[ The Money Side of Lifeā„¢ ]

Tightening Santa's Belt: 10 gifts under $10

By brass Staff on October 31st, 2010 •

Sticking to a budget during the holiday season can be incredibly tough. However, it is possible to spend less than $10 on each special person in your life, reducing the stress of credit card bills and holiday debt. Here are 10 budget-friendly gift ideas.

1. Volunteer: Offer a few hours or a day of your time to someone. Paint a house, help in the garden, or do the laundry for a week. All it takes is a 99 cent card, a description of job options, and some elbow grease.

2. Potted plant: Put some green into someone's life by giving potted plants like a geranium or dahlia for the holidays. Check garden.org for descriptions and care instructions.

3. Baked goods: Tune to your inner Martha Stewart and get busy in the kitchen. Crank out trays of cookies, peanut brittle, fudge, or even the season's popular fruitcake for the neighbors and parties. Visit myrecipes.com for recipes.

4. Calendar: Everyone can use one at the beginning of the New Year. If you want to be even more thoughtful, try making your own. Try personalized printing with flickr.com and snapfish.com.

5. Games and Puzzles: Cards, puzzles and games like Yahtzee, Pay Day, and the all-time classic Chutes and Ladders, are bound to provide family fun year-round. Find them new and used online, at a garage sale, or in thrift stores.

6. Books: Hit up your local used book or thrift store. Or sort through your collection and pass a few titles on to siblings and friends.

7. Coffee, hot chocolate, tea: Put the grounds, beans, tea or powder in an attractive, reusable jar or mug from a dollar store. Grandma and grandpa will be sure to love it.

8. Hat and/or gloves: Give the gift of warmth. Practical and very useful, it might keep your sibling from stealing your favorite hat.

9. Magazine or newspaper subscription: Browse magazines.com's $10 or less section, or check out subscription.com. Consider giving an online subscription too. The Los Angeles Times digital subscription costs $9.99, and a news junkie will love it.

10. Used movies and video games: Visit amazon.com or half.com to find almost any title used. Also check rental stores and kiosks (such as Redbox) for previously-viewed, but still picture-perfect options.

Sources: amazon.com; target.com; snapfish.com; flickr.com; myrecipes.com; subscription.com; hasbro.com; toysrus.com; magazines.com; ebay.com; blockbuster.com; garden.org; redbox.com