Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Teenagers

by Tracy · 2 comments

Teenagers are notorious for having expensive tastes in clothes, electronics and other accessories.  Here are a few affordable gift ideas that will make your teenage child, niece, nephew or family friend very happy this holiday season without putting you in the poor house.  Many of these ideas are for gift cards as teenagers have very fickle tastes and enjoy the opportunity to go shopping for themselves.

For Teens that Drive:

  • Gas station gift card for fill-ups and snacks.
  • Safety supplies for the car such as a first aid kit, flashlight or emergency blanket.
  • Car cleaning kit with a chamois and cleaning supplies such as wax and Armor All.

For Artistic Teens:

  • Gift card to a local arts and crafts store.
  • Art supplies, yarn, fabric, etc.
  • Magazine subscription related to their interests.

For Teens that Game

  • Steam gift certificate.
  • Prepaid time cards for their favorite games.
  • Magazine subscription to Game Pro or any other similar gaming magazine.

For Teens that Play Sports

  • Good quality water bottle.
  • Gift card to Sports Authority or a similar store that sells equipment for their sport/s.
  • Identification bracelet for runners/bikers.

For Teens Going off to College

  • Small appliances such as a coffee maker or iron.
  • A basic cookbook for beginners.
  • Grocery store gift card.

For all Teens:

Teenagers with a digital camera or access to the family’s photography equipment would appreciate a gift card to an online photo printing service such as Snapfish so that they can order prints, make scrapbooks or get other personalized items such as calendars and mugs.

If you have photos of the teen and his or her friends handy, a great, inexpensive gift idea is to frame them for the teen or start a photo album for them. If you are handy, there are many plans for making do-it-yourself bulletin boards, white boards and magnet boards that you could personalize with a few photos or mementos before wrapping and giving to your teen.

Most teenagers love to eat, so gift cards to fast food and casual dining restaurants as well as coffee shops would be welcome. Check your local grocery store or warehouse store to see about getting discounts on buying gift cards to restaurants and other stores. and iTunes gift cards are always popular and your teen can get a lot of music out of $10. Small denomination gift cards to drug stores and discount stores like Target and Wal-Mart are also very useful as many teens use them to buy grooming supplies and cosmetics.

Many kids still enjoy reading, so don’t forget the book store.  Perhaps you could pick a book that you enjoyed very much when you were a teen and inscribe it with a thoughtful message. Teens might seem gruff and surly on the outside, but on little gestures that show that you are reaching out to them mean so much.

Don’t forget the gift of your time. You can give your teen a coupon redeemable for all sorts of things. Are they learning to drive? Perhaps promise them a few outings chaperoning them. Or a trip to an art gallery, a cooking lesson, a visit to the zoo…put some thought into finding an activity that you and your teen would both enjoy. Time spent together is a gift that will last forever.

Bonus Tip:

Did you know that you can save money with Netflix? Even if you don't plan on using the service, you should at least sign up for the Netflix free trial here to get some free movies for a month.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura H February 17, 2011 at 12:54 am

I was going to point out all the really bad gift ideas in this article and explain why they’re bad ideas, but there are too many, so I’m going to pass on most of that. No cookbooks (unless you want them to think you’re nuts), no water bottles, no photo albums that they can make themselves (and if they wanted one, they already have), no in-case-you-get-hit-by-a-car bracelets, and no subscriptions to magazines that probably aren’t even worth reading despite being associated with the teen’s interests.

Yes, teenagers do have very fickle tastes, just like adults, and that’s why you just give them money, so they can make their own decisions about what they like and what they want. Some people are opposed to giving cash, believing it’s tacky and such. That’s fine. Go with a prepaid debit card from Chase. Even the gift cards mentioned would be fine, as long as you’re certain they’re for the right place. I had a friend who was into heavy metal and tattoos, and she once received a gift card to Macy’s. She didn’t know what to do with the thing.

Don’t waste your money or their time. You can’t go wrong giving the gift of yourself, or filling up their gas tanks and stomachs.

Online strategies April 3, 2011 at 12:38 am

The gift ideas are great. Satisfying a teenager with a suitable gift may seem to be a herculean task. But with some creativity in choosing the gift can make them happy.

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