Gift giving can be an expensive hobby, especially around Christmas and especially for students. There’s often flatmates to think of, friends from your hometown, friends at university, family members, partners and so on. Things can get pricey quickly, and with the current cost of living situation, we’re all looking to save. Many of us associate cheap gifts with junk and useless things we don’t want or need. But thankfully, there are many meaningful gift ideas you can do on a budget. That’s why we’ve come up with a range of thoughtful gift ideas to help you out, all for under £5!

1. Make a scrapbook

A scrapbook is one of many thoughtful gift ideas for under £5
Photo by Rirri on Unsplash

If you and the person you’re buying for are particularly close, this is an easy and cheap way to give a heartfelt gift. You can use FreePrints to get the photos sent to your home for only the price of delivery. Then order a scrapbook online and some glue, and you’re good to go! It’s a thoughtful gift unique to you and your gift recipient.

2. Bake something

Does the person you’re buying for have a sweet tooth? Why not try baking a cake, cookies, brownies or something extra fancy? You can also look into photo cake toppers to really personalise it. Or do they enjoy savoury snacks? You may have been one of the many that began baking bread during lockdown, so why not put those skills to use? Scroll through some recipes and unleash your inner chef!

3. Growing kits

Growing kits are a lovely gift to give somebody – as they’ll be with them for a long time. Well, if they’ve got a green enough thumb. The one we suggest is the sunflower growing kit, as not only are they all the rage right now, but they’re fun to grow! They’re bound to bring some happiness to the gift recipients day – and what else can get that tall!?

4. Inspirational cards

You Got This
Source: Find Me A Gift

We all have that one friend who needs to remember how amazing they are. An inspirational card is the perfect reminder, and fairly easy to source. You could easily pair one with a box of chocolates or bunch of flowers too!

5. Small plants and succulents 

Similar to the growing kits, but lower maintenance! Succulents and small plants are great for people who are notorious for killing plants. They’re cute and look good pretty much anywhere, such as a fellow roommate’s desk, your friend’s new shelves, or as a centre piece on your parents’ dining table.

6. A diary 

A diary can be a thoughtful gift for under £5
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

When you’re looking for Christmas gifts, a diary is great for anyone you know who is an organised person. Or unorganised for that matter! There’s such a wide range that you really find one to suit the person’s style too – from slick and leather (or faux leather), to a pretty floral.

7. Reusable face scrubs

Reusable Face Scrubs
Source: Puddle Lane Crochet

Know an ecowarrior? If you do, these Etsy reusable face scrubs are perfect for them. They’re soft, reusable and they come in really cute colours! Not only does it save you money when buying a gift, but it will save your giftee on having to buy new ones in the future, as well as saving the planet! Triple win!


Perfect for any avid reader. You can find a great range from handcrafted designs to personalised photo ones. They’re also a great gift for that one friend that borrowed and dog-eared your favourite novel.

9. Bath salts 

Bath salts
Source: Body Delice LLC

Anyone who knows how to relax is familiar with bath salts. A hot bath, these bad boys and your favourite playlist. Bliss. We all need help destressing these days, so essentially you’re giving the gift of health wrapped up in a pretty bottle! Help your friends achieve total relaxation by getting these hand-designed rustic bath salts.

10. Embroidered decorations

These are especially great for any students you know, elevating any home with some warmth and comfort. Student homes are known for being poorly-decorated, and you often aren’t allowed to use tape or blu-tac on the walls. So embroidered decorations are the perfect cutesy decor for your friends.

11. Wax melts 

Wax Melts
Source: Krissy Marie Candles

Another perfect gift for those who need to unwind. And again, perfect for students who has flat smelling of something other than roses! But wax melts are also versatile, as they last a long time and smell divine.

12. Original artwork

Etsy is a great place to look for things that are inexpensive but 100% heartfelt and personal. If you search around, you can find affordable original artwork that actually looks very expensive, making it a perfect cheap but thoughtful gift idea for under £5!

13. A jar of their favourite sweets

It’s all about the presentation! If your friend has a sweet tooth but is more into literal sweeties, then buy a bag or two, some nice jars and a ribbon and voila! A perfect, inexpensive little present.

14. A mixtape

A mixed tape is a thoughtful gift for under £5
Photo by Gregory wong on Unsplash

Mixed tapes are the perfect present for anyone who’s just a little bit stuck in the 90s. They’re really easy to make and extremely cheap! However, you might need to check that the recipient still has access to a cassette player, otherwise a custom Spotify playlist could be a good alternative.

15. Sweet hamper 

Sweet hamper
Source: Swizzles

Not sure what their favourite sweet is? Or maybe you want to give them a bit of variety? These sweet hampers from Swizzle are perfect. And if it is a long-distance gift, they’re letterbox safe too. They’re the perfect, thoughtful gift for under £5 for any sweet-lover!

16. Underwear

Now this may not work for everyone, but if you’re close enough with someone, boxers, pants and socks are a great gift on a budget. You can buy novelty ones, and you can never have too many of them. Students are also notorious for losing socks or wearing odd ones, so they’re both a thoughtful and useful gift you can grab for under £5!

17. Personalised pen

Do you know a writer? Or someone who just loves nice stationery for seemingly no reason? A pen with their initial on is sure to go down a treat. We all love a good pen, let alone a pretty one too that’s personalised!

18. Nail polish sets

Sparkles Nail Polish Set silver gold glitter

Lots of people love nail polish, so take a look at these sets of nail polishes at bargain prices! There’s a range of colour options, which gives them plenty of choice to keep their hands pretty!

19. Coffee set

Coffee Flavours
Source: B&M Stores

We all know someone who is always jacked up on caffeine. And the odds are, they’re quite often found drinking some fancy coffee too. So look into coffee gift sets like these, which let your hyperactive buddies make their java at home.

20. Mini alcohol gift set

Finally, Christmas and birthdays are a time for a drink, and most students will no doubt welcome this as a gift. You can find miniature gift sets as B&M, which is just over the £5 budget at £5.99, or try some other supermarkets. Your gift is a great way to get the party started – they’re cute, convenient and celebratory! They’re also a great gift when you don’t know the person too well!


We hope you’re able to choose a thoughtful gift for under £5 from our handy list! They’re perfect for the Christmas season, or birthdays, anniversaries and more. And if you’re in need of more tips, check out our article on hacks for saving money over Christmas!