Holiday gifts for couples on a budget

Presents that wow without breaking the bank.


With November and December on the way, you’re thinking about how to treat that someone special to the perfect gift. But finances can be difficult for a lot of young couples. In fact, nearly 3 in 4 couples report money is a source of tension in their relationship.1 But luckily, you don’t need to break the bank to let your better half know how much you care. You can surprise them with these unique holiday and Christmas gifts on a budget.

Start by setting expectations

So how much should you spend on a gift for your significant other? As with everything in a relationship, communication is key. It’s important to set expectations about presents ahead of time. Will you exchange fun little gifts for each night of Hanukkah or go for something bigger? Are you both expected to shop for Christmas or Kwanzaa gifts on a budget? Will you exchange gifts at all? It may feel a little awkward, but talking through it together will help avoid any uncomfortable situations later on.

Once you’re both on the same page, start setting your gift budget. Consider how long you’ve been together, how much each of you makes and what you normally spend on dates. These are good benchmarks to help you settle on an amount you’re comfortable with.2

Gifts for him and for her on a budget

Now that your spending expectations are set, get creative with some one-of-a-kind gifts for him and for her on a budget. Start with online tools like Prezzy Box that let you search for gifts by gender, price and more, so you can easily find what you’re looking for. With unique selections like this personalized heart map, this desktop arcade game or gifts under $10, you’re sure to find something special without breaking the bank.

Another way to give your significant other a gift that’s both wow-worthy and wallet-friendly is through heartfelt DIY presents and experiences. Buy a deck of cards for around $5 and write 51 reasons you love your partner on the back of each. Save the last card for a sweet title or message. To make it a keeper, punch a hole in the corner of each card and use a binder ring to hold the deck together. It’s a gift with a small budget but a big impact.3

If you’re looking to spend a little bit more, a “work survival kit” will cost you around $15–$25. Fill a bin or basket with your partner’s favorite snacks, puzzles or crosswords, photos of you together, one-of-a-kind office supplies and, of course, a special note from you. Feel free to get creative with the packaging to add a special touch. This low-cost gift will keep on giving all year long.4

Gifts you can’t wrap up

If you and your better half are looking to really cut costs this year or are planning something special down the road, consider skipping out on presents. Instead, give each other something more meaningful by planning for your next adventure. Maybe there’s a great concert, event in town or weekend getaway you’ve been wanting to go to. Or maybe you’re thinking bigger—how about a European vacation or new piece of furniture?

Or perhaps you’re looking to take the next step by buying a house, planning a wedding or having a baby. No matter how big or small your plans are, put away what you would have spent on gifts to start saving up and making that dream a reality. Promise each other that you’ll each save a set amount every month so that your financial goals stay front and center.

By saving money instead of spending it on gifts, you’ll have something to look forward to as the months go by. You’ll be closer to taking that dream trip or making that big purchase together and be confident that you have the savings to make it happen. That’s a gift to each other you’ll never forget.

No matter what you have to spend on presents, these ideas for your significant other will make the season one to remember—and one that makes sense for your life, your relationship and your budget.


This site is for educational purposes. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

  1. AICPA (2021, February 4). Relationship Intimacy Being Crushed by Financial Tension: AICPA Survey. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210204005261/en/Relationship-Intimacy-Being-Crushed-by-Financial-Tension-AICPA-Survey
     

  2. Tolbert, A. (2021, November 2). How Much to Spend on a Gift for Your Significant Other. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from: https://pinholepress.com/blog/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-gift-for-your-boyfriend-or-girlfriend
     

  3. Curtis, J. (n.d.). 10 Romantic & Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Your Girlfriend or Wife. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from: https://www.moneycrashers.com/romantic-gift-ideas-girlfriend-wife/
     

  4. Freeman, Amy. (2020, November 25). 8 Ways to Handle Gift Giving on a Tight Budget. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from: https://www.moneycrashers.com/gift-giving-budget/

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