Gift Ideas for the Frugal
What do you buy for people who hate to spend money? You would think the answer is to get that designer scarf that they would never buy for themselves, but extravagance is not usually the route to a frugal heart. As a cheapskate myself, I can tell you there is nothing I love better than receiving a gift that will help me save money throughout the year. (See also: 25 Gifts You Can Make Today)
I like machines such as the Yogourmet Yogurt Maker ($49.95 on Amazon), the AeroPress espresso maker ($25.95 on Amazon), and the Sodastream seltzer maker ($95.50 on Amazon). I am trying out all of these myself and expect them each to save me several dollars each time I make yogurt, espresso, or seltzer at home instead of buying it at the grocery store or cafe. Other ideas in this vein include a bread machine or a food processor, or for the very lucky giftee, a KitchenAid mixer.
The nice thing about these gifts is that the user doesn't have to worry about whether the gift pays for itself. They get the thrill of saving money without thinking about the initial investment.
Warm Clothing and Wraps
We frugalites are always wondering if we could stand to turn down the thermostat one more degree. That's why I like Jockey thermals. I also like Snuggies, down comforters, and those rice sacks that you can heat up in the microwave and stick in your bed.
For the truly practical frugalista on your list, how about a roll of insulation? Just kidding. Sort of.
Gift Cards and Subscriptions
Inside my hard, frugal exterior is someone who loves a treat as much as the next girl. I feel a lot better about stopping at the coffee or ice cream shop if I can whip out a gift card to pay. Does your cheapskate friend like to play the drugstore game and accumulate Walgreens Register Rewards or CVS ExtraBucks? A gift card for one of those stores is always cherished, because it means your friend will not even have to pay tax out of pocket!
Personally, I am kind of hoping for a subscription to a monthly music service such as $9.99/month Mog Primo plan. Audible subscriptions are also great (and right now you can get $100 off a device if you sign up for a year), and Netflix is a cheapskate's dream.
As with any gift, you should be sure that you don't leave your giftee with an ongoing obligation.
Not a Harry & David basket — that kind of thing makes my cheapness muscles clench up because I know how much they cost. But most frugal people enjoy a basket of delicious items, either handmade or store bought. Most people, really.
Groupons and Other Daily Deals
I won't be giving any daily deal certificates this year because I've found that a lot of recipients don't redeem them, and that stresses me out. But if you have someone really frugal on your list, they'll be sure to redeem the deal. Just make sure it's a certificate for a whole service or item — not $50 toward a $400 product, for example.
Over on my blog Frugalistic Mom, I recently shared these ideas and more money-saving gift items I have reviewed. I received a Yogourmet Yogurt Maker, an AeroPress espresso maker, and a Sodastream from their makers in order to review them.