Gifts that Can Save Your Loved Ones Money

man wrapping presents

The really great, memorable gifts tend to have certain characteristics in common. They’re usually thoughtful – they reflect an element of the recipient’s personality, or connect in some way to the relationship between the giver and the receiver. Great gifts are also often wanted or needed. They provide value, or at least the perception of value.

The value of a gift can be sentimental or emotional, but it can also be very tangible – as in monetary. You don’t have to give cash to help pad a loved one’s bank account. Instead, you can buy them a money-friendly gift, one that provides real value (and savings) every time they use it.

Digital antenna

Cable is expensive. Getting rid of cable can save a lot of money. One of the barriers for getting rid of cable TV is often the loss of local broadcasts and access to the major networks.

But those free networks are still free and accessible to anyone with a TV and an antenna. An inexpensive digital antenna can get you access to all your local channels, usually in high definition. Depending on the recipient, you may want to include set-up as part of the gift (don't make Grandma climb up onto the roof).

French press

Individual, disposable coffee pods are super convenient, and while they're cheaper than ordering a coffee to-go, they can actually add up on a cup-by-cup basis. And that's leaving aside the environmental concerns and the fact that the actual coffee can leave a little to be desired. 

French presses and pour over coffee cups are nothing new, but they allow you to make individual servings at low prices (and, depending on the coffee beans, with superior flavor). There's a little extra effort involved, but even if you're only using it for your weekend coffee you can save a little over time.

Smart thermostat

Try as you might to keep them under control, your utility bills can easily undermine your whole budget. Luckily there’s some pretty great technology out there to help you manage your usage. A smart thermostat like Nest is one way to lower your monthly heating and cooling bills.

Light occupancy sensor

Some people just can’t remember to turn off the lights. It seems like such a small thing, but it can really throw off your electricity bill. If you know someone who struggles with this particular affliction, give them some light occupancy sensors. When no one’s around, the lights go off. Money is saved and no one gets yelled at by their dad.

Smart strip

Power strips can do more than just provide extra outlets. Smart strips are power strips that understand when a device isn’t in use and cut off the flow of electricity (because even if they’re off, your devices are always drawing power if they’re plugged in). Less electricity used means a smaller electric bill.

Rechargeable batteries

Like a lot of technology, rechargeable batteries weren’t all that great when they first showed up. They’re much more efficient now, and a very money-friendly (and environment-friendly) alternative to disposable batteries.

Carbonator

Homemade is often less expensive than store bought, but not everything can be made at home. One homemade replacement that can save you money (especially if you’ve got a substantial habit) is carbonating your own soda or sparkling water. Throw in some flavoring syrups and .

Knowledge

What a gift it is to know how to do something! Knowing how to do things like change your oil or fix minor plumbing issues can save you huge amounts of money over the course of your life.

So don’t forget what a valuable gift knowledge can be. If you know how to do something, offer to teach it to a friend or a loved one. Give a how-to book or pay for classes. Knowledge is the one gift that never needs to be replaced or renewed and it keeps its value forever.

Article updated November 2020

Tagged in Holidays, Christmas, Reducing expenses

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.