If you have lots of friends and family members having babies, you’ve probably realized that the cost of baby shower gifts can quickly add up, especially if you’re opting to give cute designer baby duds.
However, baby gifts don’t necessarily have to break the bank. No etiquette rule says you have to spend a certain amount on a baby shower gift (or on a baby gift given after birth).
As The Emily Post Institute staff wrote a while back, “there’s no requirement” that a baby shower gift “must come from the registry or cost a certain amount.” In fact, some of the most meaningful and appreciated gifts won’t cost you that much.
Here are seven such great (and cheap) baby shower gifts to consider if you’re on a budget.
1. The Basics. If there’s one thing new parents really need and want, it’s diapers and other relatively inexpensive newborn necessities like wipes, baby shampoo, onesies and baby clothes. As blogger “Post Emily Post” aptly pointed out on her site, “the most-appreciated gifts are the practical ones. . . even if the parents don’t know it yet.” To make these items feel a bit more like gifts, you can present them in a diaper cake or as a “baby care package.”
2. Babysitting or Housework Help. After the basics, what many new parents most need is childcare and household help. So give a gift certificate offering a night of your babysitting services or help with laundry or other housework. As The Emily Post Institute staff writes, such certificates are “priceless gifts” that “won’t cost you much more than your time.”
3. A Homemade Meal. New parents have their hands filled, so they need all the help they can get with feeding themselves. As Amiyrah, who blogs at 4 Hats and Frugal, pointed out in a helpful post on “frugal baby shower gift ideas,” “new moms tend to not have much time to cook a quality meal, so you can offer up your services there.” If cooking is your thing, consider giving a certificate for a post-birth homemade meal, whether it’s one you drop off (along with a card and a bottle of wine) or cook at the new parents’ home.
4. A Favorite Board Book or Favorite Inexpensive Toy. Board books make great cheap gifts. To add a personal touch to such a gift, give two or three that were your baby’s favorites, or your favorites from your childhood, and explain the story behind the book gifts in your card. Another similar idea is to give an inexpensive toy (think in the $10 to $15 range) that is, or was, a favorite of your little one.
5. A Meaningful Onesie. These days, you can find a onesie that says pretty much anything for $10 or less, so consider giving one that displays something meaningful to the couple, like their hometown or school mascot, as the staff at The Emily Post Institute suggests.
6. Homemade Baby Gear. If you’re crafty, consider making a gift, like knitting or sewing a baby blanket, or creating a homemade baby advice book with your favorite tips. Other homemade baby gear gift ideas include making a memory box for storing baby mementos, as TheDollarStretcher.com suggests.
7. Clearance Items. Finally, be sure to check out the clearance and sale sections at local and online baby and dollar stores for cute items at discount prices.
You can find more baby gift advice over at Hint Mama, including ideas for 2nd (3rd or 4th) baby gifts, advice on waste-of-money products to skip buying and details on inexpensive toys that may work as gifts. What are your favorite budget baby shower gifts?