I received the following question from frugal friend Christine…
“I am looking for frugal gift ideas for my oldest son. He will turn 18 on Christmas Eve, and I’m lost as to what to get or do for him. His wish list is expensive, but finances are tight. Any ideas?“
Barb said: “If your teen has an MP3 player, earbuds are always appreciated! I know that my two teens go through earbuds like crazy. The wires are so fragile and break easily. You can get pretty good ones on sale for $10 to $15.”
Kate said: “You can get packs of discounted movie tickets to your local movie theater at your local AAA office.”
Rhonda said: “Fast food gift cards are always a hit!”
Brittany said: “If he is into video games and doesn’t have a console, check out GameStop, they sell certified used consoles at discounted prices. Some places have the Wii for $99, the 360 for $140, and so on. They sell discounted games and accessories as well. You can also check Craigslist to see if anyone is selling one of the items on the list for a good price.”
Judy said: “All of my young peeps love gift cards. Wrap them in beautiful boxes and decorate as usual. You may also want to add something for weight (candy bar or a book) just to throw them off, and you still get to have some fun!”
Myra said: “I’ve purchased items on Craigslist that are brand new and giftable for a fraction of retail price. When searching Craigslist, type the item you are looking for, and then the words “new” or ”brand new” or a similar search string of that nature. It is possible someone in your area got what your son wants as a gift, and would rather have the cash so you can get a great deal! Otherwise, get all your gifts through Ebates and at least get a little bit of cash back!”
Jolette said: “I have 5 kids and at one time they were all teens at the same time! Yes I know I am crazy! I wanted to get them something they liked, but was not too expensive. I used coupons to buy yarn a little at a time, then used the yard to make them all an Afghan. They loved them, and their boyfriends and husbands liked them so much I am working on getting more yarn to make them all one. Even my husband wants one.”
Karen said: “Try an iTunes Gift Card, cool winter hat from their favorite store (like Hot Topic or Rue21), nice Thinsulate gloves, a Homemade Scarf, warm wool socks, or a nice leather wallet. I usually try to get accessories that the teens want for their expensive hobbies: a headlight or lock for biking, new weights or stainless waterbottle for weightlifting, protective case or car charger for cell phone. If he gives you hints, you can usually find well-priced deals on Amazon–and if you sign up, you can get free shipping as an AmazonMom! Good luck!”
Michelle said: “iTunes Gift Cards and fast food gift cards. Kids are naturally thrifty with their own stuff, so they’d prefer the cheap place with the same amount as an expensive one, where they’ll be able to get less. Platos Closet is great, Aeropostale is fabulous, and check local consignment shops. These work great for taking care of needs for after school activities and school”
Kelli said: “Shirts from Aeropostale… Seems like every teenager loves that store and you can get some incredible deals. T-shirts for around $8 and sweatshirts for around $15!”
Michelle Y. said: “Coupons for car washes OR gas cards!!”
Lora said: “Last year we noticed some restaurants offering a free gift card in a small amount (maybe $10) with the purchase of a $50 gift card. Since we were there to eat out with our family of 4, generally to celebrate birthdays, we knew we would likely spend close to $50 anyway. We bought the $50 gift card before we were seated at our table and got the free $10 to give as a gift to someone else. Our kids have also benefitted from the “change” left on the bigger gift cards.”
Kristin said: “Groupon, LivingSocial and Half Off Depot are great resources for gift certificates for stores and activities for at least 1/2 off. My son is a hiker and a runner, so I also go to specialty stores for affordable “extras” to support his interests. I’ve gotten really good prices on these extras and on books about his interests on Amazon. Other family members will sometimes go in together and buy something a little pricier than any of them could spend individually.”
Gael said: “I go to eBay for pricey things for my teens. I picked up a gently used 60 gb iPod for more than $100 less than it costs new. Last year I also got a deal on 2 Zunes.”
Deanne said: “The last few years money has been really tight in our household and I ask my kids with Birthdays that fall shortly after Christmas, what is the ONE gift you would like the most for Christmas? If that item is out of reach, I explain they need to be a little more realistic and then I work to obtain that goal. My kids are only 12 and 13, and they understand they can’t have everything, but seem to be thrilled to get that ONE special gift. I then fill in the blanks with more needed things like clothes, shoes, etc. For a teen, gas cards and such would be great. This year for my 13 year old son, I got a toolbox and a screwdriver. Now every Christmas to follow he will get a new tool to put in the toolbox. When he moves out on his own, he will have something to start out with!”
Kayla said: “Get him stuff for college–it’s not too exciting, but it takes pressure off last minute move-in needs. Like a laundry basket, laundry soap, dryer sheets, rolls of quarters, bath towels and bed sheets, a new pair of shoes, etc. Cash is always nice too.”
Jessi said: “Since he has given you a wish list, you could give him a gift card to go towards one of the items on the list. That way you help him afford something that he wants, while letting him earn the rest.”
Lena said: “Books are ALWAYS a hit… stock them up on books and they will be happy campers. Fill their stocking with samples of shampoo, toothpaste, etc. Get them a travel bag and razor + shaving cream…”
Looking for more Gift Idea Tips???
Looking for more Gift Idea Tips???
Got a Fun Gift Idea for Teens?
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