15 BIRTHDAY GIFT IDEAS UNDER $50
Birthdays are a lot like Christmas – they come at the same time of year, on the same day, every year. You can schedule it in your calendar, to make sure you aren’t looking the fool and forgetting to send that card or that birthday gift basket to your friend or family member.
While it is understandable to want a big blowout for your spouse or child on a birthday, it is also in our nature to remember other family members and friends. We are generous by nature, so birthday cards often by themselves don’t cut it.
But if you are someone who likes to be generous but feels a need to be on a budget when it comes to gifts for friends, it can be difficult to find something practical, fun or unique for that “other’ special someone that does not break your budget.
However, we are here to help you out. We’ve done some research for you as a public service, and we’ve come up with 15 great birthday gift ideas under $50. Some of these are just plain cool, some are practical, some are truly unique and fun – and there could be one or two that meet more than one of these criteria. There are lots of other options out there, but these are what we think are some of the best options you might find for a tight budget – that are not gift cards.
Time to put away the gift cards and get creative again!
1. Is There an Echo in Here?
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the existence of a “smart home.” Thanks to this Amazon Echo Dot device, the smart home concept is even closer than you might realize. Retailing at about $40 currently, this small device uses the Alexa virtual assistant for not only voice activation, but the device can also answer questions, look up recipes, set an alarm, play music, and even tell jokes. No guarantee the jokes will be funny, though.
2. Get a Charge Out of This!
For those of us who are very mobile-oriented (which is most of us), you can get a step closer to never getting the “low battery” notification on your phone or tablet ever again. A $50 device called a JUMP cable by Native Union is not only a charging cable, but it also has a portable battery charger, which can add 30% battery life to your mobile device. The battery pack has both ends of a USB, so it can be plugged into any charger virtually anywhere. The days of low battery are over!
3. Odyssey with Words
Do you have a creative type in your life, who loves to express emotions? For $50, you can buy him or her an Odyssey Journal from Karma Bliss. This small journal allows a person to write his or her deepest thoughts, emotions and ideas, and yet it has zippers to protect and incubate those thoughts and ideas for future action, without worrying about other people peeking in where they are not wanted. This journal could be confused for a CD carrying case or fancy square wallet.
4. Can You Hear Me Now?
When you are in a house with multiple people, and multiple tastes in music or movies or TV shows, the use of headphones or earbuds can save everyone headaches and noise conflicts with different sounds coming from different rooms. Plattan 2 headphones by Urban Ears can fit the bill for $49, and they have the bonus of being usable as earmuffs when winter hits.
5. Fashionable Conservation
Just by itself, it’s a pretty cool T-shirt with a wildlife design on it. But J Crew’s Wildlife Conservation T-shirt for $45 is that price for two reasons: First, because it’s a quality item with the J Crew name on it; and second, because proceeds from sales of the shirt go to whale conservation through the Wildlife Conservation Society.
6. Music to the Ears
It was not that long ago that Logitech got critical acclaim for its X100 speaker, due to its strong sound, its versatility to be Bluetooth-attached to computers, smartphones, and tablets, back when it retailed for nearly $60. However, you can now find it for around $30, and improve your musical experience through your home via your mobile device.
7. A Tea Party
Who thought tea would have a technological edge to it? Brewing loose-leaf tea can be a challenge if you try to do it yourself. Those leaves get everywhere, and it’s difficult to filter them out and maintain strong flavor while heating the water. But on Amazon.com you can find a loose-leaf tea kettle for boiling water and making hot green, mint or some other loose-leaf tea for $45. It is a nice option for the tea aficionado (or Brit) in your life.
8. Light Up My Life
Remotes are all the rage these days, such that we have small keyless entry remotes with our car keys, and we can turn our smartphone or tablet into a remote-control device. And with the WeMo switch for $50, you can turn on lamps and lights in your home remotely from anywhere using an app on your smartphone. The app can also allow you to set a timer – turn your house lights off at bedtime, or make sure your curling iron turns off at 7:30 in the morning when you’re running late.
9. Don’t Lose Your Mind, Either
Who doesn’t struggle with misplaced things? Whether it’s our car keys, our earbuds, our smartphone, our wallet … there are any number of items that all of us have misplaced at one time or another. With Bluetooth-enabled Tile attached to your commonly lot item (retails for $25), you can use your smartphone (or someone else’s, if you lose yours) and the Tile app to locate your lost item. And if you lost it while traveling, there is a community feature that will activate every Tile tracking device worldwide to help you find the item, like if you left it in the hotel room or on the beach at your last vacation.at your last vacation.
10. A Pocket of Clarity
We all have a woman in our families (or maybe it’s you!) who always seems to have too big a purse, and smaller items like lipstick and chapstick get lost and are next to impossible to find again, because they were in the bottom of the purse instead of in their own little side pocket. Now, with a Clarity Pouch by onetruffle.com for $42, you can store all your smaller items in the bottom of the purse and not risk losing them – and you can see through the pouch to know what is in it! The pouch can also be taken out and used at TSA checkpoints at the airport, so it’s great for your travel-size shampoo and toothpaste.
11. Slay the Electricity Bug
We all know that we let “phantom” electricity in the house when we keep chargers plugged into the wall, and those fractions of kilowatts add up. And they add up even more when your portable device is fully charged and yet you keep it plugged in. The Powerslayer “smart” USB cable for $30 does two things to save you electricity: It charges your mobile device twice as fast as “normal” USB chargers, and it automatically turns off when the device is fully charged. Think about how much more efficient your electric bill will be if you charged every device in your house this way?
12. What’s for Dinner? Let’s Roll the Dice
Sometimes we have a hard time planning ahead for dinner. The workday gets long and we really aren’t up for thinking about dinner. Foodie Dice for $34 on Etsy can be a cute way to make a dinner menu, or even set up a grocery list based on what might go well together. Roll the dice and see what comes up, and your dinner plan is set!
13. Get on Fire
If you love Amazon Prime for its video streaming, or if you are big in e-books (or know someone who is), spend $50 and buy an Amazon Fire tablet. It has a 7-inch screen and is a good beginner model for the Kindle reader who doesn’t like reading off the phone, and is good for streaming Netflix or Amazon Prime video easily, with great resolution and color for the price.
14. The Force is Strong in These
For this one, we give you two ideas for the price of one, with a Star Wars theme. For your Jedi wannabe, how about some Star Wars Light Up chopstick sabers, that look much like what Vader and Luke fought with? These are available at thinkgeek.com for $15. For those who love selfies, there is a lightsaber selfie stick available for $20 that telescopes to up to 40 inches in length, has a handle like a lightsaber and is spring-loaded to hold your smartphone securely. You can also attach the phone to the stick and use a button on the stick to activate the shutter.
15. A Tower of Love
For the loved one with a sweet tooth, you can’t really go wrong with a gourmet gift basket of treats. Here, though, for less than $40, Broadway Basketeers provides a Happy Birthday Gift Tower with a guaranteed on-time delivery (or shipping is free). Various treats like caramels, popcorn, Almond Roca chocolates and others can be the perfect gift for that loved one hundreds of miles away.
These are some of the fun and creative ideas for a birthday gift for a friend or family member, for those times when you don’t want to bail out of gift-giving by sending a gift card or a check in the mail. If you actually send a gift, that alone will make you remembered – and if the gift is something practical and useful, it can be memorable for years!