Every time someone’s birthday or a special holiday comes up, I get anxious.

What should I get them that wouldn’t bust my wallet? But be something they’d actually like AND use?

The 1st question doesn’t worry me too much. I’d just find something under $30.

But the 2nd question — failing to achieve the “like” and the “use” of this whole gift giving business, does.


A story about gift-giving that I’ll never, ever, forget

I remember giving my friend, Melanie, a sterling silver necklace with a glittery “M” pendant. She’s a pretty classy girl who doesn’t mind flaunting her assets. So I figured this was a pretty solid gift because one, girls love nice blings. And two, this pendant carried her first initial.

But later on, I realized she never once wore it. Because one day when I accidentally bumped into her closet (I think she was in the bathroom at the time), something fell. There on the ground, to my sheer disappointment, was the necklace I’d gotten her — with the price tag still attached.

What I learned? 

Most gifts you get for people end up in their closet, only to collect dust, be thrown away, donated to charity, or given as a gift for another.

If they don’t see value in the things they’re given or can’t picture themselves using it, it’s nothing more than wasted space.

That’s why I’ve trained myself to think of more thoughtful gifts. By thoughtful, I really mean practical, affordable, works-for-pretty-much-anyone, gifts.

Hopefully, this list I have here will help you find a nice gift for your friends, your boss, your parents, whoever matters most to you.

1. Leather Notebook

Coffee brown leather notebook journal

Know someone who’s always sketching pictures, writing stories, or scribbling notes down? Even when they have the damn internet right at their hands? Perfect! Then they’ll love this vintage leather notebook!

Because whatever writing tool they use — let it be a calligraphy pen, brush marker, watercolor — the pages won’t bleed. This alone helps them produce higher quality work while boosting their creativity. Plus, if they ever run out of space, the old pages can be removed and replaced with new pages in just a couple seconds.

Simple, thin, and stylish, this notebook will impress even the most creative-driven individual.


  • 100% leather, 100% handmade, 100% quality
  • No knots in notebook = no interference when writing
  • Includes 3 inserts: blank, lined, and grid paper
  • Refillable, very easy to add new paper

Price: $20.99

2. Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Airtight Cold Brew Coffee Maker

I’m not sure about you, but more than half my friends drink coffee. In fact, they buy a cup everyday. That’s $3–5 less in their pocket!

So I thought to myself, why not get them MORE coffee while saving them MORE money?

Introducing….the cold brew coffee maker — a huge glass pitcher that serves real homemade coffee. It’s super simple. Just spoon the coffee grounds into the filter, pour boiling water, leave the pitcher into the fridge for 12–24 hours, and *BAM* you got smooth, delicious, cold brew coffee.


  • 100% sealing lid design (keeps your cold brew coffee fresher, for longer)
  • Durable, shatterproof glass pitcher brews up to 4–5 servings
  • Simple to use, convenient for the busy but obsessed coffee lover
  • 100% customer satisfaction 90-day guarantee

Price: $27.99

3. Magnetic Headphones

Acode Magnetic In-Ear Headphones

Everyone needs headphones — to listen to music, to the radio, to their favorite audiobooks. Or maybe to make important calls. That’s why it’s always nice to have a pair with you, especially one that delivers strong sound quality and is easy to carry around.

But what makes these headphones truly remarkable is their magnetic function. Meaning you can wear these headphones around your neck while you run, jump, dance, _____ (give me an action here!), and it won’t get tangled or lost in your hair.

Ain’t that sweet?


  • Earphones have special magnetic attraction, which makes it easy to keep them together on your neck
  • Powerful, noise canceling, high-quality sound
  • Built-in microphone with HD stereo quality for calls
  • Includes portable case + 3 pairs of adjustable earbuds
  • Works with any smartphone

Price: $13.99

4. Personal Blender

Hamilton Beach Personal Single Serve Blender with Travel Lid

Nowadays, people are living their own life. Cooking their own food. Finding their personal style. So why not let them blend their own drinks?

Thankfully, the geniuses behind these powerful beverage-whipping machines have already designed personal-size blenders — for those who only need one serving of juice, morning smoothies, protein shakes, etc. And just so you know, it has stainless steel blades to give you a smooth sip every time.

If you like, you can even take your cup and drink it at work or when you workout.


  • 14 oz capacity, perfect size to make a single serving protein shake, morning smoothie, milkshake, juice.
  • Doubles as a travel cup, since it includes a travel lid (convenient for drinking on-the-go)
  • Durable stainless steel blade for smoother blends
  • Fits most car cup holders

Price: $14.85

5. Letter Opener

Paul Revere Letter Opener

Okay, okay. Letter openers might not seem like an impressive gift. But if you think about it, how often do we open letters?

Point taken.

As much as our world is gradually shifting towards a digital lifestyle, there’re still a few businesses who reach us by letter. I’m talking about credit card companies, the DMV, the court, retail stores and restaurants. So with that said, why not dazzle someone’s day by making their letter opening experience more pleasant?

+1 point if you send them a follow-up note after giving them the letter opener. 😉


  • An elegant, sleek, nickel plated letter opener that doesn’t tarnish
  • A sharp edge to make easy and clean cuts
  • 9.25″ inches, great size to put in pen holder or inside a drawer

Price: $10.32

6. Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Etekcity RoverBeats Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Wouldn’t it be nice to play your music collection at your friend’s party? Outdoors in the woods? At the beach? When you’re showering? While meditating?

Well, with the existence of portable bluetooth speakers, you can!

Now you might think this mini-sized portable speaker can only deliver “mediocre” sounds at its best. But man, are you dead wrong. It actually pumps out pretty loud music within 33 feet without any static or break ups. Pretty incredible if you ask me.

So if music is your life and you value quality, this little guy won’t disappoint.


  • Palm-size speaker, easy to carry in your backpack, purse, or hand
  • Strong bluetooth connection range, up to 33 ft of wireless freedom
  • Unleashes powerful, crystal clear sound, for up to 8 hours
  • Includes build-in microphone for phone calls

Price: $22.99

6. Minimalist Wallet

Travelambo Slim Minimalist Wallet

Some people see a fat wallet as attractive. But today, the reverse is becoming the new trend.

Minimalistic wallets — slim, compact, sleek, lightweight, suitable for both men and women. These wallets make your life easy by keeping your cash at a minimum and speeding up purchases with the swipe of a card. Or speeding up payments to board the metro (if you live in a busy city).

Plus, you won’t attract those crafty pickpocketers since you got rid of that bulky back pocket bulge.


  • 100% cowhide leather wallet
  • Equipped with a silver lining to block RFID signals (secures safety of your ID, credit & debit cards)
  • Includes 6 card slots + larger pocket for money/receipts
  • Super stylish, slim, easy to carry

Price: $11.99

8. Keychain with Lightning Cable/Charger

Avantree Keychain with Short Lightning Cable & High Speed Data Sync Charge Cord

Remember those times when you totally forgot to bring your iPhone cable/charger to work? And you needed to transfer some pictures, videos, files from your phone to your computer? Or charge your dying phone?

Well bummers. 😒

If you had this handy little keychain though, you wouldn’t face this problem. EVER. Because you’ll always have this in your pocket along with your next precious asset: your keys.

What I like most about this keychain is how small and convenient it is. Not to mention, it charges and syncs just as fast as the original Apple cable/charger.


  • An extra power bank to attach with your keys
  • Transfer or charge your iPhone, iPad, any Apple devices on the go!
  • Fast charging and syncing, same quality as Apple lightning cable
  • Small size, stylish design

Price: $14.99

9. Compression Bags for Travel 

Acrodo Space Saver Compression Packing Bags

I know, it’s a pain in the a** to pack. Especially when we start shoving our fists into our bags. Thrusting our whole body on top to squeeze out any excess air. Then pinching our fingers (until it turns pink) to zip everything up.

But with compression bags, you won’t ever need to give your body an extra workout. All you need to do is put whatever you’re packing — jackets, sweaters, towels, pillows — into the bag, then zip and roll. It’s as easy as that!


  • Includes 5 jumbo + 5 large storage bags to fit all your clothes, blankets, towels, pillows, and more
  • No vacuum or pump required. Simply pack, zip, and roll!
  • 3x more packing capacity
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed

Price: $19.99

10. Canvas Sling Bag

Versatile Canvas Sling Bag / Travel Backpack | Wear Over Shoulder or Crossbody

Purses are nice, but they’ll never be as convenient (or safe) as carrying a backpack. Or a sling bag.

What’s great about this particular bag is its large capacity to fit multiple stuff: laptops, notebooks, smartphone, a jacket, a water bottle, all those tiny accessories. And no, this weight won’t tug your shoulders down. In fact, it’s very comfortable to wear. You’ll know when you try. 🙂

A great bag for travelers, hikers, students, and gym enthusiasts.


  • Plenty of compartments for gadgets, books, laptop and water bottle
  • Great for outdoor activities, travel, work, school
  • Includes cell phone pocket on front strap, so you can listen to music/make calls on the go
  • Extremely comfortable, water-resistant, lightweight
  • 100% lifetime guarantee

Price: $29.95

💡Still need more ideas?💡

Then check out my other post:
10 things under $25 that’ll (instantly) upgrade your life

🖐🏻 One last thing!

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So far, it has saved me a few bucks.

Woohoo, saved $8.90 on a Groupon deal!

Pretty sweet, ain’t it? 😉