Where to get cheap gifts without appearing to be cheap.

There are times when buying second-hand is not really an option; office or holiday gift exchanges are one of them. Here are my top picks for frugal gifts, all around $25. I’ve chosen these based on their thoughtfulness, utility, and value. As a gift giver, I don’t want to appear “cheap”. But I also don’t want to give something that is useless and creates more “stuff” in this world. Many of these are gifts that I’ve personally given to others, including in-laws and office colleagues. Today is also a good day to do some online shopping as many shops have a massive 12-12 Sale.  

Christmas Gift Ideas – $4 to $30

  1. Massager similar to the Osim uPAPA Hug (Qoo10)

Who doesn’t like shoulder and back massages? A similar product that Osim once produced was selling for over $260. This item is comparable but sells on Qoo10 for only $14.90 (there is an additional $3.99 for shipping). This is one of my favorite well-being gifts. Even if the recipient doesn’t use it much, he/she may know someone who needs it. A used model can still fetch a good price on the secondary market.  

  1. Blood Pressure Monitor (Qoo10)

Most households can benefit from having one of these, especially since 1 in 4 Singaporeans (ages 30 to 69) have high blood pressure (some don’t even know it yet!). Forget the over $100 models at pharmacies or personal care stores like Unity and Watsons. This $16 model (with free shipping!) from Qoo10 does the same job and is just as accurate (I know because I have tested it against the $100+ models). Having a blood pressure monitor means you can measure how different things affect your blood pressure (level of sodium intake, stress, certain foods, certain times of the day, weight gain/loss, even talking to a particular person, etc.) and that knowledge can be empowering, allowing someone to make more informed lifestyle modifications and medication decisions.  

  1. A Bonjour Glass French Press (Qoo10)

Similar to the $70+ french presses (from Bodum), this one sells for only $12.90 on Qoo10. It makes for a good gift for coffee lovers, and it’s a very low tech way of making coffee (especially iced coffee) and making sure your coffee doesn’t get that burnt taste.  

  1. Christmas Durian Log Cake (Groupon)

700g D24 Fantasy Durian Log Cake at Emicakes – $29.90 Click on photo

This is one of the least expensive log cakes around, it’s a durian log cake from Emicakes no less! With this Groupon voucher, you can get this 700g cake for just $29.90 (U.P. $57.80), which is almost half off the usual price! There are a few other log cakes on Groupon that are around the same price (the cheapest is just $16.80!), so do check them out.  

  1. Braun Oral B Advance Power Electric Toothbrush (Groupon)

Braun Oral B Advance Power Electric Toothbrush – $19.90 Click on photo

For only $19.90 (U.P. $69.90), you can get an electric toothbrush that includes batteries and free delivery. Hopefully the recipient will think that you care about his/her oral health, rather than suggesting that the recipient has bad breath, but if that were the case, he/she would also be offended if you gave perfume or cologne as a gift.  

  1. Bluetooth Smart Watch for iOS & Android (Groupon)

Bluetooth Smart Watch for iOS & Android – $27.90 Click on photo

Just shy of $25, this smart watch is still a great value at $27.90 on Groupon (U.P. $89.90). It’s great for gadget and tech lovers, while still being “affordable”. It also includes free shipping.  

  1. 107-Piece First Aid Kit (Lazada)

First aid kits are great to have around the home or in the car, especially if you have kids or accident-prone adults (like myself). Again, this is another “I care about you and your health” type of gifts. BONUS OFFER: If you pay using your DBS/POSB card, you can save an additional 12% (capped at $30); if you pay by MasterPass, you can save an additional 8% (capped at $25). This applies to all items on Lazada (some exclusions apply) and is only valid today.  

  1. TruLife LingZhi Immunity Set (10x50g) (Lazada)

From Lazada at only $22.45 (U.P. is $44.90), this concentrated health supplement drink set helps to strengthen a person’s immune system, regulate healthy sleeping cycles and stress levels, improve eye health, and regulate the body’s natural detoxification ability.  

  1. LCD Digital Infrared Thermometer (Lazada)

You save 75% (U.P. $66) on this digital infrared thermometer which can be used in the ear or on the forehead. It’s suitable for both children and adults (I suppose you can also use it on pets if you don’t want to stick a thermometer into your pet’s you-know-what). This is another great useful well-being gift to give others to show them that you are concerned for their health.  

  1. 30 Grid Storage Box (Lazada)

Nice storage boxes are usually expensive, but this one is on sale at $23.05 on Lazada (U.P. $34.58). It’s great for hobbyists who can store their arts and crafts materials, for students to store their school supplies, or for the workplace to store office supplies. I personally have a few of these and I use them to store anything from batteries to buttons to electronic parts for my arduino.  

  1. Omega-3 Premium Fish Oil – 100 Softgels (iHerb)

At just $7, this is my go-to stocking stuffer and “emergency” gift (for times when someone gives me a gift, unexpectedly). Just about everyone knows the benefits of fish oil. But in Singapore, fish oil is quite expensive. A similar bottle at Watsons or Guardian would cost at least $25. If you buy online from iHerb, you’ll have to pay shipping ($4), but it’s a flat rate so consider stocking up on these stocking stuffers. And if you use my referral link, you can receive $5 off your first purchase (for new customers only) by entering the code FUZ092 at checkout.  

  1. Shoes (Zalora)

Although I usually buy clothing second-hand, used shoes that fit me are not so easy to find. Fortunately, Zalora has a few choices that are reasonably priced. They make good gifts too if you happen to know the size the recipient wears. Here are a few pairs of shoes that I’ve found that are inexpensive on Zalora. In addition, I have posted many FREE $10 Zalora coupon codes on the Frugal in Singapore Facebook page. These coupons are good for one-time use only (once the code is used by someone, it can no longer be used by anyone else), on a first-come, first-serve basis, and do not require a minimum spending amount. That means all the above items would be FREE if you use the coupon code (all you have to do is pay for shipping)!  

  1. Skinfood Mandarin & Sheabutter Hand Cream (Zalora)

Here’s another free* gift you can buy when you use the FREE $10 Zalora coupon code from the Frugal in Singapore Facebook page. It also makes for a nice stocking stuffer or “emergency” gift.  

  1. Photoshoot (Deal SG)

I think photoshoots can make great gifts because they are fun to do with your family or a group of friends, as they capture precious moments. With this one-hour photoshoot deal from Deal SG, you get to take home 5 edited soft copies – all for just $15. It’s very likely that during the photoshoot, the company will try to upsell and hard sell you other add-ons and services. If your intention is just do the one-hour shoot and purchase only 5 soft copies, then be prepared to firmly tell the salesperson that you need time to think it over when they start to hard sell (please refer to my previous post entitled “How to Get Out of a Hard Sell“).  

  1. $11.90 Onwards For 1 Day Unlimited Playtime (Deal SG)

At only $11.90, this Deal voucher gives kids a day of unlimited play at Kaboodle Kids. It also gives their parents a bit of a break too. Just have your kids go wild and then when they’re all calm and tired, and have worked off all the extra sugar they’ve eaten from those holiday treats, they can go home and sleep tight.  

  1. $3.90 For 6″ x 6″ Photobook Square With 48 Worth Of Pages (Deal SG)

Lastly, this one-of-a-kind gift is only $3.90 (excludes shipping) from Deal SG. These personalised photobooks make fabulous gifts, but they require some work on your part. Fortunately, Pixajoy has an easy-to-use photo editor as well as free pre-designed theme templates so that all you have to do is choose your favourite photos.  

  1. $26.72 USD For Corelle Livingware 16-Piece Dinnerware Set, Winter Frost White (Amazon)

This Correlle 16-piece set normally sells here in Singapore for $100. You can get the same exact set from Amazon for $26.72 USD (approximately $37 SGD). If your order total is over $125, you can get it shipped for free without needing to pay additional tax or import fees. Corelle dinnerwear is known for its durability and space-saving design. The material is microwaveable, and break, scratch, and chip resistant. I personally have a set of these and despite using them everyday for the last 10 years, they still look brand new.  

  1. $24.99 USD For GreenLife 11 Inch Ceramic Non-Stick Wok with Soft Grip (Amazon)

These ceramic woks are now replacing those old teflon pans, as they’re considered to be safer and free of potentially harmful toxic substances. In Singapore, I’ve seen similar ceramic woks sell for almost $100. This one from GreenLife is only $24.99 USD ($35 SGD) on Amazon. It also qualifies for free international shipping if your order total is over $125.   Do you have any other ideas for frugal gifts? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment with your recommendations.

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