Birthdays on a Budget: Must-Have Gifts Under $50 

Your special friend has a birthday coming up and you need to find a must-have gift under $50. You want something that looks lavish, and even with a $50 budget, you can find a memorable present.

Little Things Mean A Lot

When it comes to giving, it's the thought that counts, not the price. Focus on your friend instead of your pocketbook. What things does your buddy like? Whether it's art, nature, cooking, crafts, or any other interest, you can find several unique gifts under $50 that you can group together by theme to create an attractive birthday presentation.

Create a Themed Bundle

Perhaps your friend enjoys being one with nature. A collection of foliage-based objects placed around a small living plant is a fun project and a thoughtful gift under $50. Choose a plant or fern that lasts throughout the year with limited maintenance. Find a container that highlights the color and shape of the plant—a decorative pot or clear round terrarium may give room to showcase it. Add an art print of plants or flowers as an accompanying item. Place all the objects in a box or bag that matches the print and plant. The ensemble looks sophisticated, but only you know you it's a designer gift under $50 that you made.

If your friend is the traveling type and loves items from around the world, a collection of internationally inspired art objects is a cool gift idea under $50. All parts of the planet come into view when the birthday party person spins a colored desk globe. Map magnets of continents and countries show off recent travel photos on the refrigerator too. For some foreign flare, include a small statuette of a historical or religious figure that works well on a mantel or an end table. If space is a consideration, a small art print of a landscape or a city across the world comes into play for your traveling buddy. Combine smaller items in an attractive box and give the whole world as a unique gift under $50.

Buy a Foodie a Surprise With a Side of Flare

For the foodie in your life, a must-have gift under $50 is a collection of culinary tools along with a gourmet boxed product. Does your birthday recipient enjoy making food? Perhaps it's baking bread and pies or cooking up shrimp and grits in the kitchen. Or maybe outdoor grilling is your friend's favorite activity. In any case, look for something that goes with the food preparation category and adds a relevant accompanying item. For baking in the oven, choose a glazed ceramic crock pot as the central item and put some small festive cookie cutters inside with a set of measuring spoons with similar colors. The cook may like a cast iron skillet with colored trivets to put on the counter. Give the best gift under $50, and find a package that is a ready-to-go gift set that pairs well with the skillet. The outdoor barbecue enthusiast needs tongs and mitts along with a crate of hot sauces or a box of seasoning rubs. For the coffeeholic, a carafe and a large mug with an international coffee sampler box might hit the spot.

Make Your Own Deluxe Gift Basket 

For a gift that's personalized, consider a decorative basket filled with goodies. If you think your friend would enjoy a wine gift basket, create one by including things your friend enjoys. For example, start with a nice basket lined with tea towels. Then, place a bottle of mulled punch and a bottle of red wine to the basket. Lastly, add spices along with a mug, and then top it off with a bow or a custom note.

Create a similar customized basket as a showstopper for a birthday or as a holiday gift under $50. When you put the main item along with several smaller objects in a basket filled with decorative paper, it looks grand and impressive; and no one would ever guess you made it on a budget. Choose the main item of your project and build the rest of your package around it. Find a container capable of holding and carrying all the treasures you need. You can also select a wicker basket, a wooden crate, or even employ a creative idea like a copper mail holder.

Next, fill the container with a soft base. You can use kitchen linens, tissue paper, or perhaps even flower petals. In the middle of the base, place the spotlighted present and then surround it with other related treasures. Search for small gifts by price, and select several things that fit the feel of the themed package. For example, buy some swirly straws and vintage glass bottles to go with a large bucket of craft sodas for a retro picnic gift under $50. Finally, add a finishing touch to your unique gift with a handmade label and a bow or ribbon to personalize your birthday basket.

You can make a birthday memorable by using a bit of creativity to find unique gifts and arrange them together into a special presentation for the party. Your friend will love it and you will too, especially knowing you made the gift for under $50.