Gifts under $5 that won't frazzle your budget

5 Fab Gifts Under $5

by Ruth Schiffmann

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If you're feeling a pinch in your pocketbook as the next gift-giving occasion approaches, try giving gifts that are big on heart and small on cost. These five gifts under $5 aim to please while keeping you from feeling the squeeze.

  1. Junk mail treasures - Save those fake credit cards that banks send with their applications. With a quick coat of gold spray paint, you can turn today's junk mail into tomorrow's good-as-gold gift cards. When the paint dries use a permanent marker to add a message. Give a friend a shared day of housecleaning or your husband a night of total control over the remote. Be creative. Think about what would mean the most to the recipient, the more personal, the better.
  2. Give the gift that keeps on giving - Magazine subscriptions make a great gift. They are easy for the giver, who can order from home, and a real payday for the recipient, who receives new issues all through the year. Be sure to shop around for the best deals. Do a Google search for "magazine subscriptions under five dollars." Or check out and They offer specific search buttons for different price ranges. Each of these offers between 50-80 different titles for under $5/year.
  3. When it has to be bigger to be better - Buy a bag of chocolate Kisses® (or any other miniature variety candy). Divide them into tiny gift boxes and wrap them. Then place each tiny box into a bigger box and wrap them. Place each bigger box into an even larger box, and so on, wrapping each box before putting it into a bigger, better box. (Shoe stores are usually glad to save boxes. You can get a variety of sizes for free.) Get creative with the wrapping by using pages from the phone book, magazine pages, tissue paper or newspaper. This gift is big on laughs and big on fun!
  4. Party in a box - This makes a great gift for a long-distance friend. Print out an 8 x 10 picture of yourself. Glue it onto a cardboard backing and attach a triangular piece of cardboard to the back (picture frame style) to form a stand. Now you can be there in more than just spirit. Tear up a few sheets of colored paper and place the multi-colored scraps in a zippered plastic bag for instant confetti. Include a box of their favorite flavor of cake mix and a tub of frosting. Package up the party goods and send it off with your good wishes.
  5. Top things off with tons of toppings - This is when the celebration is the gift. Buy a half-gallon of ice cream. Make sure it's on sale. Then grab a handful of single-serve candies that make good toppers like M&Ms®, Reese's® Pieces™, anything chocolate and crumbled up into bite-sized bits. If it's the right time of year, you may even find a couple of fancy sundae dishes. Show up on the guest of honor's doorstep with the goodies and get ready to do some channel surfing to find the perfect movie to play backdrop to your sundae party.

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