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Spend Carefully

Seven Thoughtful Christmas Gift Ideas on a Budget

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2020-12-15 00:00

Estimated reading time
 6 min

In this article

  • A guide to awesome gifts for less
  • How to give without blowing the budget

Our smart gift-giving guide offers a wealth of tips and tricks to help you give awesome gifts for less, so you can shower loved ones with goodies without blowing the budget. Merry Christmas, good looking.

1. The gift of yum

You know the saying: the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. This is especially true at Christmas, when people allow themselves to indulge. Better yet, making edible gifts is a brilliant way to save. Festive cookies, infused oils, hot chocolate mix in novelty mugs, homemade hot sauce… These tantalising gift ideas aren’t only cheap – they’re actually thoughtful. Win, win.

2. Go forth and propagate

Learning how to propagate plants from cuttings is a thrifty skill at any time of year. But during the December drain, it’s absolutely priceless. You don’t need practised green thumbs, either. Simply cut a 10cm stem below a robust-looking leaf, dip the cut end in rooting hormone (a specific type of fertiliser), and pop the cutting in a pretty container (with drainage holes) filled with potting mix. Transfer the wee pot to a sealable plastic bag and place it in indirect sunlight until Christmas morning. That’s right – the gift of green really is dirt cheap.

3. Scour op shops, vintage stores and marketplace

Classic novels, vintage crockery, bedazzled cowboy boots… Op shops, vintage stores and the good old marketplace are your ace in the hole when it comes to sourcing unique gifts for a steal. But like anything worth doing, op shopping is worth doing right. Choose a spot with a few choice stores or sellers in close proximity, set aside an hour or two, and embrace the hunt. Vintage gold is rarely strewn on the surface – it’s got to be uncovered. So, roll up those sleeves and get digging.

4. Offer your services as a babysitter

If your friends or family members have recently had kids, they’re possibly sleep-deprived and longing for a peaceful night on their own, with a friend or partner. That’s where you come in. A six-pack of babysitting vouchers, printed on crisp card, gives the gift of sanity. And it only costs you a couple of hours here and there. What could be better?

5. Personalise, personalise, personalise

Let’s face it: everyone loves seeing their name up in lights. Or on a leather keychain. Or velvet cushion. Or organic cotton t-shirt. Even a Christmas keepsake will be loved for years to come. Happily, there are heaps of personalising services out there that will customise items for a veritable bargain – or get crafty and do it yourself.

6. A bespoke guided tour (courtesy of yours truly)

Everyone’s an expert in something. Maybe you’re a wine buff and know the wineries of the verdant Mornington Peninsula like the back of your hand. Or perhaps you’re a Banksy fan, with a robust knowledge of local street art. Memorable gardens, dive bars, the history of a local area, unique shops… whatever your passion, a bespoke tour is the ultimate in thoughtful – and free – gifting. Bonus points for creating a personalised map and popping it in a festive envelope.

7. Eco gifts

Sure, eco gifts help the environment, but they can also aid your bank balance. A reusable metal drinking straw in its own portable case makes a great gift for the perennially thirsty – and it clocks in at around $10. Insulated metal water bottles come in a range of zippy colours and patterns, and can often be found on special. Mini compost bins for your kitchen bench, second-hand glass jars for storing jams and preserves… go eco this Christmas – the world will thank you.

We often get caught up on the price tag of our gifts and forget how good it feels to get something that comes from the heart. So whether it’s a wonky craft or a slightly burnt (and covered in icing) biscuit, it really is the thought that counts this Christmas.

Seven Thoughtful Christmas Gift Ideas on a Budget
Financial Wellbeing Coach

Gift yourself a new budget

To help keep track of where your money’s going and make some room in your budget for the things – and people – you love, plan your spend with the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Program.

Plan your spend



The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.