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Share YOUR Frugal Gift Ideas for Teenagers

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Hipsters! Check out this email from reader Nicole…

I know there are some Hipsters out there that have teenagers to buy for this holiday that could give some suggestions on nice frugal gift ideas. Could you do a post on that topic?

SO, if you’re buying gifts for a teenager this holiday season (that’s me!) and have suggestions for nice yet frugal gift ideas, please share your ideas in the comments section below. Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Comments 157

  1. Kate

    We give movie tickets from Costco with everyone’s favorite candy to our extended family. I think it’s a great gift for teenagers who spend their own money when going out with friends. A two pack movie ticket is around $14-$15.

  2. thehenrydthoreau

    A donation to a cause they support. We have to role model through gifts sometimes

  3. Diane

    I am buying sterling silver earring from JCP. They are usually on sale for under $20.00. I try to pair them with a 10/10 coupon whenever I am lucky enough to receive one. I also try to purchase Bath and Body Works Lotions when they are $3.00. BBW does have a small section for men. This year because we have had some great coupons I have added Yankee Candles as well. I was surprised to find out there are a number of men who like candles.

    • khushboo

      Oh oh i love your ideas! You cant go wrong with tiny earings if you are shopping for me or even body lotions. But i have a big enough collection of body lotions like most people my age, so maybe pass on that.

  4. Amy

    I got my 16 year old a $50 McDonald’s gift card from raise. I only paid $26!
    Also earbuds are huge, fleece pajamas, clothes on clearance from American eagle and clearance shoes from

    • Bunny

      Be very careful giving Raise gift cards. I bought two discounted $50 cards at Panera. The first one had a zero balance and the second one had a zero balance (when in actuality, had $12 left). We won’t be using them anymore ๐Ÿ™

      • Swirlypop

        Me to Bunny. Ordered 6 cards, 3 of them had a zero balance. Customer service is nice and refunded the money but what a pain to have to call and sort it out.

      • Kerrie Collins

        I had the same experience. I had bought the card as a gift. I’m so glad I checked the balance before I gave a $7 gift card instead of $50!

    • Sharon Brown

      Dunkin Donuts cards are great. They can download the app on their phones and score free coffee and tea.

  5. Jennifer

    Gift cards to fast food chains such as McDonald’s can go a long way with teenagers.

  6. j

    I know my teenage sister in law would love a Sephora gift card. But her grades suck, so pajamas it is ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Heather C.

      LOL! Love it

  7. khushboo

    I’m thinking about my teenage cousin who loves her candles and brow pencils. I might buy her something from colorpop (teenagers love colorpop!) or a nice candle from bath and bodyworks or yankees. If it’s a guy, get him socks lol. They are always losing socks! Or maybe a deodorant. God knows they need those things!
    I got my brother a very $15 remington shaver from kohls that comes with one year warranty. Maybe try to find a similar deal, i guess. He’s 20, though. Not a teenager anymore but still very careless about personal grooming.
    I know a nice bodywash or deodrant is always a perfect gift for him and my dad though. You really cant go wrong with that.

  8. Kristy

    Give them some of your freebies(Chapstick , make up, etc.) and $5 gift cards to places they like, Starbucks, McDonald’s etc

    • khushboo

      Lol thats just cheap now. You are that cheap great aunt that nobody really likes.

      • Polly

        Couldn’t disagree with ya anymore, khushboo. I would freaking love all that stuff Kristy said! I wish she was my Aunt…

        • Stephanie

          Me too Kristy!

      • Heather C.


      • Jamie

        Lmfao too true

    • quira628

      Great idea my daughter usually takes all my 5 and 10 gift cards to hang with her friends after school which I love since I don’t have to worry about her losing her money, being robbed or misplacing her debit card again. She is $15 & love GC of any value

      • Katrina

        $15?! Can I buy her as a babysitter for my Lil ones? Lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • stephanie

      Kristy, I think that’s a great idea. I would’ve loved to get those items as a teenager.

  9. ellen

    If your theater does a refillable popcorn bucket get them one of those and some movie tickets. For girls, try Birchbox. My sister got a 3 month subscription for each of her bridesmaids. It worked out for me. As a makeup minimalist, I didn’t have to buy much makeup for her wedding. I loved some of the hair products that came in it. For boys, maybe one of those blue tooth speakers for the shower. I also love giving kids an ornament each year so when they move out they have enough stuff to put on their first tree.

    • Christina

      I recently got a 3 month subscription to birch box for my bridesmaids when they had a sale ( I believe it was 25 or 30% off subscriptions). Glad to hear it was received well.

  10. laureen

    As a big sister to 7 brothers and sisters ages 5-21 I found that everyone always likes earbuds. Since my sister is the only one that is old enough to work (Everyone else is 15 and under) i get them everyday stuff i always wanted but couldn’t go out and buy. And earbuds/earphones ALWAYS break. Books, a couple of small gift cards for whatever place they like, and this year battery power packs.

    I also think pajamas are the way to go! I took advantage of the BOGO free sale to get me, my mom, and sisters pjs from kmart. Now i just have to buy some for my brothers. I hope to get a picture of use wearing holiday pjs with with my son (and hopefully my husband if he’ll give in) this year.

  11. Anna

    Great ideas! Thank you! Very off topic- does anyone know of a great deal for Christmas photo cards? A girlfriend just got ours in the mail (compliments of a hip2save promo posted :)) and was asking… Thank you!!

    • imiconnect

      I just got a great deal on next-day photo cards from Staples via Groupon. I’m not sure if this deal is available in your area, but I know Groupon is currently offering photo card deals from several companies, so hopefully one is available where you live.

      • Jen

        Be careful of the Staples deal – envelopes not included! I got mine from Picaboo via Groupon. 100 cards for $38 minus a 30% off code (!) I found online + ebates!

    • stephanie

      Here’s Shutterfly offers you can use both codes at:
      $20 off holiday card-KEAB-90BS-X1FE-AGX0EC
      Free shipping-KEAC-90PX-KENK-EW4PX6

  12. Susan S.

    I asked my daughter to provide me a list of specific items she wanted…Our tastes differ so much, and her tastes & interests change weekly lol. In the past I have bought things I thought she would LOVE, only to have her tell me it wasn’t her style as nicely as she could lol.
    So she was told to make a list using the internet (kohls, amazon, bath & body works, target etc.) with links to specific items for her wish list, then I decided what to purchase based on the deals I could find.
    But for teens, I would say Bath & Body works etc or anything perfume/cologne related. Itunes/Google play/Amazon or Xbox GC’s etc. Their fave grooming & beauty products that may be a bit spendier that you don’t normally buy them. Gift cards to their fave clothing stores (I never DARE pick out clothing or shoes for my teens!!!) Earbuds (I buy moderately priced ones, since they break so frequently…cheapies break quicker, expensive ones eventually break too!) Their fave snack items (my daughter requested a big bag of pistachios!)
    My teen is happier when she gets items from her wish list; and she is still happy to receive any gift at all! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Jennifer

    Do they have a favorite ball team? NFL earbuds, gas gift cards, iTunes gift cards, red box gift codes( good for everybody),theater gift cards, hygiene care packages(floss, toothbrushes, purell), subway or starbucks gift cards. Girls like gift cards for a mani/pedi. A cute throw for lounging. Kinda depends on the teens interests.

  14. Liz Ob

    For the girls in my family I got slipper socks and an opinion nail polish sample set. For the boys I got the axe shower gel deal from target and use bonus cash from jcpenney to them some v neck tshirt to pair with the shower gel

  15. Cat

    My teenage sons’ favorite gifts was the one their youngest brother came up with one year–he filled a gift bag with all their favorite snack foods and drinks, and put a note on it that said “to save you a trip to the kitchen when you are playing video games”. This could be done easily with coupons and BOGO sales.

    • quira628

      This is so cool cat. Thanks for the tips. My kids can gift each other this way. Cool!!!!

  16. Rose

    I crochet Items for my teen niece who is 14. Like hats and other things.

  17. quira628

    If you have a five below, family dollar or dollar tree. You can do basket of toiletries or make up and nail polish kits. Which I have done and purchased blue tooth speaker for $5 from five and below. I also did inexpensive headphones from a past h2s deal.

  18. laura

    I will be getting my son a sticker for his car to get into the state and metro parks. He likes to go hiking,sledding,mountain biking and all that good. Good for all year.

    • Patty

      Great idea

  19. Serena

    My son is 13 and he completely understands that going used can mean more for him. He is into graphic novels and that is the only way to really get him any quantity.

    • Heather C.

      Thats awesome… Ive been trying to teach my husband and 11 year old the same thing!

  20. Hannah

    Adult coloring books, colored pencils, a sharpener, and a pencil box.. That’s what all the girls (teenage and adult) in my family are getting!

  21. Sarah C

    Some have already posted…try to start for next Christmas Dec 26 the $5 target gc stash away, buy roller skates w a gc/paid passes for it…any activities bowling parks ect, SHOWER speaker—less that $10 on Amazon now I’ve asked several 12-20 year olds girl/boy and all love that idea. Samples from bumble and bumble or target beauty box ect ect. Those AXE, shave ect sets they love. Make your own. College kids LOVE things they need tp…subscription boxes. Itunes gc are always a hit. Tons if cute ways to do money (use $1s) on Pinterest. Find out a little about them…tailor a gift tote to them

  22. Sarah C

    Amazon also has led string like lights that can be programmed w remote for $20ish a few teens thought that was cool

  23. TJ

    I have four kids (two are teens) and they are easy enough for me to buy for. However, I randomly picked tags off of the angel tree at church and got two girls…17 and 18. You aren’t allowed to get them food or gift cards and I wasn’t given any info other than their name and age. I was stumped. I ended up getting them each a fuzzy blanket at Old Navy ($5 each), an adult coloring book (7.99 each at Target), colored pencils (already had brand new packs at home), and a POP makeup set off Amazon (12.99 each). My teen daughter thought I did good!
    For a teen boy I would say Nike Elite socks. Yes, $15 IS expensive for one stinkin’ pair of socks but if $15 is in your budget, they would be thrilled. My 16yo also likes socks or underwear from American Eagle.

    • Amy

      Every one likes puma socks in our family ๐Ÿ˜‰ I totally get it

      • TJ

        Haha, yes, or Puma socks!:) My bff’s son LOVES Puma anything.

      • Tammy

        I will have to try them. I have been getting Adidas socks when I have the $10 off anything at Penney’s and Kohl’s if I don’t have anything else I am looking for. Nice socks for their stockings.

  24. Pamela Cooke Corkum

    I buy either an ITunes gift card or Google Play for my teenagers. They use it to buy their favorite songs.

  25. laura

    Memberships to AAA….peace of mind for everybody! My grandparents give them to all drivers in the family and they say they can sleep at night without worrying about us. I love getting it every year….it seems like I lock myself out of my car at least once a year, lol.

    • juice

      I love this idea as much as I love my AAA card! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  26. tisha

    I save my unwanted or duplicate items from Birchbox to fill my teenage daughters stocking – she’s getting a beauty blender $20 value that I got for free, mascara, lotions, LOADS of dry shampoo, etc. I also used my sears “shop my way” points from my fitbit to buy things like a curling wand, etc for a VERY good price!!
    For my teen son I’ve used my sears “shop my way” points to buy pajama pants, the dreaded underwear gifts, toiletry gifts sets and more. I usually make a small purchase every week, and it pays to be a max member and get the free shipping ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Christy Sandhoff France

    On Christmas Day, we have the family over. All of the cousins are now teenagers so I am filling balloons with Lotto Scratch Offs, Cash and Gift Cards and they will have a few chances to throw darts at the balloons. I think it will be fun!

    • ma

      hi Christy i love your idea i want to do that!! but how do you put those things inside of the ballons? any suggestions, is it easy to do it? LOL I think this a silly question……but i want to know….

      • Holly K

        anything paper that can be rolled up can be put into the balloon before you blow it up. Not sure about plastic gift cards.

  28. s

    My teenage daughter loves gift cards to target, forever 21, h&m or any other clothing store, nail polishes, concert tickets (this one will make them very happy!!). Probably will be getting her a Gel nail kit and tickets to see Selena Gomez for $53! For my 10 year old son, probably will get him something sporty like nike running shoes or a football since he loves NFL

  29. juice

    At the moment PINK has 3 for $30 full size lotion and body sprays (or 2 for $25) and $5 mini sprays and lotions! Stock up on the mini sprays because they last forever and are usually $10!

  30. Si

    These are all great ideas! My teenage boy never asks for much. I usually just get him a few pairs of new jeans (cause he’s a giant a never stops growing!), new shoes, cash, and a few stocking stuffers. Not very frugal or original I know, but he never asks for anything and I’m always at a loss for what to get him:/ Thanks for the ideas!

  31. Danielle

    For girls I would use the $10 off VS cards you get and get the body lotion and sprays. I get discounted gift cards to iTunes or cold stone or movie tickets, depending on age. Movies, things like socks are always great! A cool water bottle for a boy or girl with candies and different things stuffed in. I’ve done a photo box with scrap booking stuff and use coupons to Michaels and Joanne’s and get things at the dollar tree. Put together a movie bucket with movies, popcorn, candy, and faves they like!

  32. maura

    I am buying movie tickets from bj’s they are less expensive than buying them at the window. I also bought mad magazine. They have a gift promo right now. Buy one gift subscription, get 1 free. 19.99 for 2 subscriptions.

  33. Amy M Parker

    I save up my ibotta money and coke points and check out in Nov/Dec to get FREE gift cards for Christmas. I also use my free bbw coupons and $10 off $10 JCP coupons to get gifts throughout the year. Free magazine subscriptions are a hit with teen boys and girls. I find that shopping all year takes a lot of stress off the holidays. I stock up on big clearance sales on items like boxers, socks, hats, and t shirts at AE, Hollister and Target on the off season and save for the next year. My two teen boys love lotto cards, gift cards for food/movies/gas/ starbucks/activities. One year, I hung all the gift cards on the Christmas tree and Christmas morning they took turns picking out which ones they wanted- they loved it!! I also coupon to get really cheap razors, deodorant, toothbrushes, hair products, shower gel and such and fill their stockings with those. *** As a solo mom I have to be very creative to make my money stretch ***

  34. Sharon Brown

    I like to give gas cards. Teenagers are always looking for extra gas money. My daughter also likes luxury gifts like gift cards for manicures. My son is 12 and official sports gear like ball caps are great and still not too expensive.

  35. Rachel

    I have no idea how many people actually interact with my son during a day so we’re doing a gift basket for preschool with Bath & Body Works hand sanitizers, candy, drinks, and cinnamon ornaments made by the kid.

  36. HOLLY

    DSW mails out $10 coupon and I am buying a teen in my life a wristlet because she got her first job and needs to have a place to store her hard earned money. It will cost me $10 with the coupon. They have stylish stuff at low cost. Also check out etsy… really cool, artsy stuff that’s most is reasonably priced. Also aeropostale had $10 tribal print backpacks. Zale and Kay have do orbiters this weekend for $29.99 sterling jewelry good for the girl who want nice things but the gift giver has a beer budget!

  37. Trish

    My teen son received a Jerky of the Month Club membership last year and loved it!

  38. Christine B

    Scratch off lottery tickets are always a hit with my teens! Movie box candy, earbuds, nail polish, bobby pins, ponytail rubber bands, wristlet, ornament, gc for car wash, car charger for cell phone, purse-size hand lotion, lip balm (EOS are the favorites right now!), earrings/rings/bracelets, Xbox money, large bottle of favorite drink, adult coloring book with colored pencils, keychain, infinity scarf, gloves (with text fingers), playing cards, LRC dice game, triangle peg game like the ones at Cracker Barrel, RedBox code with a bag of microwave popcorn, perfume, AXE shower gel/deodorant set, football flick game, baseball hat, mug with hot chocolate packet, fuzzy socks, wallet or zipper change purse…..
    Some of these could be put together to create a “theme” gift (i.e. games, movie/hot chocolate/candy, beauty, car stuff, snack stuff, etc.

  39. Karen

    My daughter is big on music and I found Samsung level U headphones at Walmart for $30 and they are $70 so thought this was a great find … Also bought some different shoe deals that have been posted here in the last month

  40. Emily

    I’m 19 I don’t want for much or anything at really. I wouldn’t mind a pop funko or a treat for my dogs. All I really want is a robe, slippers and a pair of pajamas

  41. Dawnie Marie

    wow thank you for all the good ideas here – it is heard that teens are hard to buy for but it sounds like ya’all have it down – I like the idea of not going overboard or excessive – it is part of transitioning to adulthood not expecting a mountain of gifts under the tree – in my cybershopping today for my teenage son (15) and I did ask him for a list which he provided – gift cards (gamestop,i-hop) dvd’s which we watch as well, C.D.’s that I hope to score at Barnes and Noble with my discount cards – a stuffed ferret (go figure) some gag gifts ie a screaming flying monkey – he loves and collects “Flags” and I am crafting all the flags – I was able to print them off on the net – to make a banner – today I told him we were going to the mall to the angel tree and also make and distribute kits to take to the homeless shelter – really less is more – after reading this I feel chill and relaxed instead of trying to get this deal and that – we are blessed to have a roof over our head, food and each other – Jesus is the reason for the Season – Merry Christmas All

  42. kcmiami88

    The free items i get from bath and body works and victoria secret throughout the yr and throw them into a gift bag with some other samples of makeup etc

  43. rtsymom

    My 21-year old son loves music so ear buds and Spotify gift cards are always a hit. He has an aging Bluetooth mini speaker so he’s getting a cool new shower speaker from Amazon.
    Gas and fast food cards are great too since he’s in college. And as a Star Wars loving family, there will be a few SW stocking stuffers (light up light saber toothbrush with sound, t-shirt, socks etc.)

  44. Patty

    Those schick Gillette and axe gift sets that are bogo 50% at target this week seem like a good idea

  45. Shannon

    I can remember my mom taking a huge empty chocolate box and filling each circle with a dollar in quarters for my teenage older brother. He loved playing the video games at our local corner store. This gift has always stuck in my mind because it was so creative!

  46. Wendy

    I took my daughter who’s 19 this year on a shopping spree for donations that we provided to a local charity that holds a free “Christmas Shop” event for family’s in need. The items they were most in need of were in the teen age category, so we decided to focus on this. Her choices… (we shopped at Walmart)

    Guys: watches, wallets, gaming theme caps/hats, cologne/grooming sets, flip close flashlight, football counting bank… Girls: makeup gift sets, bath/beauty gift set, selfie sticks, ice cream maker, Colorama (coloring book)… Unisex: art/drawing sets, earbuds, character throws.

    With 3 kids in the teen range some or our wishlist/gifts are:
    scarfs, bath robe & slippers, hair straightener, deluxe art set, shawl, designer perfume (keepsake box and lotion sets optional), ((anime cap, anime charm, five nights at freddy’s backpack, totoro cat sweater <<These things come from Hot Topic in any mall or online, great place for gifts in this age range)) magic: the gathering cards and storage gift set, PS4 or XBOX one, any gaming themed items (like tee-shirts, caps, hoodies – for games they like)..

    I loved reading all of the ideas on here and will refer to them as I finish up my shopping this season.. thanks everyone for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Wendy

      I forgot to add, I was able to find most all of these items on sale by shopping around and I used a discount card at HotTopic (they have a rewards type program) since this store can be pricey – it is the only way I will shop there lol. Also most all of the charity items that we bought at Walmart were in the $5-$15 range.

      • Wendy

        also, If you are considering a designer perfume/cologne… I was at Dillard’s not wanting to spend a lot. While deciding on weather to purchase a fragrance that I liked within my price range, the associate offered to throw in a lotion and keepsake box to close the sale. Not all “deals” are advertised… something to keep in mind.

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