9 Gifts for Moms, Dads, Grads, and Beyond When You’re on a Budget

9 Gifts for Moms, Dads, Grads, and Beyond When You’re on a Budget

Ready to shake off the last reminders of winter? Hold up! Before you dive head-first into spring showers and flowers, get prepped with a list of creative gift ideas for all the season’s present-perfect occasions.

This gift idea list will help you get ready for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, and every birthday in between. Keep reading for our best budget gifts for everyone you love this spring and beyond.

gifts for MomFor the Mom Who’s Always Busy in the Kitchen

Your mother didn’t need to go to culinary school to be a master in the kitchen. For years, you’ve savored her home-cooked creations. Now is the perfect opportunity to dish up a present she’ll really appreciate.

Try a reusable shopping bag stocked with all the ingredients needed to make her favorite meal—along with the promise to cook it up together (or to give her a night off)

For the Dad Who’s Ready to Retire

Just like students trying to get through senior year, parents staring down retirement are often itching to ditch the 9-to-5 life and move on to their next chapter. Is he getting burnt out from his job? Keep him motivated, no matter what.

Try a thumb drive packed with motivational playlists that he can plug into his car’s stereo on the way to work. For mass transit commuters, pick up an inexpensive MP3 player, instead.

For the New Grad Who Wants to Go Globetrotting

You don’t have to shell out for plane tickets to help a would-be jetsetter take to the skies. Whether your grad is planning on road-tripping, backpacking, or another “-ing” entirely, think small as you send them off into the world.

Try a set of walking tours that cater to your young traveler’s personal interests and the locations they’re headed to. Write ‘em down neatly in a small journal they can take with them and use to write about their experiences abroad.

For the Surrogate Mom Who’s Always There for You

Pick a gift that will make them think of you—and how much you treasure them—whenever they see it. Look for gifts that will last a few years and play to your surrogate mother’s interests.

Try a flowering plant with hidden meaning or a fragrance or candle that has similar connotations

For the Professional Who’s Moving Up in the World

Got a grad who’s leveling up their career with a new degree? Show them you support their big ambitions with a gift that will enhance every first impression.

Try an elegant writing instrument like a fountain pen. A fine pen provides extra polish to at-the-office turnout and makes others sit up and take notice.

For the Student Who Always Gives It Their All

Need a reward for a kid who’s always bringing home great grades? Whether you’re a friend or a family member, set aside the played-out Dr. Seuss books and snag something a little more creative for your favorite scholar.

Try an all-A’s gift basket. Stock it with goodies that start with the letter “A.” Think: an App Store gift card, a pile of Almond Joy candy bars, and couple books by A-mazing authors. We like Jane Austen, Isaac Asimov, and Margaret Atwood.

gifts for DadFor the Father Figure Who Loves Sports

Whether his team is winning or losing, you can grab a gift that’s sure to put a smile on his face. This year, opt for a little quality time instead of shelling out for primo seats or big-ticket experiences.

Try a sports-themed gift that nods toward yesteryear. For the auto addict, take him go-karting. For the golfer, take him to miniature golf course. For the baseball lover, grab him a new mitt and promise a pick-up game. Don’t forget the Cracker Jacks!

For the Parent Who Is Endlessly Creative

Tinker, painter, writer, musician: No matter what your parent is dreaming up these days, we have just the thing to spark a bit of joy on their birthday—or any day, really.

Try a new, eclectic source of inspiration. Look for books or magazines that focus on far-flung objects, artists, or cultures that your creative isn’t yet familiar with. Or, if they’re not totally tech-savvy, consider making them an inspo-centric Instagram or Tumblr account. Follow a diverse array of users so that your giftee will never be short on lightbulb moments.

gardening giftsFor the Friend Who Can’t Get Enough of the Great Outdoors

We all have a pal who’s happier soaking up the sunshine than doing just about anything indoors. Whether you’ve got an adventurer or a flower child to shop for this spring, consider shucking your shoes and joining them outside on their big day. Hey, grass feels great underfoot!

Try an excursion that your friend has been meaning to do for ages but hasn’t gotten around to. Picnic in a nearby national park. Kayak through local waterways. Tour a bird sanctuary. Reserve a plot in a community garden. Drive out into the country so you can see the stars. Rent mountain bikes and take to the trails.

No matter which gift recipient is on your list this spring, remember that the key to a thoughtful gift is paying attention to the details rather than focusing on dollar signs. Any present has the potential to be a great one, regardless of how much you spend.

And do us one teeny little favor, okay? Don’t wait until the last minute! Trust us, once the season kicks off, these gift-giving occasions will come up fast. Start tuning in now to your loved one’s favorite things and must-haves. Keep a notebook and a ballpoint pen in your daily carry so that you can scribble down gift ideas that hit you on the fly.

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