Vancouver on the Cheap: Giving Gifts that Are Cheap but Don’t Feel Cheap


If you were to create a Venn diagram where one circle was labeled “cheap” and the other labeled “awesome”, the middle point where they cross over could be labeled “Vancouver on the Cheap”. In other words, this is a weekly series on things to do and places to go in Vancouver that fall into that magical category of being both cheap and awesome.

Got a cheap-living tip you’d like to share? Send it in here or tweet it to @andreaxuaxua (#cheapthing)!

‘Tis this season for giving, which is a great and beautiful thing in theory. In practice, however, it can mean a lot of pressure (hunting for something that person might actually like) and a lot of cash out the door. What’s a cheapskate (who still wants their loved ones to feel loved) to do?

Here are a few ideas for giving gifts on the cheap.

Photo by Daily Craft.
Photo by Daily Craft.

1) Handmade Gifts

Be cautious before you enter DIY-land. Making gifts can be a fantastic way to give something personal and meaningful that doesn’t break your bank. It can also be a fiasco that eats all your time and ends with you sheepishly handing over something that looks really homemade and that still cost you more than you expected because you don’t own crafting supplies.

It doesn’t have to be that way though! Some great homemade gift options that won’t cost you a lot of money or pain are a photo album or a custom calendar. No one prints photos anymore, and they are still cheap (39 cents each at London Drugs). Do a little Facebook-stalking for some special moments and you’re in business. You can also order custom calendars from Staples for less than $10. Fill in some meaningful dates (birthdays, anniversaries, and the like) and you’re gold! Lots of fun, lots of memories, and very little money!

2) Experiences

These are my favourite kinds of gifts – why give another thing for the person to use and forget about when you can give them an experience. This can be anything from taking them to a movie (cheap night is still a thing!), a comedy show on The Drive (East Van Comedy is cheap and fun), or even just a coffee date, picnic, or hike.

3) Services

What are you good at? Can you mend things? Are you mechanically inclined? Do you cut hair or give massages? Chances are there is something you can do that would be a gift, whether it’s giving them a private yoga class, repairing the broken step in their house, or giving them a ride to work for a week.

These are just a few ideas – there are a ton of ways you can give meaningful gifts that won’t send on on a trip to Poverty Land in January.

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