30 Inexpensive Gifts That Say 'I’m Thinking of You'

The best gifts don’t have to cost a ton—and we’ve got proof.

July 20, 2021
Photo by Otherland

We’re firmly in the camp that gasp-inducing gifts don’t always have to be expensive. Sure, it’s nice to treat family and friends to an extravagant indulgence, but money really can’t buy happiness. That’s why we’ve rounded up 30 inexpensive gift ideas for... well, everyone in your life that barely hit $50.

From Otherland’s beautifully packaged candles to Anthro’s bistro-inspired monogram mug you’ve seen all over Instagram, these 30 gifts prove that it’s really the thought that matters most.

1. Gap Home Blue & White Assorted Plates, Set of 4, $18.97

If the recipient of your gift just moved into a new place, they’ll love a useful gift like dinnerware from Gap Home’s new collection. Bonus points for getting a purposely mismatched set to add to their eclectic collection.

Photo by Walmart

2. Bokksu e-Gift Card, $50

An e-gift card to Bokksu means they can buy a subscription box or choose from delicious Japanese snacks à la carte.

Photo by Bokksu

3. Hu Kitchen Simple Dark Chocolate Bars, 4 Pack, $26

These have been one of our go-to gifts for friends and loved ones for years—especially vegans. Selfishly, once they unwrap the package, we know they’ll happily share a bar with us. Or will they?

Photo by Hu Kitchen

4. Otherland Rattan Candle, $36

Not only does every candle smell like a dream, but they come with a set of matches in a beautiful box—almost like a second gift that costs you nothing.

Photo by Otherland

5. Chef'n Cob Corn Stripper, $7.99

For your friend who loves to cook but hates the prep, this handy corn stripper can help save so much time.

Photo by Amazon

6. Tiled Margot Monogram Mug, $8

If they’ve had their eye on Anthro’s super-popular monogram mug, it’s currently on sale so it’s the perfect inexpensive gift. You might want to buy a few for future gifts—and for yourself, too.

Photo by Anthropologie

7. Roxy the Unisaurus Rex Presents: Oh No! The Talent Show, $10.66

Kids and little ones will love the creative storytelling and bright artwork from NYT bestselling author Eva Chen and illustrator Matthew Rivera.

Photo by Amazon

8. Cavallini & Co. Herbarium Puzzle, $25

If they’ve picked up a major love of puzzles during quarantine, they’ll appreciate a new addition to their collection.

Photo by Terrain

9. Holy Grail Steak Santa Carota Carrot Finished Strip Steak, $39

Indulge them in a huge piece of strip steak from grass- and carrot-fed cows. It’s something they’ll never buy themselves, making it an extra-special treat.

Photo by Holy Grail Steak

10. Grandin Road White Quince Stem, Set of Three, $39.50

For your friend who can’t keep their plant babies alive, this faux statement branch is striking and safe from black thumbs.

Photo by Grandin Road

11. Propagation Bud Vase, $20

Or if they’re total plant parents, they’ll love a little propagation station to grow their collection.

Photo by Terrain

12. Hoya Heart Plant, $14

If your plant-loving friends plan on traveling more (because, who isn’t), a cute little succulent that doesn’t require much maintenance or regular watering will be music to their ears.

Photo by The Sill

13. Five Two Silicone Straws, $25

Silicone straws are easy to wash and carry, making them a cinch to integrate into your eco-conscious friend’s routine.

Photo by Rocky Luten

14. Winc Wine Membership, $29.95

Help them figure out their fave red, white, or rosé with a wine subscription from Winc. You can grab four bottles of top-rated vino for a little under $30 and rest easy knowing that they'll love every sip

Photo by Winc

15. mDesign Natural Marble Wine Bottle Chiller, $26.99

And grab a wine chiller while you’re at it, too—this way, you can help yourself to a glass right after they pop open a bottle. Win-win!

Photo by Amazon

16. Calpak Compakt Tote Bag, $35

For the overpacker, this foldable compact tote can hold anything that doesn’t make it into their suitcase.

Photo by Calpak

17. Drink Monday Inc. Monday Zero Alcohol Gin, $40

For the hostess who has guests that don’t drink alcohol, this alcohol-free gin is a thoughtful—and delicious—gift.

Photo by Rocky Luten

18. Glow Recipe Mini Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask, $22

Packed with radiance-boosting watermelon, moisture-packed hyaluronic acid, and exfoliating AHAs, your skincare-loving friends will love this overnight mask that epitomizes beauty sleep.

Photo by Sephora

19. Crayola Colossal Creativity Tub, 90 Pieces, $19.97

If your friend has little ones, they’ll love this overloaded package of arts and craft supplies. Everything can be stashed in the bucket for easy clean-up, too.

Photo by Walmart

20. Kate Aspen Trinket Dish, $6.62

You can never have too many catch-all trays, and this one is particularly sweet. It’s also super affordable, which means you can grab a few and make it your signature gift during wedding season.

Photo by Amazon

21. Gap Home Reversible Comforter Set, $44.98+

Gap Home has really comfy bedding at reasonable prices, like this reversible comforter set. It’s the perfect look—and price—for a dorm, first apartment, or even guest room. Choose between a handful of neutral colors and the bed will basically make itself.

Photo by Walmart

22. Grandin Road Game Tile Art, $19

If you’re looking for a cute housewarming gift that isn’t a houseplant or a bottle of wine, this cute Scrabble-inspired tile art is a thoughtful piece of decor—especially if they love board games.

Photo by Grandin Road

23. Branston Pickle, $21.55

For Home52’s editorial lead Arati Menon, who lived in England growing up, a jar of Branston brings back so many delicious memories. This is great for the traveler who hasn’t been able to go anywhere these past two years or the expat who gets a bit homesick—a bottle of the popular condiment will take them on a culinary adventure.

Photo by Ty Mecham

24. Goldbelly E-Giftcard, $25+

Banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery, deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s—no matter what they’re craving, Goldbelly will have it.

Photo by Goldbelly

25. Sabina Fenn Illustration Peaceful Morocco II Art Print, $21.99

Help them decorate their new space with some gorgeous artwork, like this travel-inspired print with major jungle vibes.

Photo by Society6

26. Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea, $7

I have a bottle of this spray with me at all times and three in my fridge as back up. It’s super hydrating and refreshing—two words that any skincare-loving friend wants to hear.

Photo by Anthropologie

27. Capri Blue Diffuser Oil, $14

Our brand partnerships editor Erin can’t get enough of Anthro’s signature scent. If you’ve got a friend who feels the same, they’ll absolutely love this bottle of Capri Blue oil diffuser. It’s the same exact scent used in the stores and the perfect blend of tropical and citrus fruits with fresh pine and cedar.

Photo by Anthropologie

28. In Good Taste The Cascade Collection Wine Sampler, $49

Cancelled the annual winery trip? Bring the winery to them with this gorgeous tasting flight from Seattle’s top vineyards.

Photo by In Good Taste

29. Mouth Poppy Popcorn Trio, $39

If they love snacking on popcorn, they’ll inhale this sweet and salty trio before they even finish unwrapping it.

Photo by Mouth

30. Brightland 100% Extra Virgin Heirloom Olive Oil, $38–$40

Foodies and home cooks alike will love a bottle of fancy olive oil—the perfect finishing touch to any dish and tabletop.

Photo by Rocky Luten

We updated this post in July 2021 with more inexpensive gift ideas.

What’s your go-to gift? Drop some inspo in the comments!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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Jada Wong

Written by: Jada Wong

Jada is the market editor at Food52 with a decade of experience writing and editing for online publications such as Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Insider.


tecla21 December 16, 2020
i feel like this app is filled with hugs and suger
Olivia B. January 6, 2017
I am just seeing this and it is bringing me warm fuzzies all over again. Elf-ing was the best!
tecla21 December 16, 2020
i was thinking about the same thing you said cause when i first got here today seeing this i was so happy and now i know like how much my friend thinks about me cause she is so sweet and kind she might give me something like that or nicer. have you ever went elfing ?