cheap useful wedding gifts, minimalist wedding gifts, frugal wedding gifts wrapped in colorful paper and wrapped with ribbon

Inside: Need cheap, useful wedding gift ideas? These minimalist wedding gifts are perfect for anyone with a small gift budget.

We recently received an invitation to a cousin’s wedding, which of course started the wheels turning: what could we find for a cheap useful wedding gift?

Receiving wedding invitations is such a different experience now compared to when we were a married without kids, dual income couple.

Attempting to find cheap and useful wedding gifts is a real challenge.

Wedding Gifts on a Budget


On one hand, we are excited to celebrate the wedding of family and friends. On the other hand, living on one income while feeding four growing kids and still paying off student loans leaves very little wiggle room each month.

Related: 52 Ways to Save Money so You Can Stay Home

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels social pressure to whip out the credit card to buy something we don’t have the cash to cover, feeling guilty that we can’t afford a bigger gift. Unfortunately, right now buying the pricier wedding gifts on the happy couple’s registry either equals kids going hungry (not an option) or more debt (also not an option).

While I wish we could be the ones purchasing the higher ticket registry items like duvet covers and pots and pans, that’s just not the season we are in.

If that’s you as well, know that you’re not alone. You’re not the only one bringing a tiny gift to weddings. Resist the urge to go into debt just to keep up appearances or avoid feeling embarrassed. 

Stick to your budget, buy what you can afford, and trust that your friends/family love you and don’t really care how big your gift is.

Wedding Registry Hack

If you’re frugal by nature, like me, and love a good deal, you’ve probably often looked at wedding registries and thought, “I can get this cheaper somewhere else.”

But then you have a dilemma: you want the deal, but you don’t want someone else to purchase the item at the store where the couple originally registered, thus giving them doubles.

The solution? First purchase the item at the lowest price elsewhere. Then call the store and ask them to mark it purchased on the registry. 

Yes, you can really do that. So check their registry, then bargain shop away!

When you’re shopping for wedding gifts on a budget, you can sometimes draw a blank and need ideas to jump start the gift ideas brainstorming process.

I put together this list of 16 cheap, useful wedding gifts that newly married couples actually need but cost less than $20.

I hope it gives you a lot to choose from!

close-up of text about weddings, with text overlay "16 cheap & useful wedding gift ideas"

16 Cheap Useful Wedding Gifts

All of the gifts on this list generally come in at $20 or less, at least at the time of this writing. Happy wedding shopping!

basket full of striped dish cloths and dish brush

1. Dish Towels

You can never have too many! If you’re feeling crafty, you could even personalize these white ones with this tutorial. Make sure to find super absorbent ones like these heavy duty kitchen towels that have high ratings for absorbency from actual buyers. There’s nothing worse than a dish towel that doesn’t actually dry dishes!

If you’re crafty, you can make your own stamped kitchen towels. Pick up a basic pack of flour sack tea towels and follow the DIY tutorial HERE.

metal spoon rest with green pasta spoon on white countertop

2. Spoon Rests

Give the gift of a clean counter with spoon rests. It’s such a pain having nowhere to put your stirring spoon or whisk while you cook. Some are still ceramic, but silicone spoon rests are becoming increasingly popular, likely because of their durability in the kitchen.

Or you could go with these durable plastic ones that come in every color.

kitchen counter with cake wheat flour, rolling pin, wooden mixing spoons, eggs, and scale

3. Baking Utensils

Baking utensils are usually at the affordable end of the registry spectrum. These pyrex glass measuring cups are my favorite baking necessity – I was so sad when my small one broke! Measuring cups, measuring spoons, whisks, scrapers: mix and match until you reach your spend limit.

You could even splurge on a really nice Pampered Chef Spatula Scraper. I have one that I received as a wedding present almost ten years ago – they are seriously the best. I LOVE mine and have never found another that compares. Pair it with a dish towel and a recipe to make it special.

Another way to save a ton and give more for your money is to head to the Dollar Store for quality, cheap baking utensils. They often sell excess name brand utensils for $1 each. A steal!

kitchen counter with cutting boards and ceramic vase holding kitchen utensils

4. Cooking Utensils 

You can never have too many spatulas (also called turners – I never know which one to say)! My husband is constantly griping because our two are constantly dirty, and there is never one available when he needs it. Stock them up with these colorful ones from Rachel Ray.

Minimalist decorating at it’s finest: beautiful and useful.

flat lay photo with metal and wooden spoons holding various spices on gray background

5. Spices

Ease the happy couple into their new joint grocery budget by getting them something that is rarely on wedding registries: spices. When I first got married, my jaw dropped at the checkout during our first married grocery shopping trip. Spices are so expensive!

Grab three or four of your favorites (large versions of McCormick spices are much cheaper than tiny spice bottles at your local grocery store). Pair them with your favorite recipes using those same spices to personalize it.

lit candle in amber glass jar and white antler on wooden table

6. A Quality Scented Candle

I love having a good scented candle in my home, but the large jars are so expensive, I rarely purchase them for myself. Yankee Candles may not be the best, but they certainly are the most well-known candle brand with the widest variety of scents.

Get them cheaper by searching Retailmenot for a 20% off one item Bed Bath & Beyond Mobile Coupon.

Then go to Bed Bath & Beyond and find their scent of the month candles. The largest candle of the featured scent is $19.99 for that month, making it $16 after the coupon, plus tax.

kitchen counter covered with clean dishes, mugs, plates, silverware, pots and pans

7. Dish Rack

It’s not glamorous, but you definitely need one. This is one other thing frugal people hate spending money on, so save them the pain and gift it instead!

In our new house, after several days of using up all my kitchen towels to rest wet, clean dishes on, I finally bought this Prepworks over-the-sink one and love it. It is a tad over $20, so again, use up those plentiful Bed Bath & Beyond coupons, and head to the store to get a better deal.

oven mitts holding pyrex casserole dish and putting into oven

8. Pot holders & Kitchen Mitts

This is another fun item to give because they come in such a wide variety of colors and patterns. Go with the classic quilted version, branch out to the latest silicone baking mitts, or try these fun combination of quilted and silicone.

Potholders also apparently now come in silicone too. Gift these colorful ones for a happy colorful kitchen!

cheap useful wedding gifts, minimalist wedding gifts, frugal wedding gifts
Photo Credit: The DIY Playbook

9. Mason Jar Organizer

The section of Pinterest devoted to DIY goes crazy over anything Mason Jar related. This adorable mason jar bathroom organizer can be used in any room of the house really.  

While you can purchase mason jar organizers at many major retailers, the DIY version is obviously cheaper and relatively simple for the DIY beginner.

You can find the directions for the one pictured above HERE.

wooden shelf holding pictures, including one with a heart saying love is everything, and other knick-knacks

10. Picture Frames

You have a couple of options when it comes to pictures frames. First, you can splurge on the frames themselves and include inexpensive photos, prints you make yourself, or just leave them blank.

Alternatively, you can spend your dollars on the art in the frames themselves, and head to the dollar store or yard sales for cheap frames (you can also check Target end caps for clearance frames).

Either way, go with basic colors but interesting details, and your friends will get to start decorating their house right away with all those beautiful wedding photos.

made bed with paisley duvet cover, with open, upside down purple book, and throw blanket

11. A Throw Blanket

Everyone (who lives where it gets cold at least part of the year) needs a soft, fuzzy throw blanket to make their living room cozy. Try to choose one either on their registry or based on the couple’s color scheme (as noted on their registry).

Be sure to check reviews to make sure the one you choose doesn’t shed like crazy or clog the dryer with lint every time it’s washed.

12. Coasters

Coasters protect your furniture and make it last longer. They are also an easy gift to do yourself. You can follow this tutorial to make ceramic coasters that are waterproof.

If DIY is not your thing, check out this colorful coaster setAgain, you want to be thoughtful – try not to give them something they will declutter later by taking a look at their style and color scheme on their registry.

two heart shaped mugs with colorful macaroons and coffee beans on kitchen table

13. Unique Coffee Mugs

Unique coffee mugs are near and dear to my heart. I love collecting different mugs: different colors, ones from places we’ve lived, uniquely shaped ones. If you know the couple well, try to choose one that reflects their interests.

Do they love dogs, for example? Check out these dog-lover coffee mugs.

Are they originally from New York? I love the Starbucks black and white city mugs – less than $20 in actual Starbucks stores (we have the Boston one).

single red ball Christmas ornament on wooden countertop

14. Christmas Ornaments

Most newly married couples do not have hardly any Christmas ornaments between them. Stock up on after Christmas sales to have several to give together as wedding gifts for under $20.

Make sure to pick classics that are highly likely to be appreciated by anyone (think stars, snowflakes, non-gaudy glass ball ornaments).

close-up of twenty and one hundred dollar bills rolled up

15. Cash

Every newlywed couple loves cash! When we got married, we opened all of our cards and spent any cash we received while on our honeymoon.

If the choices either seem to vast or too limited for your budget, just give what you originally allotted in your budget.

Every couple has items left to buy when they first move in together. Think of it as giving them fun by letting them choose what to spend it on.

wedding card with groom holding bride and text "celebrating with you" standing up on kitchen table

16. Gift Cards

Gift cards are a fun way to ensure that the couple is able to use the money for home items. The one drawback to cash gifts is that the couple may feel obligated to use it on a need instead of a want, and the intent of many wedding gift givers is to give the latter.

If you want them to be able to spend your gift money guilt-free on their remaining registry items, or just something you know they love but hesitate to indulge in themselves, the gift card is the way to go!

bride and groom from the back walking on wooden bridge, with text overlay "affordable wedding gifts for minimalists"

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  1. The bucket of cleaning supplies is also a great idea for a young person getting their first place

    1. Author

      Great idea Judy! Thanks so much for taking the time to share.

  2. Someone gave us a bucket with some bathroom cleaning supplies and a plunger – she decorated the handle with a silver sharpie something like “congrats on taking the plunge!” It was a great gift – it was a hit at my shower, super practical, and not too expensive

  3. Two of my favorites are a small sewing kit (just for mending), and honest-to-goodness rags, perhaps paired with a homemade rag bag or some other cleaning supplies. Rags are something you end up with after years of wearing out T-shirts and towels, so couples just starting out might not have enough.

    Great ideas!

    1. Author

      Those are great ideas! Cleaning supplies can add up just like spices do.

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