Gifts for Cheapskates

Sometimes, the best things in life are cheap

Believe it or not, some people just don't like receiving expensive gifts. If the person you're buying for has ever responded to a present with "Oh no, you shouldn't have," this guide might be for you. This list is for both the buyer who doesn't want to spend too much money, and for the gift receiver who doesn't want to feel awkward receiving a $499 automatic kitchen knife sharpener they'll never use. The gifts on this list are (mostly) practical. No wasteful trinkets that just end up in a landfill. They're also cheap, but that doesn't mean they can't come with the same love, care and thought that goes into something extravagant.


Wool hats, scarfs and gloves are a classic holiday gift. The problem is that they cost money — you're paying for the wool itself and for some random person or machine to knit it. So why not cut out the middleman and give the cheapskate in your life something they can build themselves? At Art Salvage Spokane, you can find mismatched bags of assorted yarn for just two bucks. It's a perfect gift for people who love an excuse to do something with their hands. You can even have fun picking out some colors they'll love. $2 • Art Salvage Spokane • 1925 N. Ash St. •


Sometimes, people have a moral opposition to receiving big, expensive gifts. They cite concern about capitalism, the commercialization of the holiday season, the Western consumerist lifestyle that's slowly eating away at the environment, etc. That's why reusable straws are such a great gift idea. They're cheap, but last for months if not years. Think about how virtuous and thoughtful your loved one will feel each time they order a drink and get to tell the waiter: "No straw please, I'm saving the planet with my own." Jokes aside, Americans use 390 million plastic straws a day. Turtles choke on them and die. This is something people don't think to buy, but they'll be grateful you thought of it for them. $5 • World Market Spokane • 6125 N. Division St. •


This is another gift that just keeps on giving. Tomatoes from a grocery store can cost you four or five bucks a pound. But if everything goes according to plan, this little bag of seeds can give your frugal loved one the gift of 10 (or more!) tomato plants — for just two dollars! It's not just the tomatoes, you're also giving them a fun project, maybe even a new hobby. Tomatoes are also great because they're fairly easy for a beginner to grow. $2 • Northwest Seed & Pet • 2422 E. Sprague Ave. and 7302 N. Division St. •


Think about how long it takes to go through a pound of chili powder. Unless you're giving a gift to someone who just loves drowning their taste buds in spice, this gift should be more than enough to stock their kitchen for months on end. Chili is a universal spice that goes great with simple, frugal meals. The right amount of chili powder can elevate low-budget classics like ramen or rice and beans to a dish that feels like it came from a restaurant. This holiday season, give the gift of bulk spice. $10 • Spokane Spice • 130 N. Stone St. •


OK, there's nothing particularly frugal about this one. But still, six high-quality chocolates for $7.50? That's a decent bargain. Especially when it comes from a locally owned chocolate factory with a 40-year history of delicious, sweet treats. This six-pack of assorted chocolates comes packaged in a windowed gold box that's wrapped with an elegant gold bow. It feels fancy, and maybe that's OK. Sometimes, even the most frugal penny pinchers need a decadent treat. $7.50 • Hallett's Chocolates • 1419 E. Holyoke Ave. •

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About The Author

Nate Sanford

Nate Sanford is a staff writer for the Inlander covering a variety of news topics. He joined the paper in 2022 after graduating from Western Washington University. You can reach him at 509.325.0634 ext. 282 or