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A recent survey by Forbes Advisor found that 51% of Americans plan to buy fewer gifts this year due to inflation. Finding meaningful but cheap Christmas gifts is challenging when prices have gone up on everything.
Or have they?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), which measures the average change in the prices paid for consumer goods and services over time. According to the most recent CPI-U data, the costs of some products have not only not risen but may have actually decreased since last November.
If you’re looking for ways to stretch your holiday budget with thoughtful but relatively cheap Christmas gifts, we have curated a list of ideas based on categories with the lowest increase (or, in rare instances, price reductions) according to the CPI-U.
It’s no secret that grocery prices are higher than ever. However, certain items have not increased as much as others. For instance, pork, in general, has not jumped much, and some bacon prices have even dropped. So stocking a bacon fan’s fridge or freezer with this 3-pound package for $17.26 at Walmart could make their season merrier. These have a 4.5 out of 5-star rating from almost 500 reviews.
Beef prices are down at grocery stores as well. However, experts say this trend may not last long. Gifting some delicious roasts, ground beef or steaks, such as this Omaha Steaks four-pack of 5-ounce of filet mignons for $69.99 on Amazon, might make a meat-lover very happy.
These steaks have a 4.5-star rating on Amazon from 60 or so customers. But if you’re looking to spend even less, try these lower-cost cuts from Walmart that might be perfect for your holiday celebration.
Electronics are another category that hasn’t been hit as hard by inflation. In some cases, prices are actually falling, so you can find some fantastic deals on highly-rated products.
For instance, these Soundcore Anker Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, $59.99 (plus a 10% coupon you can check), have more than 45,000 ratings and 4.5 stars on Amazon. These wireless, Bluetooth, over-the-ear headphones provide 40 hours of playtime on one charge and reduce ambient noises by up to 90%.
Another gift in the electronics category that could make for well-received cheap Christmas gifts is televisions. For instance, this Insignia 24-inch smart TV has FireTV built-in plus an Alexa Voice Remote, and it supports Apple AirPlay. The price of this 4.4-star television (from around 200 reviewers) has dropped to $99.99.
An upgraded phone (or a brand-new one for a young, first-time smartphone owner) might be a wildly popular gift for someone in your family. They can also be cheap Christmas gifts, as they have dropped in price, according to the CPI-U.
For example, this unlocked, refurbished Samsung Galaxy S10e costs $139-$150 on Amazon, depending on which color you prefer. It’s guaranteed to be in excellent condition and is backed by the 90-day Amazon Renewed Guarantee.
More than 10,600 customers have reviewed these phones, giving them an overall rating of 4.3 stars.
Video and audio products have their own category, and like other electronic devices, they experienced some price drops. For cheap Christmas gifts that help protect the ones you love, consider a doorbell with built-in audio and video, like the Blink Video Doorbell, on sale now for $34.99. It works well on its own or can be used as part of an entire security system. This app- or Alexa-enabled doorbell for wired or unwired use has a 4.3-star rating from more than 79,300 customers.
For the budding podcaster, vlogger or remote worker, a video lighting kit might be a great gift and can be very affordable. This Video Conference Lighting Kit, $32.98, can be used for everything from Zoom calls to makeup tutorials.
It has as a 4.3-star rating from 3,400 Amazon reviewers. Customers say it’s easy to assemble, has plenty of functions and includes a convenient remote control.
Women’s outerwear declined in price overall, making this a great time to upgrade someone’s winter jacket for the season. This Moerdeng Women’s Waterproof Ski Jacket, on sale for $49.99-$59.99, is made with a waterproof coating, fluffy lining and durable fabric. With more than 26,500 ratings and 4.5 stars, it’s available in 14 colors and multiple sizes.
Children can outgrow and wear out their clothing in the blink of an eye, making apparel an excellent gift idea. While only boys’ clothing dipped in price this year, many pieces are suitable for all kids. For example, these Children’s Place basic bootcut jeans are cute and practical and start at just $11.99.
More than 17,500 customers rated the jeans, giving them an average of 4.7 stars.
Women’s footwear is another item in the apparel category that slightly decreased in price. These New Balance Women’s FuelCore Nergize V1 sneakers have a plush midsole cushioning and a supportive fit to meet high performance metrics. And starting at just $34.97 a pair for most sizes in black right now, they could make much-appreciated cheap Christmas gifts.
Appliances saw some price drops this year, and while you might not be able to give someone a new washing machine, a cute microwave could be a fun present under the tree.
This Galanz Retro Countertop Microwave, $69, comes in four fashionable colors with nostalgic knob and button controls. Almost 1,000 Walmart customers have given this kitchen helper 4.3 stars, saying they enjoy the appearance as well as the functionality of this small appliance.
Another appliance people might not buy for themselves is an ice maker, such as this Aglucky Countertop Ice Maker Machine. Using minimal counter space, the device can produce 26 pounds of bullet-shaped cubes in 24 hours.
Priced at $109.99, this ice maker has 4.3 stars with more than 18,600 reviews. It’s available in black, gray or red.
You might not consider a grill an appliance, but it’s worth noting that propane prices have also decreased, making a gas grill an affordable gift that could even save your recipient money.
This Char-Broil Classic Gas Grill, $159.99, has two burners and a side burner, providing ample cooking space. Customers say it works well and is a nice size, giving it an overall rating of 4.2 stars from more than 1,900 ratings.
For the crafty person on your list, consider sewing supplies, which have dipped in price during the last year. For instance, this highly-rated Singer M1500 Mechanical Sewing Machine has 57 stitch applications, threads quickly and easily and comes with three essential presser feet plus other accessories at just $99.99. This workhorse machine gets 4.5 stars from almost 4,900 reviewers.
A new laptop might be on someone special’s Christmas list. Happily, computer prices have dropped since last year. For an affordable but dependable option, this Acer Aspire 5 15.6-inch laptop, $360.23, has over 38,800 ratings and 4.5 stars.
Customers appreciate that it’s lightweight with a long battery life.
Cheap Christmas gifts don’t have to be crummy ones. With some creative thinking and smart shopping, you might be able to find gift-worthy items to please everyone on your holiday shopping list.
By Tricia Goss, for Newsy.