Gift Guide: Gifts That Can Save Money  

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Spending

When doing your holiday shopping, you naturally want to select presents that delight your loved ones. Then comes the tricky part – what do you choose for each person? You might rattle your brain for something your friend or family member mentioned they might want since the last gift-giving occasion. There’s a better way: center your gifts around a general theme so you don’t have to start from scratch. 

Money-Saving Gift Ideas

At Milli, we’re here to help people have more money for the things that matter most in life. That’s why we thought it would be both fun and helpful to create a guide of gift options that could save the recipient money. They’ll get a meaningful present that will serve them now and in the future by minimizing or delaying their need to make a purchase. You don’t necessarily have to tell them you selected this specific item to save them money – unless you know they would appreciate that! 

Let’s dig into the gift options! Please note – this list is not sponsored in any way, and we encourage you to choose options that fit within your holiday budget.  

Image with icons of a coffee mug, lightbulb, and shopping back to represent money-saving gift ideas

An upgraded want or need

This may not be what you expected in a gift guide, but we’re starting off with a concept, not a specific item. If your loved one has something they need – a household item, article of clothing, etc. – get them a higher-quality version than what they would buy for themselves. Look for something that’s built to last, so it’ll save the recipient money in the long run from needing to replace it as often. 

Coffee or tea supply kit 

For your loved one who always stops to get coffee on their way to any event, give them the supplies to make it from home (at least sometimes). Group together things like fancy coffee or tea, a travel mug or tumbler, a milk frother, French press, or tea diffuser. The best part is you can customize this present within whatever price point you need!

Herb plant or garden

For your foodie friend, using fresh herbs in cooking elevates a meal, so gift them a sustainable way to always have them on hand. They won’t need to purchase those small plastic packages of fresh herbs when they go to the grocery store – they can pick a few springs of thyme or basil leaves right from the source. Whether your recipient has a yard, patio, or just a windowsill with natural light, there are plenty of herb options ranging from a single plant to a burgeoning garden setup.  

Craft supplies

Craft enthusiasts like painters, knitters, sewers, and beaders know that every trip to the art supply store to restock supplies fuels their hobby, but it can get pricey. Give the creative maker in your life their favorite craft materials – something like a skein of yarn, sketchbook, specialty pencils, paints, canvasses, thread, cloth, beads. They may already have their trusted brushes or knitting needles, but replenishing the materials that get used up over time can make a great present. 

Secondhand store gift card 

If your recipient loves the thrill of finding a good deal or “hunting” at a thrift store, you can make their day with a gift card to a local secondhand store. Check out general consignment or resale stores and specialty options like a vintage clothing store or secondhand bookshop. 

Reusable shopping bags 

Especially for your loved one who lives in a state with a plastic bag ban, gift them reusable shopping bags, such as an insulated tote for transporting cold groceries. It can double as a picnic bag for affordable outings in the spring and summer as well. They’ll stop needing to buy bags at check out – so long as they remember to bring the bags to the store! 

Energy-saving products 

For your loved one looking to be more energy efficient, energy-saving upgrades and items could be a meaningful present they’ll appreciate even more when the reduced bills come in. These could include a smart thermostat, window treatments, energy efficient lightbulbs, solar powered generators.  Other options could be a heating pad, heated blanket, or space heater which can minimize the amount they need to spend on home heating. Or, go the extra mile and give the gift of your time to those energy-saving home projects that just didn’t get done all year. 

You might reserve the big-ticket items or substantial upgrades for the closest people on your gift list, or go in on a group gift, but this can be a great option for that “person who has everything” … including a drafty old house. 

Personal finance book 

A great book on personal finance, whether your recipient is a beginner or looking for advanced strategies, can be a valuable resource for someone looking to improve their financial literacy. If your loved one has mentioned wanting to cut back on screen time, you can help them get a jump start with a physical copy. Need a suggestion? Check out our list of personal finance books


For the bookworm in your life, if they don’t already have an e-reader, one could help them easily access books on demand.  Many e-readers allow the reader to borrow e-books and audiobooks from their public library with the Libby app, so they can access thousands of books for free. If your recipient already has an e-reader and likes to read new releases, then a subscription for an e-book or audiobook service could be a great option since those are not always easily available on the Libby app.  

Bike or scooter 

Do you have a loved one looking for a new way to get around town or reduce their carbon footprint? A bike or scooter (or e-bike!) could help them take more car-free trips to save on gas or rideshare fares, and potentially parking and vehicle maintenance.  

Hair styling tools or supplies 

For many people, getting their hair done feels amazing and comes with a confidence boost from a refreshed hairstyle. Being able to recreate the look at home can help save a trip to the salon. A hair styling tool might “pay for itself” by replacing even a few salon visits, depending on the cost of the tool and how it compares to the comparable salon services! Salon-quality hair care products could be another gift option if you’re familiar with the recipient’s hair texture.  

Warehouse store memberships  

For your savvy shopper friend or family member, a warehouse store membership could be a great present, if they don’t already have one! Buying groceries and household items in bulk from warehouse retailers can bring down the per item or per serving cost, saving money in the long run. Warehouse stores also sell plenty of other non-bulk items at a great value, so it doesn’t only apply to your loved one with plentiful storage or many mouths to feed. 


We hope this gift guide sparked some inspiration for your shopping, or perhaps helped you decide upon specific items for multiple people on your gift list! Remember when you’re giving a present, it’s the thought that counts. When you’re giving a gift that can serve multiple needs, such as fulfilling the intrinsic purpose of the item and saving the recipient money in the long run, you’re being extra thoughtful. That can keep the cheer of the holiday season lasting well into the new year! 

For more holiday shopping and savings tips, check out our blogs on how to make a holiday budget and ways to save this holiday season