Keep Holiday Spending Under Control: 10 Great Gifts for Under $20

Keep Holiday Spending Under Control: 10 Great Gifts for Under

There’s nothing like the shock of post-Christmas credit card statements to bring your stress level to an all time high. Each year consumers pay the price of Holiday overspending with high credit card balances and their ensuing negative effects on their credit score.

Is it really necessary to go into debt to please the people on your gift list? Christmas shopping on a budget doesn’t necessarily rob you of the holiday spirit. In fact, with a little creativity you can find the perfect gift without breaking the bank.

Bargain Books – Shop online at closeout book sellers to find books at 30 to 70% off retail. and offer a great selection of discounted books with reasonable shipping charges. Remember that if you choose their standard shipping (Media Mail) option it can several weeks to receive your order, so be sure to shop in advance. I guarantee that your friends and family members will be happy and impressed by the coffee table book that you only spent on.

Flavored Cooking Oil – Visit your local dollar store to find plain corked bottles in interesting shapes. Fill the bottle halfway olive oil, then add flavorful herbs like Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Oregano and Parsley. Add a few peppercorns for decoration then fill the rest of the bottle with oil. Seal the bottle and decorate with ribbon. These economical gifts enhance the flavor of many dishes and look great on a kitchen shelf.

Find Discounted Gift Cards on Ebay – Thousands of gift cards for major retailers and restaurant chains are auctioned off on Ebay for a fraction of their value. Ebay has its own “Gift Certificate Portal” located here: Before you purchase a gift card on Ebay, examine the card’s expiration dates, valid locations, and usage restrictions. Additionally, You should always check the Seller’s feedback rating before completing your purchase.

Family Fun – The holidays are a time for families and friends to spend time together. Board games are a traditional family gift that never goes out of style. Don’t forget to buy a few packs of classic card games like Uno and Old Maid to use as stocking stuffers for the kids.

Create Your Own Designer Soaps – A few low-priced ingredients and a little of your time and creativity can result in a beautiful and useful present. You will need glycerin soap base, soap molds, coloring, and fragrance oils. 5lbs of glycerin base will make around 50 small soaps. Soap molds are available in a variety of shapes and sizes that range from traditional floral patterns to holiday shapes and even Feng Shui themed molds. This site,, offers many unique but inexpensive molds as well as the other supplies you will need to get started. Fragrances are an optional component as fragrance-free soaps might be especially appreciated by those with allergies. A investment should yield you enough soaps to make gift packages for at least 10 people.

Memories Are Priceless – Gather old family photographs and create a collage or scrapbook. You can’t place a price on memories and your “inexpensive” gift may become a cherished family heirloom.

Coffee & Tea – The Caffeine junkies in your family will appreciate a special gift basket with a decorative mug, gourmet coffee beans or herbals teas.

Yummy Treats – Homemade cookies, brownies or other baked goods are always a welcome gift, made sweeter if you include a book of family recipes. If you aren’t much of a baker, flavored popcorn is another snack your family members will appreciate. Search the web for “flavored popcorn recipes” to find easy instructions for making traditional popcorn flavors like cheese or caramel as well as exotic varieties.

Digital Photo Gifts – A lot of retailers like Walgreens and Wal-Mart now offer gift creation services in their Photo Centers. Each company offers different items ranging from personalized calendars and coffee mugs to photo stickers for kids. A majority of the items available cost less than .

Jaime Hershman is a Certified Credit Consultant and the founder of Aurora Consulting, Credit Solutions. Visit for more budgeting tips and information on how to build good credit, raise your credit scores, and stay debt free.