|20 last-minute (and cheap) gift
C. Fleitas Bankrate.com||
Cheap, last-minute gifts don't
have to look chintzy or rushed. If you forgot someone special, postponed someone
not-so-special or just couldn't think of anything, it's not too late to get a
great gift. You just have to use a little thought and these ideas.
The key to any good gift is that it appears to be
handpicked for the receiver. So using what you know about this person, you can
get inexpensive gifts and mold them into perfect presents.
are some easy-to-get gift ideas, their costs, where to get them and how to make
A gift of money, while useful, may be seen as inappropriate, offensive or thoughtless
depending on the giver-receiver relationship. Don't try to hand out cash unless
you are tipping your doorman or baby sitter. However, there are ways to give money
indirectly and appropriately. Certificates of deposit and savings bonds coupled
with a note can be both thoughtful and helpful.
bonds can be purchased at bank branches or online and come in many different
denominations. These gifts have the advantage of eventually being worth more than
you spent on them.
To personalize this gift, think of something
the receiver really wants. Write a personal note saying, "I know how much
you want to go to the Galapagos Islands" or "the University of Texas"
and then, "Here is something to help you get started."
tokens can be added to make these gifts even more thoughtful -- like a turtle
key chain for the Galapagos Islands or a burnt orange and white bookmark for the
student who dreams of graduating from UT.
Another way to give money is to make a charitable donation in
the receiver's name. Warning: It has to be a charity that they'd be interested
in. You might be an avid bird watcher and think a donation to save the northern
spotted owl is a great gift, but the logger you give it to will not.
all causes and interests have Web sites for related charities. Animal lovers might
appreciate donations to the Humane Society or the Nature Conservatory. Art lovers
would appreciate a donation to the local museum. Sci-fi fans might like a donation
to the local observatory. Family members affected by cancer would appreciate donations
to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or the American Cancer Society. Get online
and pick one. As a bonus, you get a tax
deduction for giving this gift.
A less-creative approach
to giving money is a gift certificate. The drawback for gift certificates is that
they are only worth their face value and if you pick the wrong store, your gift
will be useless.
Lottery tickets are inexpensive to give ($1)
and could be worth millions, or nothing. They also make good stocking stuffers.
are another inexpensive but thoughtful gift.