Sometimes $5 is all you need to spend to make someone’s day. Whether it’s a small token for a birthday, a component of a multipart gift, or just something to show your appreciation, cheap doesn’t have to mean low quality or impersonal. We’ve rounded up 34 exceptionally thoughtful gifts you can buy for $5 or less (with a few $6 options; I’m sad to announce that inflation has hit the inexpensive-gifts sector of the economy) that seem like they’re worth at least double that amount, many of which we’ve written about before.
Have a more specific gifting question? Try our new gift search tool here!
Beauty and self-care
For the sibling who always gets a scrub at the spa
For the friend who never skips a skin-care routine step
For the hairstyle maximalist
For the friend whose candle stash is running low
This may not be a status-y candle, but it is the best drugstore candle, in our opinion. And this particularly stylish tin makes a great gift.
For the mom who doesn’t like scented candles
For the cousin with a multistep lip look
This inexpensive lip gloss comes in 35 colors, if you want to curate a set; it’s also one of the Cut’s favorite nude lip products for darker skin tones.
For the friend who’s sick of gluing on false lashes
For the K-beauty fan
For the friend whose skin hates winter
Because the best lip treatment is simple, reliable petroleum jelly (the main ingredient in ChapStick). You can’t go wrong with the classic cherry flavor.
For the sibling on facial-sculpting TikTok
They’ll think of you every morning as they do a de-puffing lymph drainage massage.
For the jet-setter sibling
This ingenious travel toothbrush folds up to protect the bristles from debris but isn’t airtight enough to breed bacteria. (I never travel without mine.)
For the Old Bay superfan
For the Japanese candy collector
Everyone loves these frosting-covered biscuit cookies, which are Bling Empire star Christine Chiu’s “ultimate go-to snack.”
For the garnish artist
The only thing better than fancy salt is smoked fancy salt.
For the uncle with a thriving backyard garden
For the boyfriend who makes encyclopedic charcuterie boards
For the friend who prefers fruit candy to chocolate
For the friend who loves a chilled red
Toys, games, and art supplies
For the budding multimedia artist
For the friend whose to-do lists are works of art
For the new parents
An expert-recommend board book, perfect for for 6-month-olds: “Babies at 6 months start to be more inclined to pay attention to a book, and they’re starting to notice other babies’ faces. They really like to look at other babies,” says social worker Sarah MacLaughlin.
For the teen who watches Pokémon card-opening streams on Twitch
A small gift that provides hours of fun, whether they’re building out their deck or looking up prices of rare cards on eBay.
For the kinesthetic learner
There are a million uses for the classic pink Spalding bouncy ball. Illustrator Maira Kalman uses it as a brain reset: She throws it against the wall of her studio during breaks, which she says is “one of the greatest diversions and brain reactivators around.”
For the dad who always hosts poker night
For the Online Ceramics T-shirt collector
For the friend who made all your warmest scarves and hats
For the kid who likes a retro toy
Eighty years old, still fun. For older kids, this retro metal Slinky makes a great stocking stuffer.
For the parent of a hyperactive dog
For the parent of a dog that remembers being a wolf
If their dog has a strong predator instinct for anything fluffy, they’ll love this small stuffed lamb squeaky toy.
For the cat with that loves catnip
Their cat will love hunting these small catnip-filled mouse toys — they’re a “playtime favorite” of former Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson’s cat.
For the food-motivated cat
For the aesthetically minded stoner
For the cottagecore convert
For the sibling who has a backpacking trip planned
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, bed sheets, coffee makers, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
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