Feel Good Gifts To Give When You are Stressed And Broke

Fantasy me, wants to buy gifts three months ahead of time for the people I love. Leaving me with plenty of time to wrap, write the most epic cards, and deliver them. I would bask in the joy of my sister crying as she read my sincere card and relished in the perfect present. 

Reality? I have been busy and working late nights. It’s now a week before the holiday/birthday/wedding, and I have yet to complete a single minute of shopping. 

Work is stressful, and now I’m adding another layer of tension because I need to find the perfect gift.

After three days of shopping in the store, I'm overwhelmed and head home defeated. 

Next, comes the embarrassment and shame as I deliver the dreaded gift card to my loved one. 

The best alternative gifts you can give when you are broke, stressed, or just trying on minimalism for any holiday or birthday. #giftgiving #alternativegifts #minimalistgifts

The kicker? I do this every year! You would think I would know better by now. But I don’t.

Why isn’t there a gift that helps me relieve the stress? Helps me enjoy the holiday season?? That is so thoughtful, incredibly inexpensive, but awesomely rewarding?

I know what you’re thinking, there is no such gift! But There is. And everyone can give it. What is it??


Yes, your time is incredibly valuable, and it can have an extraordinary impact on the people in your life. 

Time is free, as in you don’t have to spend a dime to give it. 

Giving time has been scientifically proven to relieve stress and make you happier. It’s pretty much the gift that keeps on giving. 

After helping the people I loved this past year, I am bursting with peace and joy. One of my fondest memories is helping my bestie in SD. 

For the first time, she was going to be alone with her two almost three-year-old twins. They are also my godsons. Anyways, they have so much energy that they could run the NY marathon, take an hour nap, and rerun it. 

When she asked for help, I said yes! I missed her pregnancy, baby shower, the day they were born, and their first two birthdays. I knew this is how I could finally give to my best friend and my godsons. 

I would NEVER take back the week with my bestie and my godsons. We laughed, they cried, we wined, they woke up at 6 am, we cooked, and they ran circles around us at the park. But it was allllllllllll worth it. My BFF was forever grateful, but I also felt utterly elated. I now have these amazing memories which will last a lifetime. 

I know a lot of people can’t give a week as I did, but here are some other ways to give for every occasion. 


Cook for someone you love

Today is my boyfriend’s birthday. We recently moved to Phoenix, AZ and we are trying to save on spending so we can go back East for Christmas. To keep his day unique I made him a few of his favorite foods. 

Breakfast: Blueberry Pancakes Lunch: Stuffing | Dinner: Going Out to Eat

He was so happy and full-bellied this morning that it truly made me happy. I’m about to start round two, and I’m filled with a warm heart knowing he is getting spoiled. 


Lend a Helping Hand

Moms work so hard. They also rarely ask for help, at least both of my sisters don’t.

When I know my big sisters are coming to a busy time or genuinely need an extra pair of hands, I go over and help them. I either clean or watch the kids. Sometimes, it’s about spending quality time with someone other than their children. 

Thank yous come from the depths of their heart, and it’s genuine. 


Give Encouragement

My mom thinks her worst enemy is technology. She struggles with smartphones, computers, and even her car’s navigator, but she gets by. 

Filled with frustration, she calls herself names. For me it’s heartbreaking. She is a kick-ass mother of five who did everything to feed us and make us happy. 

I stop her from saying such things, and I reinforced how much she learned and tell her she's doing great.

Once I point out her new skills, she smiles and says, "I guess it will take more practice!"



Life can be busy and overwhelming. Wouldn’t be amazing to have someone to vent our frustrations? 

Be that person who listens, without providing advice, or judgment. When my friends truly listen, share their experience without judgement, it makes me feel so much better.

I can feel the weight leave my shoulders. 

Sharing our ups and downs gets us closer to living a wholehearted life. 


Spend quality time

Spend time with the people you love doing something fun like playing board games, go for a hike or walk outside. Watch a funny movie at home and make popcorn. My favorite memories of life are laughing with my family and friends. 


Print Special Photos

Print your memories for as low as 23 cents! It’s a thoughtful gift.

For Christmas, I framed photos of our York trip and gifted them to my Mother In Law.

Her very happy tears made me cry very happy tears. 



If you’re looking to help others need, find a program to help people in need. Vets, Homeless, Children, Mothers, and all the other beautiful charities out there!

Trust me you will not regret it!



give a massage | make a bath | watch the kids | bake | pick up groceries | plan event/birthday/holiday | water the plants | get the mail | airport drop off/pick up | create a music playlist | write a lovely note | Print and frame a favorite quote/song lyric | do the dishes | run errands 


When you don’t have the time, but you have the money

If you don’t have the time, but you do have the cash, buy your loved a service to free up their time. That way they can spend their time doing more of what they love or help so they can be there for someone else. Spread the love! Seriously, buying time is proven to buy happiness!

This year, refrain from buying monetary gifts and give your time. 

Have you given your time instead of a monetary gift? Share what you did and how amazing the experience was!

Please note, throughout this blog post I have used affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if you click on and purchase, but this does not affect the price you pay.