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Cheap Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Sometimes the holidays sneak up on us, and before you know it, there are only a few days left before Christmas. COVID-19 has also made it harder to shop and make holiday plans this year. If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet and you’re on a tight budget, don’t panic! ACCC has a helpful list of cheap last-minute gift ideas for you that won’t dig you into a hole of credit card debt:

These last-minute gift ideas bring joy - instead of debt!

These last-minute gift ideas bring joy – instead of debt!

Framed Family Photos

Getting photos printed at Walgreens or CVS only costs a few cents, and getting a cute picture frame off of Amazon doesn’t have to be expensive. This gift is great for parents or grandparents, especially since you probably haven’t gotten to see them this year due to COVID. It’s thoughtful, affordable, and easy to get last minute. What’s not to like?

Baked Goods

If you love making cookies, brownies, pies, or any other baked goods, these can be great last-minute gift ideas for friends and family! Plus, you probably already have most of the main ingredients you need, so you won’t have to spend much money (which is perfect if you’re working on debt management). You could always buy some red and green sprinkles or holiday-themed paper plates/trays to put them on, but other than that, this won’t cost anything.


There are tons of different subscriptions you could get as a last-minute gift for a friend or family member. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Book of the Month, or any magazine/newspaper they like vary in price. For most of the aforementioned examples, you can give a gift of a three-month subscription for $50 or less.

DIY Hot Chocolate Mix

Fill a mason jar with cocoa mix, chocolate chips, and marshmallows for a DIY hot chocolate mix. Bonus points for adding fun extras like candy canes or cinnamon sticks! You can decorate the outside of the jar with ribbon or other craft materials to give it a holiday feel.

“Experience” Gifts

We’re all looking forward to the end of the pandemic when we can finally get out and do fun things! Support local businesses by giving your friends and family “experience” gifts, like a pass to an aquarium or museum that they can use when everything is open again. Other ideas that fall into this category include a gift certificates to local restaurants, movie theaters, or a wine & paint night.

Final Tips on Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Holiday gifts don’t have to result in credit card debt – even if you procrastinated and waited until the last minute. Hopefully these cheap last-minute gift ideas can help you get the remainder of your holiday shopping done! Remember to stick to your budget and don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can really afford.

If you struggle to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session today. 



Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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