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How to Personalize Gifts Without Overspending

Mother’s Day may be approaching, but your gift-giving responsibilities continue year-round. Next up is Father’s Day and graduation season. And then, possibly, you’ll have a string of birthdays and a wedding or two before the winter holiday season arrives.

Without a plan, year-round gift giving can start to feel like a chore. This is especially true when the rest of your life doesn’t leave much time for thoughtful choices. Often, the default solution is to spend more money because that feels like the easiest path.

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Magazine style cover image showing bouquet and text overlay.
Source: Canva.

Fortunately, gifting doesn’t have to be that way. Consider this guide your plan for personalizing gifts affordably. We’ll explore four easy and inexpensive strategies for adding genuine sentiment to your gift choices.

Use your handwriting

Handwriting has become less common in this digital age. Use that to your advantage. A handwritten note is one of the cheapest ways to express your appreciation for someone.

Simply invest in a small pack of decorated cards that have no verbiage on them. Ideally, the pack includes several designs, so you can pull from the collection whether you’re gifting for Mother’s Day, a birthday, or something else. Jot down a few words of sentiment on the card, sign your name, and hand-deliver or mail the note to your special someone.

You can also pair a personalized note with another gift. Maybe you want to deliver blooms, say from BloomsyBox, to Mom this weekend. You have the option to write a printed note to be included with the bouquet. But you could also send a handwritten note separately. The personalized, analog gesture will be appreciated.  

Get crafty

A handmade gift that nods to the giftee’s interests is another easy way to personalize. You don’t have to create something exotic, either. Here are a few examples:

  • For foodies, make a small collection of seasoned nuts in cute glass jars.
  • For beauty enthusiasts, mix up three face and body scrubs from pantry ingredients. Place them in containers pretty enough to sit on the bathroom counter.
  • For fashionistas, you can make custom jewelry with raw crystals and glue-on pendant clamps.
  • For giftees who love their family or pets, customize photo frames with writing and/or decorations on the mats.

Help your giftee get crafty

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it hard to give a handmade gift to those who have high-level crafting and DIY skills. In that case, change your approach. Instead of making a gift, give your crafty loved ones more of the DIY supplies they love. Here are some examples:

  • For scrapbookers, invest in a leatherbound book that’s ready to be filled with the best memories. You can shop Etsy for options that can be embossed on the cover.
  • For sewers, your options include thread snips, marking tools, and sewing kits, which are all available at reasonable prices.
  • For gardening enthusiasts, gift a handpicked selection of seeds, bulbs, and seedlings for your giftee to nurture. You can easily find items to stock a plant gift basket at Target or Lowe’s.  

Put it in a basket

Gift basket with personal care items in bathroom.
Source: DALL-E.

The way you present a gift can make a larger impression than the gift itself. Going back to our gardening-themed gift idea, you could place the collection in a gift bag with tissue. Or, you could buy a cheap basket and some foam pieces from Michael’s to create a beautifully balanced arrangement.

You can create themed baskets for giftees who don’t have any specific interests — such as the workaholics on your life. Try these ideas:

  • Seasonal baskets. In winter, you might gift a collection of hot chocolates and teas plus a mug, and fleece blanket. A spring gift basket could include a writing journal with a floral cover, floral teas, and a floral pillow.
  • Food baskets. Most busy people will appreciate help with dinner. You can provide that help with gift basket containing easy-to-make meal ingredients. Artisan pastas and sauces are great choices.
  • Personal care baskets. Even the friends who don’t have time for personal care can make use of shower steamers and lip balm. A handpicked collection of these is the perfect treat for the women on the go.

Spend less on sentiment

The sentiment of gifting isn’t related to the price tag. It comes from the personal elements you add — whether that’s a handwritten note or your acknowledgment of the giftee’s favorite things. Keep that in mind to turn every gifting opportunity into an affordable and genuine heartfelt gesture that celebrates your special someone.

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