the spirit of giving comes from the heart, not the wallet.