Great Gifts That Don’t Cost Any Money

non traditional gift

There is a misconception in our society that to give a really nice gift, you have to spend a lot of money. One of the worst assumptions that is made is that a gift has to be something that is physically unwrapped. This is simply not true and some of the best gifts I have ever received have been ones that didn’t cost the giver any money or was necessarily an object in a wrapped box.

The best gift that you can give takes in into consideration who you are giving the gift to while meeting the needs of the recipient. Using a bit of creativity can create a number of opportunities where you can give great gifts that don’t cost a dime. below you’ll find a number of options to get your creative juices flowing.

Offering Up Your Skills

Do you have a certain skill that your friend or family member covets? Maybe you’re an expert with a sewing machine or you could change the oil in a car without breaking a sweat. If you have a certain skill, why not offer to use it in place of a standard gift? A lot of people would much rather have the opportunity to use your skills free of charge rather than get something in a box. This is a great way for you to help out the recipient without having to spend any money on a gift.

Your Time

One of the best gifts you can give is the gift of spending time with someone else. If you have a friend you haven’t seen for a while, offer to spend the day together. This can be something as simple as having a meal at one of your houses to meeting up at a free event such as a museum or festival. Sometimes making the effort to spend time with someone is far better than any store-bought gift.


Do you speak another language fluently or play an instrument almost as well as a professional? If you have a friend or family member who has been eager to learn, why not teach them? Lessons are usually very expensive and you can save them the money they’d normally spend on lessons by offering to teach them instead. This is a great deal for everyone involved.

Pet Care

Pet care can be expensive, especially when someone needs to groom or board a pet. If you have the skill, offering to groom a pet can be a wonderful gift for a pet owner. Another great gift is to pet sit free of charge when the recipient needs to go away for a few days. Neither of these costs you money, but will often be viewed as much more valuable than most gifts that you could actually buy.


Similar to kenneling a dog, hiring a babysitter can become very expensive. If you have a friend or family member who wants to go away for the weekend or even just escape for a few hours for the night, offer the gift of watching their children free of charge. A lot of parents will be way more grateful to receive free childcare than a gift they may not even want or need.

Something You’ve Made

Perhaps your hobby includes knitting or woodworking or creating artwork. While not everyone may appreciate a homemade gift, there are plenty of people who will treasure such a gift for years, especially if it’s tailored specifically toward them. Instead of worrying about spending money on a gift, you can make something instead. Not only is this a great way to not spend money on a gift, but it shows that you put a lot of time and thought into the gift as well.

Yard Work or House Repairs

A lot of people often put off doing yard work or repairing their house either due to lack of money or lack of time. If you’re handy around the house or don’t mind spending an afternoon raking leaves, shoveling snow, or repainting walls, you could consider offering up your time. This is definitely more work than simply buying something in the store, but it’s a thoughtful gift that your recipient will most likely appreciate.

Home Cooked Meal

There are very few people who don’t enjoy a home cooked meal, so this could be another great gift that doesn’t cost anything. If you already have the ingredients in your pantry, just whip together a meal or a dessert in place of a traditional gift. Or, if you have a friend or family member who rarely cooks, offer to make a freezer full of meals for them in place of a gift.

Plant Cuttings

If you have a garden, why not give a couple of plant cuttings as a gift. This may g over especially well if the recipient of your gift is also a gardening enthusiast. You’ll most likely have extra dirt and pots for the cutting, so all you have to do is transfer the cutting from the ground. This is not only a unique gift, but also a thoughtful one that won’t cost you any money.

Loaning Items

Do you have a beach house or ski cabin you like to use every year? Or maybe you have some luxury vehicles like a sailboat or snowmobile. Have you thought about offering these up as a gift? A lot of people would find it difficult to refuse a free stay in a beach house, for instance. Allowing your friends or family members to temporarily use your vacation house would not only go over very well for them, but wouldn’t cost you all that much money. Besides, if you’re not planning on using it for the entirety of the season, why not offer it up for their use?

(Photo courtesy of asenat29)

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8 Responses to Great Gifts That Don’t Cost Any Money

  1. Usually every Christmas I will give my neighbors some home cooked meal. And I know they are happy in receiving my simple gift for them.

  2. Mrs. M180 says:

    I strongly doubt anyone who doesn’t have $5 for a thoughtful gift will have a beach house up for grabs!

    I have some additional ideas to contribute.

    First, if you’re in a position that does not allow even token gift spending, be honest about that. There are too many familial variables to give a blanket route to do so, but as an example, you can talk to your spouse about your financial situation and agree to get creative about gift giving, or simply agree to not participate for one year. Keep in mind that the season is about being close to your loved ones, not about bolstering Wal-Mart’s bottom line, and do whatever feels appropriate.

    If you have a few dollars to spare, the holiday season is a GREAT time for couponing! Put together food or candy baskets for free or close to it with minimal effort on your part. You may also have opportunities near home to volunteer a few hours of your time in exchange for food or small gift items.

    Host dinner, even if you have limited funding and need others to contribute the food items. If you can’t, volunteer to help cook the dinner or clean up.

    Give the gift of a hand written, personal, loving holiday card, delivered by hand by a postal worker. Handwritten letters are rare and touching to the recipient, and so small in cost.

  3. Petunia 100 says:

    Does this mean you will not be giving me a free month at your beach house?

  4. paul says:

    This is a simple post. When these tips are incorporated with other money saving habits, they add up. Little things add up, so everyone should use these tips, and with the money they save, put it right into your savings account. Also, just the point that you are going to actually put these thoughts into action, will help to transform your mind subconsciously into thinking more towards saving money regularly.

  5. L. showalter says:

    Everyone from the newspaper person to the UPS man likes to be remembered at the Holidays! I put aside money just for these hard working people each year, and it always brings a smile! there is something for everyone, even if it a box of sale candy!

  6. L. showalter says:

    Remembering the post man to the UPS person each year brings a smile! Anything from a sale box of candy to a pair of gloves is always appreciated!

  7. Mary says:

    Home made gifts are truly the best, especially when its obvious some thought and time went into the end product. I’m going to try the ‘meal’ one this year with my mother, who lives alone and cooks for herself every night, trying to eat nutritionally.

    My daughters loved best the Christmas I made them recipe boxes. I put all the ‘family’ recipes they grew up eating on colored index cards and decorated an index card box that I bought at the dollar store. I made sure to indicate when the recipe was one from a Grandmother or Aunt. To personalize it even more, I put inspirational quotes and personal notes on index cards and placed them throughout the box.

  8. michele says:

    People seem to have forgotten what Christmas is really about. It is not about black friday or cyber monday there is a reason for the season for all to get together and celebrate the birth of christ.And it is always better to give than to recieve. Get your family or your girls friends go sing carrolls at the nursing home or take in a homeless family for aday of cooking and just enjoying the simple things in life. So to everyone its not about buying its about giving giving of yourself Merry Christmas to all.

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