Best Gifts under $20

Discussion in Seasonal & Holidays started by Zyni • Nov 22, 2014.

  1. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2014
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    There are starting to be lots of posts about gift giving, and I see a lot of stuff about secret Santa, gift limits, making gifts, etc. These are all good discussions, in my opinion. So, let's make a list of great gift ideas that cost $20 or less to add to those. I always like to see what other people think up as I'm trying to think of good gifts that don't cost a lot. Some of the lists I've seen published just leave me shaking my head, so let's come up with some good stuff.

    My favorite gift to give for under $20 is a gift basket I make myself. With an inexpensive basket or other container, you can put a lot of goodies in there, or just a few nicer ones, for that price.
  2. Denis Hard

    Denis HardWell-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    Gifts under $20 . . .

    Books. Who doesn't read books? Lots of books cost less than $20 and since it's a gift you can buy virtually anyone, they could make a great gift and as long as the books look interesting the recipients will not 'care' how much they cost.

    And if those you're getting the gift for [don't mind getting clothing as gifts] . . . I've from time to time seen some really nice T-shirts which cost less than $20.
    #2Nov 26, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  3. ohiotom76

    ohiotom76Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2012
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    You have to be careful with gift baskets though because it's easy to spend too much on the decorations for the basket, that you would have been better off putting towards the gift itself.

    I try to check out the outlet/clearance stores to see if there is some big ticket item that would normally sell for around $60-$80 or more, but they are now getting rid of for $20 or less. Those are kind of no-brainer gifts. I try to make sure that they actually sell for far more than the $20 though regularly, and that the store isn't just grossly inflating the suggested retail price to make the bargains look better.

    For example, if it's a pair of dress pants or dress shoes or a wind breaker jacket from a brand that I know for a fact sell for at least $65+ with coupons, and I am getting one of them for $20, I will snap it up.

    If you are a bit crafty, and have the proper supplies, you can also make custom framed artwork for pretty cheap using clearance frames and scrap matting. Stores like Micheal's and Pat Catan's often have a row of odds & ends frames for dirt cheap. In many cases, these are otherwise pretty expensive mouldings that were cut to custom sizes but didn't get used for some reason or another (they cut it to the wrong size, the customer never picked up the order, etc..."). They will sell these frames off for like $5 or so each, that would have originally cost over $100 as part of a custom framing order. Similarly their framing department may also have a bin of scrap mat boards and foam boards that they sell off for like 50 cents a sheet or so.

    This is where your craftiness comes in. If you know your friends house very well, and what colors would work well in their place, keep an eye out for scrap frames and mat boards that would match their decor. Even better if you can find several of the same frame cut to the same size, so you can make a series of matching artwork. Then look for some inexpensive "art" to frame. Something like dried flowers, maybe old magazine prints or magazine covers, some sort of memorabilia that may mean something to them. Measure everything out to make sure you have enough mat board and foam board (the foam board is for the backing, but in a real pinch you could use cardboard). If you happen to have a Mat Cutter of your own or know someone who does, then go ahead and cut your own custom mats. Otherwise you can take them to a frame shop and they will often cut the mats for you for about $2 per window. They may also charge $1 per cut for each of the sides - don't try to do the sides yourself because they cannot measure the windows accurately if the sides are cut wrong/crooked.

    For the glass - if the craft store where you got the frames doesn't sell scrap glass, check your local hardware stores. or even hit up a GoodWill store and buy some cheap framed art for like $1 or $2 and steal the glass from it. Glass is relatively easy to cut if you have a glass cutter. You just score the glass with it, then gently bend the glass (with gloves on!) and it will crack cleanly. Your hardware stores will also do this for you for free or dirt cheap sometimes.

    Now to assemble. Since you are doing this on the cheap, there is no need to invest in "archival" products. You can mount the artwork with tape, or pick up all the little framing supplies from your craft store. You will need something to mount the work, the tape or mounting corners, a hanging kit suitable for the size and weight of the finished framed work, , some little nails to hold the artwork into the frame. And to finish it all off and make it look professional - some sheets of brown packing paper and some double stick tape and an exacto knife.

    Align your artwork on the backing board, and center with the mats, then attach the mounting tape or mounting corners to hold it in place. Put the cleaned glass into the frame, then the matted artwork, then secure it with a few nails tapped into the sides of the interior of the frame. Put double stick tape around the back of the frame about 1/8" from the edge of the frame. Cut a sheet of packing paper approximately the size of your frame but a wee bit larger. Carefully lay it over the double stick tape. Then with a ruler and an exacto knife, trim it about 1/8" from the edge of the frame. Attach the mounting kit and you're done!
  4. Nate5


    Nov 26, 2014
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    There is a website called lootcrate that assembles a bunch of quirky and interesting products into one box and sends them to whoever you wish. It's a really interesting concept, and just a few cents under $20. I think this is a terrific idea for your gamer and geeky friends, and you have no idea what to get for them. Let someone decide for you!

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