5 Gifts That Don’t Cost a Penny but are Worth a Million

painted rock last minute gifts

5 Gifts that Don’t Cost Much

Some of my favorite gifts don’t cost much. They are the gifts that are filled with appreciation and love.  And, I guarantee they be cherished by the recipient long after the holidays are over.

These 5 gifts that don’t cost much all have three things in common:

  • No money required. You will not have to spend a penny. They can all be made with a few supplies that you should have on hand. 
  • Your time. They all include you giving our most valued resource, your time.
  • Small Actions. They are all small, meaningful gestures that make a huge impact.

You can use these 5 gifts that don’t cost ideas and give as a coupon, or wrapped as a gift under the tree.  However you choose to present them, they are all gifts that focus on relationships instead of “stuff.”

1) Schedule a call

Skip the online messages and give a real, live, uninterrupted phone call. You can give a coupon that includes a schedule or a date to call every week at the same time, or on an agreed upon time throughout the year. This gift brought my dad to tears one year. It’s the perfect gift for those on your list who don’t live close by, or you don’t get to see often. Or in the case of my dad, he just loved to have a nice chat with me once a week. So simple and so appreciated.

2) Do a good deed

This one involves making a card or handmade coupon that describes a service you will do. It can be running an errand, baby or pet sitting, giving a ride, making a meal or doing a chore that they hate to do (the dishes, cook a meal, clean a closet).  This gift of your time and service and is always a big hit.

3) Write a personal note

Write a simple note to let a friend, team member, client, colleague or boss know how they have made a difference in your life. Be specific and authentic. Include a photo if you have one.  In the age of text and email, the hand-written word is especially powerful and appreciated.

4) Volunteer for a favorite charity

Pick a favorite charity and volunteer in your recipient’s honor.  You can chose the food bank, an animal shelter, or their favorite local charity.  Send them a note or card describing the work you will do. You can present this in a card or you can be more creative. Try making a simple wreath ornament from construction or other scrap paper. Write the year on the front in glitter pen, and on the back describes the charity you are donating your services to.

5) Write a word of inspiration

Look in your garden, at a local beach, or anywhere you may find an interesting smooth stone to write on. Write a word, or words, on it in a sharpie pen that reminds you of them,  a special date, words of inspiration, or simply “I love you.”  You can write on more than one stone to give a small collection (or give a new one each year to build a collection).

More than Just a Gift

Try one of these ideas that focus on your relationship and your appreciation and gratitude, or come up with your own variation.  Remember to keep it personal and to have a plan to follow through with your gift.

A gift of appreciation and gratitude may just be one of the favorite gifts your loved one will receive this year.


Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach and expert in workplace communications. She is the owner and CEO of Cornerstone Coaching & Training, dedicated to helping individuals, work groups and organizations become better communicators and leaders. She is the author of 2 books on communication, and a newly published journal Intentional Gratitude

Cornerstone hosts a twice-annual Women’s Summit that brings women together to learn how to become more confident communicators.

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Want to connect with other women learning how to communicate with confidence? Join my free group here.

gratitude journal

You can order my new journal “Intentional Gratitude” here. It’s filled with prompts and places to doodle and discover new ways embrace gratitude in your life. It also makes a great gift!

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