Cheap But Meaningful Gifts: How To Give Meaningful Gifts At Little To No Cost

Gifting is something we love to do and love others to do, but it does come with its frustrations until you manage to find that right one. The problem plagues most people, ranging from the starry-eyed lover to the fretful parent worrying if a Christmas present would be seen as dated by their children— is certainly one of our biggest concerns.

Amongst all the factors that contribute to this chore of finding the best and most fitting gift to our friends and loved ones, one factor stands out above the rest: Cost.

So how do you gift meaningful gifts that nobody will call you out for being a cheapskate? It’s the thought that matters! We offer a few tips below that works for most occasions.

Cost itself comes with a few other concerns, including factors like time, effort, cash and so on. How can we, then, circumvent these limitations in an easy and overall cost-free manner? Is it even possible?

The answers are surprising! With some creativity and sincerity, these can all be easily solved like a hot knife through butter.

Celebrate Successes

What can be more meaningful than a gesture to show that you truly care for, and acknowledge the (hard-earned) achievements of someone you care about? Taking the time out to learn about their accomplishments, and following up with a really sincere congratulations is one of the surest ways to someone’s heart. As most, if not all of us like to feel important, a little gesture of appreciation will certainly go a long way as positive memories!

Sharing Information, Tips and Life-hacks

Many people believe that information is more valuable when it is spread! By giving, or helping others around you to learn information, it will go a long way in improving their overall well-being, be it finance, health, love, studies-related information, or any other information they may find useful.

Even recommending another person who is able to help the one receiving the “gift” at that moment of his/her life, is something that hardly gets forgotten! Through this you will have the satisfaction of doing a good deed, and someday you may even receive a similar one in return!

It can be a simple life-hack to save a few seconds in that person’s life, or a handy app (cough) to help that person solve issues! Or if the person is quite a gamer, introduce a nice little (free?) game!

Make Good Use Of Your Skills Or Talent

Are you an excellent photographer? Hobbyist musician? Or have cooking skills that even Gordon Ramsay cannot criticize? Put them into good use!

Use those skills, help out a friend on a project or related things that they’re working on! Paint them a wall-painting (or paint their wall), write them a song or just cook up a feast for them (don’t burn their kitchen down though). The sincerity in such gifts is appreciated by most and best of all, you can create memories with them in the process!

Alternatively, you can start a tutorial and teach other people or interested friends a thing or two!

Make A Personalized Photo Album

There are several ways to do it: You can go for the traditional developed prints physical album, a stack of Polaroids (if you have been taking wefies with him/her/them!) or even go digital!

If you prefer the more traditional and physical style, hand-crafted card or folder with developed photos of the funky moments that you have with your friend and family work really well. Get some scrap magazines or scrap paper and let your creative juices flow onto the photo album.

You can go for private photo albums created online, such as Picasa, Google+ or Facebook work just as well! With drag-and-drop features, there is no worrying about inserting an unintended photo which was not meant to be developed, or forgetting to put in a photo that highlights some of the best moments! Better still, having a smartphone with an internet connection is more than enough to get one going – upload away!

Disclaimer: Don’t do this if you are not close to that person receiving the photo album, or if he/she/they may not like it, or it may backfire.

“Read This When” Letters


This is the perfect gift for college students, a lover currently in a long-distance relationship, a member of the family, or even a very close friend who is away from home, to name a few.

Write a series of short letters, separating them in different envelopes and then labelling the envelopes with when they should be read! The content of the letters you write will depend on the relationship you have with your addressee, but here are some great ideas (and causes for encouragement!) to get you inspired:

Read this when:

  • you had a terrible date
  • you failed a test
  • you feel homesick
  • you had a really bad day
  • you lost your favorite pen
  • you lost your phone
  • your dinner is bad
  • you think you are in love
  • …and so on.

Seal each letter and tie the bundle up with a bow, or with any personalised decoration which can let the recipient think of you easily. Put your photo on each… if you’re inclined to such things. Hand-write it for bonus points!

“Remember This” Book

A blank book filled with short written shared memories of things is a fantastic trip down nostalgia lane. It need not be fancy, or, being crafted in a time-and labour-consuming scrapbook format. Some go-to ideas would be inside jokes, short stories, song lyrics, and maybe some funny events or thoughts about people that both of you have encountered in the past! It’s a more or less guaranteed laugh every time it is read, not to mention some tear-jerking potential where homesickness (or someone who’s away from home for quite long) and nostalgia is mushed into one personally crafted memoir.

What If You Really Want To Buy Something For Them?

Expense IQ: Free Expense Manager on Google PlayNow, so far we’ve seen gifts that lean towards exploi- making good use of sentimental value that cost no money, but what about times when you may want to buy something for them? You can look at apps that can help you achieve this, such as Expense IQ, an expense and budget manager that is free from Google Play Store.

Saving Smart

Full-featured expense management apps (like Expense IQ) provides features beyond simple expense tracking. The advantage of Expense IQ is the ability to open as many “accounts” as you want which suits this purpose.

Simply open an “account” (name it anything you want – “Handbag”, “Necklace”, “Video Game” and use that to set aside your money when appropriate into the gifts, and you’d be surprised it takes less effort and time to afford a rather expensive gift for the one who deserves it.

Budgeting Your Expenditures

How does the Budget Planner help you then? Sometimes we spend on unnecessary things, or just were not too aware of how much we over-spend on specific things, especially food, drinks and “cheap” purchases that add up. Set aside a reasonable about of money for each expenditure and try to keep within the limits! It’s easier and more effective than you think, and in no time suddenly you will realize you can save more than you thought you could. Benefit yourself, and be able to afford gifts for the ones that matter!

To encourage saving and good finance habits, Expense IQ is free on Google Play!

Expense IQThis article is brought to you by the team behind Expense IQ, with a goal to improve everybody’s financial awareness and create tools to support that cause. Saving and money managing can be easy and fruitful!
Expense IQ: Free Download on Google Play Store

This article is contributed to by our guest writer Kenneth. Thank you Kenneth! If you would like to contribute an article to our blog, contact us through any of our communication channels!

Handy Apps specializes in developing high value apps for the Android platform. Our line of innovative products includes our latest finance manager app Expense IQ.

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Posted in Apps, Blog, Expense IQ, Finance, Lifestyle

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