23 Ideas for Cheap Christmas Decorations

The weather’s getting colder. The days are getting shorter. Before you know it, Christmas will be here.

While you’re out shopping for gifts, it can be very tempting to add a bunch of holiday decorations to your cart to help get your home looking merry and bright. But the cost of Christmas decorations often gets overlooked when making your holiday budget — and you end up spending way more than you thought you would.

To avoid that post-holiday regret, consider these low-budget suggestions for decorating for Christmas.

23 Ideas for Cheap Christmas Decorations

Deck the halls without wrecking your finances. Here are 23 festive ideas for cheap Christmas decorations.

1. Wall Christmas Trees

A flat Christmas tree hung on the wall is a great space saver and money saver. You can make wall Christmas trees out of a string of lights, garland, a large piece of felt or even Washi tape. Check out this article from Apartment Therapy for ideas. It looks festive with or without a tree topper!

2. Get an Artificial Christmas Tree

Bundling up on a snowy day to go to the Christmas tree farm and chop down the perfect tree may be a sweet holiday outing, but you’ll get more bang for your buck by opting for an artificial Christmas tree. Now, artificial trees can get pricy themselves, depending on what size and type you choose. However, you can reuse the tree for years to come, rather than having to put it out to the curb when the new year rolls around.

A woman decorates a tiny Christmas tree.

3. Get a Tiny Tree

Instead of buying an expensive 7-foot tree, you can save money by getting a much smaller tree that’ll fit on your tabletop. In addition to spending less on the tree, you’ll save on the amount of lights and ornaments you’ll need to decorate it.

4. Garland

Garland is a low-budget Christmas decoration that instantly adds holiday spirit to a room. In addition to stringing garland around your Christmas tree, you can hang strings of garland above your mantle, over your doorways, around your window frames or wrapped around the banister of your staircase. Instead of buying your garland, you can make your own using natural elements like dried citrus and pine cones, construction paper, popcorn or cheap ball ornaments.

5. DIY Ornaments

Forget the store-bought ornaments, and pick up your hot glue gun. Create wonderful holiday memories while crafting ornaments you can hang on your tree or use as decor around the house. See this Good Housekeeping post for over 75 ideas for DIY Christmas ornaments.

6. Twinkling Lights

A string of lights can really spread holiday cheer. To save money, opt for shorter strings of light to cover smaller areas — such as a window or mantle piece, rather than along your gutters or around a 7 foot tree. You can also use a string of lights on a blank stretch of wall in the shape of a star or to spell out “Merry Christmas” in cursive.

7. Window Stickers

Dress up your windows with seasonal decals. You can find window stickers of snowflakes, ornaments, gingerbread men and more at the dollar store, craft store and major retailers like Walmart or Amazon. If stored properly, you can even reuse them for next year.

8. Candles

Candles are a simple and low-cost way to add a bit of Christmas spirit to a room. You can create a tablescape with red, green, white or gold candles — or set them on the mantle or a wide window ledge. Set battery-operated votive candles inside Mason jars painted in holiday colors for a flame-free decor option.

A front door is wrapped in wrapping paper.

9. Decorate Your Doors

Transform your doors into the biggest presents ever by covering them in wrapping paper. You can use wrapping paper to decorate your interior doors as well as your front door. Add ribbon or a big bow for extra embellishment.

10. Bells Around Door Knobs

Make your home not only look but sound festive by tying jingle bells to some red or green ribbon and then wrapping them around your door knobs. Whenever someone opens a door, the kiddos in the house will be looking over their shoulders to see if Santa’s coming.

11. Decorate With Ribbon

You can use ribbon for more than just wrapping presents. Take some thick ribbon in Christmas colors like red, green or gold and use it to make bows to hang on your Christmas tree, your mantle and even on door knobs or drawer pulls. Tie them around a glass vase with a candle inside for a simple Christmas centerpiece.

12. Wrap Empty Boxes

Talk about easy Christmas decorations that make your home merry. You can also stack your wrapped present props in an empty corner, by the base of your staircase or on your front porch.

13. Holiday Cards Display

A cheap and easy way to add a little holiday spirit to your home is to make a pretty display with the Christmas cards you receive from family and friends. You can fashion your cards into the shape of a wreath or Christmas tree or attach them to a ribbon to hang along your staircase banister along with lights or garland. You can fill out your display by purchasing some dollar store cards.

14. Make your Own Advent Calendar

Rather than buying an advent calendar this year, make your own. This post from Country Living has several ideas. Come up with whatever little treat, token or message you want to open each day.

A boy eats a gingerbread house he made.

15. Gingerbread House

Whether you use a kit or make your own gingerbread from scratch, a gingerbread house is a fun holiday project that can double as Christmas decor. Just know it probably won’t last long — so consider this a temporary decoration!

16. Display Your Kids’ Holiday Artwork

If you’ve got young kids — or grandkids, nieces or nephews — use the holiday artwork they make at school, daycare or home to hang up on the fridge or display on your shelves, mantle or countertops.

17. Create a Holiday Tablescape

Dress up your dining table to bring out the joy of the holiday season. Drape your table with a red, green or white tablecloth and fill a vase or tray with seasonal elements, such as pine cones, holly leaves, cranberries, sprigs of pine needles, jingle bells, candy canes or candles.

18. Sock Snowmen

This winter craft doubles as a cheap Christmas decoration. You may be able to make it with items you already have at home: white tube socks, rice, buttons, pins and a scrap of fabric. This post from Darkroom and Dearly tells you exactly how to create them.

A person decorates their Christmas tree with candy canes.

19. Candy Canes

You can buy boxes of candy canes for cheap at grocery stores or dollar stores around this time of the year. Fill candy dishes full of these red and white striped treats to go on your tablescape, coffee table or end tables. Or hang one or two candy canes on your Christmas tree in place of buying more pricy ornaments.

21. Fake Snow in Windows

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, but you live in an area that doesn’t get any snow, you can use spray snow to make your winter wonderland dreams come true. You can spray artificial snow on your windows to create a frosted look or spray your front door wreath to make it appear to be covered with snowflakes. A can of spray snow costs less than $10 on Amazon.

22. Flower Pot Decorations

Turn empty flower pots into outdoor Christmas decor with just a little paint. You’ll need at least three pots of varying sizes. Paint them white if you want to create a snowman out of your flower pots or green to make a flower pot Christmas tree. Once dried, stack the pots on top of each other upside down and paint additional embellishments, like a face and buttons on your snowman or ornaments and tinsel on your Christmas tree.

23. Light Projector

An easy way to light up the outside of your house without needing yards of string lights and a ladder is to use a light projector. You can buy one on Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart and similar retailers for under $40.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Travel Freebies and Deals for 10 Fabulous U.S. Cities

After a year and a half of travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders and individual health concerns, the world is opening back up and that’s music to the ears of those of us traveling again.

But even if you’ve been saving lots of money while waiting out the pandemic and are ready for some revenge travel, you’ll still want to watch your pennies. Good thing there are some great deals out there — some of them even freebies.

From hotel deals to food offerings to reduced prices for tours and even free walking tours, travel may be more affordable than ever right now. We found offers in 10 U.S. cities that will make you want to pack your bags.

Great Travel Freebies and Deals in 10 Must-Visit Cities


Seattle has transitioned from a mid-size regional center to an innovative and modern destination. The Space Needle and Fisherman’s Wharf may be its most iconic landmarks but there’s much more to the Emerald City, along with plenty of opportunities for freebies and discounts.

Speaking of the Space Needle, bundle your tickets with a trip to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit and save $10 on admission. Be sure to check the glass exhibit closures when scheduling your trip.

A popular draw for tourists, Seattle Museum Month returns in 2022. Guests staying at participating downtown hotels in February receive a pass that entitles up to four people half price admission to over 30 museums including the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, Museum of Pop Culture and The Museum of Flight.

If you’re planning a holiday trip to the Pacific Northwest, Visit Seattle has collected over a dozen special hotel packages. The Grand Hyatt Seattle’s Hyatt NightIn package includes early check-in and late check-out, a $100 credit for in room dining, at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, or Fire & Vine, 15% off in room dining, and a bath bomb. Hyatt at the Olive 8 has its own Hyatt NightIn package with champagne and a dozen oysters at the TIDAL+ restaurant, a $20 gift card to O8 Bagel Shop, and a $50 credit to Elaia Spa.

Another great way to save money is a CityPASS. Seattle CityPASS includes free entry to the Seattle Aquarium and Space Needle, along with admission to other attractions. The pass is $104 for adults (13+) and $84 for children, a savings of 46% versus paying full price for each attraction.

If rail travel appeals to you, Amtrak’s Coast Starlight Rail Experience is a great way to see two West Coast cities and take an overnight journey along one of the country’s most scenic rail corridors. This package includes two nights in Los Angeles, a one-day journey up the coast, and two nights in Seattle. The trip includes a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Los Angeles and a Seattle CityPASS.

You can scratch your travel itch without draining your bank account. We’ve got smart ideas for planning a travel budget. 
A group of friends take a photo in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco

As an urban vacation destination, few offer the appeal of San Francisco, though it can make for an expensive trip. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to enjoy this great city without breaking the bank.

Start with well-known travel sites like Travelocity or Expedia; when you book your hotel and flight together you may be able to save as much as 100% on your flight — essentially free flights. This is true for every city on this list.

Another place to check for discounts and deals is the city’s official travel site. There you’ll find freebies like a ticket to ice skate at Union Square when you book a room at the Hyatt or Marriott. Other offers to be found around the city include Villa Florence’s Welcome Back Package, which includes a bottle of wine on top of savings of up to 21% off the best booking rate. Alton Hotel’s Escape to San Francisco promotion includes two free cable car tickets and a wine flight for two featuring Habibi Wines at Bacchus Wine Bar in Russian Hill.

There are several discount passes in San Francisco that save money. These passes include the San Francisco CityPASS (savings of up to 44% off adult admission), C3 Pass (savings of up to 38%), Go San Francisco (savings of up to 58%), The San Francisco Sightseeing Pass (savings of up to 59%), or the Land & Sea Combo pass (savings of up to 18%).

Los Angeles

These days Los Angeles is much more than the entertainment capital of the world. Over the last 30 years L.A. has evolved into a preeminent multicultural travel destination with a seemingly endless number of vibrant urban neighborhoods. And of course, it’s still home to longtime tourist favorites like Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Walk of Fame.

If your idea of a Southern California vacation isn’t complete without a trip to the beach, there are several great ways to save money with discounts and freebies. The iconic art deco Georgian Hotel has a promotion which saves you 20% when you book 21 days or more in advance. A few blocks away at Palihouse Santa Monica, you can get a $20 daily dining credit at their lobby cafe and barista bar.

Hollywood is always a popular destination for visitors to Los Angeles and there’s no more authentic experience than staying at The Hollywood Roosevelt. Their California’s Calling package is available through Jan. 30, 2022 and includes two complimentary welcome drinks, a daily $30 food and beverage credit, access to movie nights, and access to yoga classes.

It’s easy to find free tickets to museums in Los Angeles. There are museums that are always free like The Getty Center and Getty Villa Museum on the Westside, and the California Science Center and The Broad downtown. Other museums have monthly free ticket days, like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM). LACMA offers free admission on the second Tuesday of every month while NHM has free admission on the first Tuesday of every month except July and August.

Despite the region’s commitment to building out its public transportation system, Los Angeles is famously a driving town. Renting a car is recommended if you’re trying to hit all of the popular destinations. Car rental prices are up 70% compared with 2019, so as an alternative to booking directly from the large operators try companies like Turo, which follows an AirBnB-style business model. They offer a loyalty program where you can earn a free bonus day, while some of their hosts provide discounts when you book a week or more in advance.

Three people stand in front of the Las Vegan sign.

Las Vegas

Hotels and casinos are working hard to encourage travelers to return to Sin City and there are deep discounts on hotels, dining, shows, and attractions.

Signing up for a Casino Loyalty Club Card is a great way to get free stuff in Las Vegas. The card tracks your betting in the casinos and the points you earn can be redeemed for special rates on hotel rooms — or even a free room — free food and drinks, and discounted shows.

Wynn Rewards members save up to 30% on hotel accommodations and the Platinum Tier members get a complimentary spa credit of $100, a birthday dinner credit of $150, and two Wynn Master Class passes. Caesars Rewards gives members access to exclusive hotel rates, some as low as $10 a night, earn reward credits and enjoy member pricing at participating restaurants, and earn reward credits at participating retailers. MGM Resorts’ M life Rewards give members a discount of up to 20% off booking and the opportunity to earn free rooms, dining credits and free gaming.

Shows are a major draw for Las Vegas visitors and it’s possible to find free or discounted tickets. Discount ticket booths like Tix4Tonight are located all along the Strip and sell tickets for shows at a deep discount.

Check out more free things to do in Las Vegas, on and off the Strip.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

One of the smaller cities on our list, Santa Fe is the perfect destination for art lovers seeking a rustic change of pace. Located high in the Sangre de Cristo foothills, this historic city is recognized for its Pueblo architecture and artistic culture.

Santa Fe’s visitor’s bureau is offering 10% off of a food tour through February 2022, a great way to save money while exploring the city. If you’re more interested in the sweet side of things, La Fonda on the Plaza is offering a Chocolate Tour package that includes luxury accommodations for two, free tickets to the Chocolate Walking Tour and the Discovery Walking Tour, free breakfast, and a copy of the book Spirit of Chocolate by JoAnne Dodgson.

Other packages offered by the hotel with free tickets to local events or tours are the Winter Indian Market package and the Billy the Kid package. The El Dorado Hotel & Spa offers 20% off your stay with their Return to Travel promotion; simply mention code RETURN2TRAVEL when you book.

If you plan on visiting a few of the city’s museums during your stay, look to the New Mexico Culture Pass, which can be purchased at any state museum or historic site. The pass is good for a year and includes access to 11 other museums around the state.

A benefit of Santa Fe’s small size is that it’s easy to see the most important historic landmarks on foot. Book free walking tours through Santa Fe Footprints, which covers the historic Plaza, the city’s architecture, the history of the Pueblo Indians, The Atomic Secret, The Miracle Stairway, The Cathedral of St. Francis, local museums, and more.

If Florida’s theme park mecca is calling you for a vacation, our list of free things to do in Orlando will come in handy. 

New Orleans

A trip to New Orleans is like a journey to another country. Jazz music, world-renowned food, and Creole culture are central to the experience of this compact and walkable Gulf Coast city. There’s plenty of free jazz music to be had in the French Quarter, thanks to street musicians on every block.

Nola Tour Guy offers free walking tours of the Quarter, the Garden District and historic cemeteries. Of course, the guides accept donations.

Amtrak’s New Orleans Ultimate Getaway is a great place to start your trip to the Big Easy. This package starts at $269 for three days and includes hotel accommodations, dinner at a popular local restaurant, a New Orleans Pass, and your choice of a tour.

You can choose between three centrally-located hotels, either the Wyndham New Orleans French Quarter, Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome, or the Hotel Monteleone. The two-day New Orleans Pass includes free admission to the San Francisco Plantation House, Mardi Gras World, National World War II Museum, and a Creole cooking demonstration, among other options. You’ll also be able to choose between the Swamp and Bayou Tour, a Steamboat Natchez Jazz Cruise, or the Oak Alley Plantation Tour.

Hotels around New Orleans are offering specials through the end of 2021, including Loew’s Romance in the Big Easy package that includes a nightly $35 food and beverage credit, in-room prosecco and chocolate covered strawberries. The Fairfield Inn & Suites in Downtown New Orleans has a Coffee Krewe package that includes a $10 gift card to PJ’s or Starbucks with a one-night stay, or a Creole Cuisine Dine Around Town package with a $50 Creole cuisine gift card.

A couple sit on a park bench near trees and water in <span class=

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is another quaint, historic city that doesn’t boast the sheer number of activities as its larger counterparts, but is certainly a major tourist draw. The beauty of Charleston is that much of its allure is the architecture and rich pre-antebellum history, making it perfect to find free walking tours with WalknTours.

The Restoration Hotel has a wide range of experience packages available. Foodies can enjoy the culinary evolution of this city with the A Taste of the South offer that includes a two-night stay, a $100 credit to The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits, two tickets for a culinary tour, and complimentary breakfast. If shopping is on your mind, you can bundle your hotel stay with freebies and discounts through the Shop & Stroll Package, which includes a 15% discount on purchases at The Mercantile, a Restoration branded tote bag, and a $100 Visa gift card to use at the boutiques of King Street, the city’s main shopping drag.

Charleston’s tourism website aggregates special packages from area hotels and breaks them down into Cuisine Packages, Family Packages, and Beach Packages. For a tour of the historic roots of the Deep South, Amtrak offers a six-day travel package. The package includes a sightseeing tour of Charleston and the Magnolia Plantation, a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Savannah, and a sightseeing cruise of Savannah.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. isn’t just the capital of the United States, it also bills itself as the “Capital of Free.” There are few American destinations as inspiring as D.C. and the best part is, many of the attractions have year-round free entry.

Just a few of the free museums include the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Castle, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, The National Gallery for Art, The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Archives, and the U.S. Botanic Garden.

The capital tourism department has a travel deals page with unique offers, free goodies, and discounts. There are few better ways to explore the capital than by bike, and you can save up to 20% on full-day bike rentals from Unlimited Biking. If you’d rather see the city by bike with a tour guide, Unlimited Biking is also offering 20% off morning, afternoon, and night tours.

Who doesn’t love free drinks? At Cava Libre, when you order tapas on Thursdays from 5pm-6pm, the Spanish sparkling Cava is complimentary.

The tourism site also posts specials on area hotel rooms, like Generator Washington, DC’s We Are Back reopening group rates, which start at $99 and include free WiFi. The Washington Marriott at Metro Center is encouraging tourists to get back on the city’s extensive Metro system. They don’t offer free public transportation, but when you book a room through their Grab, Go, Explore! offer, you’ll receive free goodies like a reusable and insulated picnic tote, snacks, water bottles, seasonal items, and a tour map of the city.

A person looks at the statue of Liberty from a boat in NYC.

New York City

Gentrification over the last few decades has made Manhattan an expensive destination, but the flip-side is that boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens have become tourist destinations in their own right.

The city’s tourism website posts deals where you can find discounts like a free glass of wine with a dinner order, up to 55% off a Liberty Cruise, 15% off merchandise at Carnegie Hall, or BOGO tickets at the Alice Austen House. If you want to see the iconic Central Park on bike, you can save up to half the usual price on hourly bicycle rentals

Hotels in New York City can be pricey, so finding a deal on lodging is essential to making your dollar go further. Hotels want you to plan your travel in advance and stay longer, with deep discounts when you book ahead and free nights added onto multi-day bookings. The Marriott Vacation Club Pulse in Manhattan offers 10% off a three night stay, with the discount increasing to 15% for four nights and 20% for five nights or more.

Promotions like Marriott Bonvoy Escapes are another way to save on your vacation stay. The hotel chain posts new deals every Wednesday through Sunday with savings of up to 25% for members and 20% for non-members.

Remember, bundling airfare and accommodations on the online travel agency sites is always a way to get good deals.

The Met is one of the biggest and best museums in the country, and through the end of the year admission to the museum and The Met Cloisters is pay-as-you-wish. The Intrepid Museum has 20% off general admission, and you can save on admission to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum with a family pass for $82.


From the shores of Lake Michigan to the top of Willis Tower, the Windy City has always been a tourist favorite. This Midwestern metropolis has a variety of offerings for every tourist, from big spenders to the thrifty traveler.

Start your search for discounts and freebies on Choose Chicago, the city’s official tourism website. There you’ll find lots of special offers like discounted admission to museums, food and drink credits, and reduced rate tours.

Through the site you can save 20% on an Adventure Quest, which is billed as combining the

excitement of The Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Save on tickets for the public Ugly Buildings Tour through Tours with Mike and see another side of this architecturally famous city.

It may not be Broadway, but Chicago has a vibrant theater scene and you can save big on tickets through Hot Tix. They have half price tickets at several theaters.

Dining is another category in which Chicago is world-class. You can save on eating out with special deals from Artango Bar & Steakhouse, which has a 20% off dinner special from Sunday to Thursday. Or, get half off wine bottles every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at Kinzie Chophouse when you purchase two entrees. Check out dining deals on Lettuce Entertain You, too.

The Chicago CityPASS is another way to bundle and save on destinations like Skydeck Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum. Along with those three attractions, you can choose two more between the Museum of Science and Industry, the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck, or the Art Institute of Chicago. With this pass you’ll save half off the full price you’d pay visiting five of these destinations.

Matt Matasci is a Southern California freelance writer who writes on technology and business, plus travel and lifestyle topics.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

30 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes You’ll Love

One thing you can count on every Friday after Thanksgiving: There will be leftovers.  For some people, that’s one of the best parts of turkey day.

But even the most avid turkey sandwich enthusiast gets a little tired of them after a few days.

Of course, “I’m sick of it” is no excuse to throw away perfectly good food.

So before you’re tempted to toss the remains of your turkey dinner in the trash, check out these delicious and creative Thanksgiving leftover recipes.

30 Ways to Repurpose Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

From classics like soup to surprises like nachos, you’re sure to find something to reignite your holiday appetite.

Although many of these dishes contain more than one traditional Thanksgiving ingredient, we’ve organized them by their main component so you can easily find a recipe that fits your unique Thanksgiving leftover situation.

That said, some of them look so good, you might want to make Thanksgiving dinner all over again…


The main event is also the one most likely to leave a lot behind — no matter how insistent mom is that each guest takes some home.

Here’s how to transform that pile of leftover turkey meat into a delicious new dish.

1. Turkey Salad

leftover turkey recipes

The day after Thanksgiving, a big, hearty meal might be the last thing on your mind.

Lighten up your menu by making leftover turkey into a salad — either the creamy, mayo-based kind you serve on bread, or the kind with actual lettuce — like a chicken salad, but with turkey instead!

This cranberry pecan version from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen looks lovely, and Self Proclaimed Foodie’s Krissy substitutes Greek yogurt instead of (or in addition to!) mayonnaise.

2. Turkey Frittata

What’s eggy, delicious and perfectly appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

A frittata, of course!

Jackie at Domestic Fits offers a recipe that’ll use up your leftover turkey and rolls in a snap, and Yasmin Fahr suggests dipping her frittata in leftover cranberry sauce mixed with a little bit of dijon mustard.

But just like an omelette, the possibilities are endless. Just crack some eggs and put on your thinking cap. Bonus if you can use more of your holiday leftovers in this dish.

3. Leftover Thanksgiving Nachos

Here’s a new take on nachos.

Food Network offers this appetizing tray of leftover Thanksgiving nachos, including leftover turkey, roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash.

It even uses up the last of that can of French-fried onions you put on your green bean casserole.

4. Turkey Tetrazzini

A pan full of turkey tetrazzini.

What’s a better mate for your leftover turkey than mayonnaise?

Try a creamy, cheesy mushroom sauce — complete with spaghetti.

Tetrazzini, a classic American pasta dish, works well with all kinds of poultry and fish, and leftover turkey is no exception. Plus, The Pioneer Woman’s version calls for an entire block of cream cheese.

5. Turkey Milanese

This fancy-sounding dish by Bobby Flay actually looks pretty darn easy to put together.

And if you skip the pomegranate molasses, you probably already have most of these ingredients in your pantry.

6. Turkey Pizza

Sound unconventional? Sure — but the best part about making pizza at home is going beyond your local joint’s usual repertoire.

If you’re still unconvinced, check out ReadySetEat’s artichoke turkey pizza. Just grab a premade crust and add some leftover turkey, diced tomatoes, canned artichokes and olives, and two types of cheese (because, yes).

7. Turkey Enchiladas

Repurpose an American classic into a Mexican dish that predates the birth of our country.

There are lots of versions out there. Here’s one of the best Thanksgiving leftover recipes we’ve found.

You’ll need:

1.5 onions

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups cooked, leftover turkey, shredded
  • 8 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 2 fresh jalapenos
  • 1 cup smoked barbecue sauce
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon each cumin, oregano and sugar
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (or your own homemade turkey stock; see item #13 on this list!)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in 4 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese
  • 12 tortillas
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil (such as olive)
  • frying oil (such as canola)
  • sour cream
  • green onions

Make your enchilada sauce by pureeing the mild chili powder, fresh jalapenos, barbecue sauce, one quartered onion, one clove of garlic, the can of tomato sauce, the cumin, oregano and sugar, a teaspoon of salt, an eighth of a teaspoon of pepper and two tablespoons of cooking oil.

Fry the mixture up in hot oil for about five minutes, stirring constantly.

Then add the broth, a cup of half-and-half, plus the two tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in an additional 4 tablespoons of half and half. Simmer for two minutes.

Then, saute the remaining half onion and clove of garlic, diced finely, in hot oil. Add the shredded turkey, brown slightly, and stir in sauce (reserving some) and salt and pepper to taste. Heat, and keep warm.

Fry the 12 tortillas quickly in hot oil. Drain and keep them warm in a casserole dish. Dip the tortillas in heated sauce, put a strip of filling across each, and roll tightly. Arrange side-by-side in pan, sprinkle with cheese and heat in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Spoon heated sauce over enchiladas and serve with sour cream and chopped green onions. Muy bien!

8. Turkey Chili

Turkey chili with bread.

What better way to weather the cold winter months than with a hearty chili?

And since you’ve likely got more leftover turkey than you know what to do with, this lightened-up version from Ambitious Kitchen is a perfect fit.

And if you’re feeling fiery, check out Food Network’s leftover turkey chili recipe, which brings the heat with fire-roasted tomatoes.

9. Turkey “Shepherd’s” Pie

So, let’s assess the Thanksgiving leftover situation. You’ve likely got the following leftover turkey, gravy, stuffing or dressing and mashed potatoes. Obviously, you need to put all those things together in one dish with the mashed potatoes on top.

Although it’s called “shepherd’s pie” because it traditionally comes with lamb, this dish is as simple and cost-effective as it is tasty. You don’t have to use any ingredients other than the Thanksgiving leftovers themselves.

Although it’s called “shepherd’s pie” because it traditionally comes with lamb, this dish — poulterer’s pie? — is as simple and cost-effective as it is tasty. You don’t have to use any ingredients other than the Thanksgiving leftovers themselves.

And if you want a full-sized pie, check out Martha Stewart’s recipe, which sweetens the deal with leftover cranberry sauce and glazed carrots.

Seriously, how lame does that sandwich sound now?

10. Turkey Pot Pie

Got a leftover pie crust or two, or even a frozen puff pastry?

You could make a perfect turkey pot pie, crammed full of all your favorite fixings from your Thanksgiving feast. This one, for example, will use up your leftover green bean casserole, too.

Want something a bit more handheld?

Check out this recipe for “pocket” pies, stuffed with cranberry sauce, sweet and mashed potatoes, stuffing and, of course, leftover turkey. Make them ahead of time and pop ‘em in the toaster oven.

11. Turkey Quesadillas

Quesadillas are a perfect vehicle in which to stuff a Thanksgiving leftover.

This one calls for brie and cranberry chutney. Yum.

12. Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

thanksgiving leftover recipes

Casseroles are cheap, filling and delicious, not to mention a great way to get those turkey leftovers into hungry stomachs.

There are tons of ways to make your Thanksgiving leftovers into a casserole. This recipe calls for canned soups and frozen peas, which you probably already have at your disposal.

13. So Many Delicious Winter Soups

First things first: If you’re not making fresh turkey stock with that picked-clean carcass, you’re doing it wrong.

Throw some root veggies, spices and what’s left of the bird in a pot, cover with water and simmer as long as you can stand it — it’s going to smell incredible. (This recipe says two to three hours, but you can go as long as six, adding extra water as needed).

Then, make that stock into delicious soups. This is a common tradition, so there are endless Thanksgiving leftover recipes for soup to try. We suggest Alton Brown’s super-simple “bird to the last drop” or this delicious version from The Pioneer Woman.

And check out Pinch of Yum’s Easy Turkey Pho, which calls for savory fish sauce and sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves.

14. OK, Fine, Turkey Sandwiches

Some things are traditional for a reason. Consider elevating your turkey sandwich game with these creative leftover recipes:

Mashed Potatoes

leftover mashed potatoes

In the category of foods that make you go, “I made too much of this and I’m not sorry,” mashed potatoes are second only to the turkey itself.

And although they’re just as yummy reheated and piled up with leftover gravy, here are some more creative options.

15. Potato Pancakes

Potato pancakes might already be the perfect Penny Hoarder food.

They’re delicious, filling, versatile and, of course, inexpensive — especially when you have a ton of leftover mashed potatoes to use up.

Dress this basic recipe up with your favorite toppings… like, say, all that leftover cranberry sauce.

Food Network Chef Giada De Laurentiis gets eggs and parmesan involved in her “eggs in purgatory” dish.

Or, you could experiment with throwing additional ingredients right into the mix before cooking.

Kelly, who blogs at Just a Taste, suggests cheddar cheese and scallions.

16. Mashed Potato Soup

Yes, more delicious soup.

You’d be hard-pressed to argue against this loaded mashed potato soup from Mommy Hates Cooking.

Instead of chicken broth, sub in that delicious turkey stock you made.

17. Mashed Potato Muffins

Who knew that if you add an egg to leftover mashed potatoes, they’ll bake into fluffy, delicious muffins?

Just a Taste offers this simple recipe for mashed potato muffins, or try this slightly more involved recipe for mashed potato “puffs” from The Kitchn.

18. Croquettes

Croquettes are photographed on a white plate.

Want a quick and easy way to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey, leftover potatoes and leftover cranberry sauce all in one go?

Check out Martha Stewart’s recipe for turkey croquettes.

Already used up your turkey? John Torode’s “bubble and squeak” croquettes call for bacon, turnips and cabbage for a total repackaging of a Thanksgiving fave.

19. Gluten-Free Cake

Bet you didn’t know mashed potatoes could have a place on the dessert table.

This lemon drizzle cake ditches flour in favor of ground almonds and mashed potatoes to stay fluffy and flavorful, even though it’s gluten-free.


leftover stuffing

It’s kind of a rarity to have any of this left, at least in most houses.

That said, if you do have leftover stuffing, you’re in for a treat.

20. Fried Stuffing Bites

This recipe is trouble.

Fried leftover stuffing served with a cranberry pesto really is next-level Thanksgiving leftover creativity.

21. Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms

This Food Network recipe is super simple and super tasty. Do yourself a favor and spring for fresh parmesan — the stuff in the green tub has no place on this dish.

Cranberry Sauce

leftover cranberry sauce

It’s  sweet but tangy and a perfect compliment to that overzealous mound of savory Thanksgiving recipes.

But shockingly, many people eat only a tiny bit of cranberry sauce, or consider it merely obligatory. Buck that trend and give these leftover recipes a try.

22. Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Cranberry Upside-Down cake? Yes, please!

This version from Baked In looks as good as it sounds. Just substitute your sauce for the fresh cranberries it calls for — or use the leftovers that didn’t make it to your table in the first place.

23. Cranberry Tartlets

Calling for little more than dough, an egg and some sugar, these cranberry tartlets are as elegant as they are delicious, and make a great alternative to heavier desserts like pumpkin pie.

24. Cranberry Pancakes

Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast doesn’t have to mean hash — not that we don’t love hash!

Spoon your cranberry sauce into pancake batter for a sweet breakfast that might become your new favorite Friday-after-Thanksgiving tradition.

25. Cranberry Muffins

Transform that cranberry sauce into next week’s breakfast for the whole family by whipping up a batch of muffins.

This recipe from Kitchen Treaty looks delectable, as does Wes Martin’s cranberry-carrot version.

Green Bean Casserole

leftover green bean casserole

Honestly, you won’t find  a whole lot of ways to repurpose this one — probably because it’s so darn good reheated and eaten as-is.

But aside from spooning it onto salads (or directly into your mouth) try this easy way to use up your green bean casserole.

26. Green Bean Quiche

This quiche has nine ingredients, one of which is your leftover green bean casserole.

Sweet Potatoes

Whether you sweeten your dinner with candied yams or opt for a savory dish, this spud probably has a place at your Thanksgiving table.

Here’s what to do with the leftovers.

27. Breakfast Hash

thanksgiving leftover recipes

DIY your hash using leftover sweet potatoes, turkey and poached eggs.

Or, if you’re looking for a more structured recipe, try this one from EatingWell – a lightened-up hash which brings in an apple to balance the mix.

28. Sweet Potato Biscuits

Want a slightly sweetened roll, once all the Thanksgiving crescents have been eaten up?

Try out these sweet potato biscuits courtesy of Spinach Tiger.

29. Sweet Potato Pie

Transforming your yams into a sweet potato pie is pretty much as simple as adding crust — and some evaporated milk or eggs to get the pie’s texture right.

Try Taste of Home’s version, complete with pecans, or this one from Spinach Tiger.

30. Sweet Potato Cake

Here’s one more way to make this Thanksgiving leftover even sweeter: Transform it into cake.

This recipe is reminiscent of good, homemade gingerbread. Be sure to adjust the amount of sugar you add to the mix depending on how much sweetness is already in your yams.

Robert Bruce is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Jamie Cattanach is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Cheap Gifts Under $10 (That Your Friends Won’t Regift)

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year and for many of us, it’s also the most expensive. Finding the ideal gifts can be challenging and end up hurting your wallet more than you’d like. It’s enough to fill even the most savvy shopper with dread.

You might have been able to avoid buying some gifts last year since your office probably didn’t have a holiday party with a white elephant gift exchange, and your friend group may have skipped the secret Santa due to concerns about COVID.

But 2021 is different. While the pandemic is still with us, people are more comfortable gathering now that vaccines are available.

The pandemic will affect gift-giving in other ways this year, though. Factory shut-downs early on in the pandemic caused shipping companies to cut their schedules to accommodate for what they expected would be a lower consumer demand.

But instead, people around the world started buying more stuff than ever online. Items for the house in particular were selling like crazy. This caused a supply chain issue that is still a concern today, and it’s expected to make holiday shopping harder than ever, as items you might typically buy (including the hottest toys) may sell out much earlier than usual.

Despite all this, finding the best gifts or stocking stuffers for your friend or family member doesn’t have to stress you out. (Although it’s a good idea to start shopping early, if you haven’t already, to make sure the gifts you want to buy are in stock.)

Here are 40 cheap gift ideas for $10 or less that will please even the pickiest of recipients at your next gift exchange.

Note: All prices are accurate as of Nov. 7, 2021.

Around the House

These great holiday gift ideas will please everyone on your Christmas gift list — not just the homebodies. And to make it even better, these are all practical gifts as well! Pretty much anyone on your gift list would be thrilled to unwrap one of these presents this year.

1. Novelty Tea Infusers: $9.99

Got a sloth-loving tea enthusiast on your list? This tea infuser is dishwasher-safe, super cute and the best gift idea.

Or try this adorable Mr. Tea infuser, who looks like he’s enjoying a hot soak in your cup, also for $9.99.

There are several tea infuser options to choose from depending on the tea lover’s interests. This is one of the best gifts (and the most practical) for your friend who sips tea all winter long

2. Cat Coffee Cup Cozy: $10

Who doesn’t love sipping a hot cuppa while curled up on a frosty day?

For the friend whose lap cat will inevitably complete that picture, consider this cute hand-crocheted cozy. They could even use it at coffee shops and help save paper sleeves.

Friend not into cats? The same Etsy seller has options for LGTBQ pride, unicorn fans and even aspiring pirates, all for $10 apiece.

3. “Corki” Wine Stopper: $9.99

If your friend is more of a dog person than a cat person, this corgi-shaped wine stopper is the perfect present  for keeping bottles of wine fresh between glasses.

A wine stopper makes the perfect stocking stuffer for a gift recipient who loves wine, and you can find affordable ones to match your friend’s personality.

Oh, and don’t forget …

4. Drinking Buddies Glass Markers: $9.99

— so your friends won’t lose their drinking glasses at parties. These “Drinking Buddies” glass markers feature men in uniforms so your friends remember whose glass is whose.

If your friend isn’t into men in uniform, there are plenty of other glass markers to choose from, including koalas ($9.90) and emojis ($7).

5. Cheese Knives: $7.95 each

If you thought the perfect gift for the cheese-lover in your life didn’t exist, think again. Just one of these cheese knives takes a plate of cheese from an appetizer to a display worthy of any get-together.

Or, you know, a fancy Friday night by themselves. We don’t judge!

6. Kitty Ice Cube Molds: $6.99

Did you know that you can get ice cube molds in a variety of fun shapes, including kittens? If your friend isn’t into cats, you can choose from penguins ($4.80), fish ($4.99) or even pineapples ($7.98).

In addition to using the molds for ice, you can also use them to make novelty chocolate or gummies! Talk about a two-for-one deal.

7. Bonsai Tree Seeds: $4.21

Who knew bonsai tree seeds were so cheap?

If you know someone with a green thumb who’s interested in making a new hobby of an ancient tradition, these bonsai seeds might be perfect — although the planting material and container are not included. You could pick those up to make a gift pack, or club together with some mutual friends to keep the cost-per-person down while giving your friend everything they need to start their bonsai tree hobby.

8. Ceramic Planter: $5.95 plus plant

It doesn’t take a green thumb to throw a plant into a pot.

With this cute planter and the succulents you can buy at Trader Joe’s or Home Depot for $2 to $3 apiece, you’ll spend about $9 per recipient of each adorable final display.

If your gift recipient is still working from home, this is an ideal gift to help them decorate their desk and make it feel more homey. Even your gardening-challenged friends can handle a succulent or two.

Blue bath bombs are on display.

9. Handmade Soaps or Bath Bombs: $3.50+

Receiving handmade soap or bath bombs as a gift is far from insulting when the products look good enough to eat!

There are tons of options on Etsy or at your local craft fair, but higher-traffic brick-and-mortar stores offer quality products at only slightly higher prices. You may even be lucky enough to find cute handmade beauty items at your local grocery store.

10. Stretchy Bookmark: $8

Do you know a bookworm who frequently loses their place? No more with this stretchy, silicone bookmark, which will point at the exact line where they leave off. It’s designed to fit around the entire book, which will hold it in place even if a kid or pet gets hold of it, so your book-loving friend will never have to worry about trying to remember where they left off again.

11. Scarf Hanger: $9.97

If your loved one struggles with storage tactics for their plethora of scarves, here’s a gift that’ll help get them organized. They likely don’t even know they need a scarf hanger.

This hanger displays and organizes scarves (or belts! or ties!) in your closet so they’re easily accessible and wrinkle-free. Plus, it’ll make your closet look much more tidy and organized, and might even encourage you to organize the rest of it!

12. Lip Balm Set: $7.99

Lip balm is a great gift because it’s practical, but you can also get it with fancy scents and packaging to make it feel more special.

This organic lip balm six pack is a steal at $7.99. You can also check out this one, which was on sale for $7.95 at the time of writing. Alternatively, check out the beauty aisle next time you go grocery shopping for even more options. You can even grab a pack of hair ties for a couple of bucks to make a super practical beauty gift.

13. Scented Candles: $9

A beautiful scented candle can brighten any space. You can find them in a variety of scents to fit any mood or preference.

If you’re shopping for 50 or more people, you could even check out listings for wedding favors and get a really nice gift quite cheaply (like a bit over a buck a piece).

14. Moon-shaped Ceramic Dish: $7+

Whether it’s to wrangle stray jewelry or set down a spent tea bag, these little moon-shaped dishes come in a variety of colors and work for anyone on your list. As an added bonus, they won’t cost you much at all.

15. Personal Photos: 12 Cents+ Each

There’s just something about a tangible personal photo that the digital file lacks. You can get prints of your best memories online at vendors like Mpix for cents on the dollar; or you can check out what Target and Walmart have to offer.

You don’t have to buy a frame — you could string up your photos with wooden clothespins for a cheap, but romantic, option. Many vendors also sell canvas prints or other configurations of your photos at good prices.

If you do go shopping for frames, though, you can find cheap ones in a variety of sizes. They make the best gifts for the friend who loves to display photos around the house.

16. Just Crunch Anti-Soggy Cereal Bowl: $7.99

Nothing ruins your Raisin Bran like a slightly too-long milk bath. Get the breakfast lover in your life the Just Crunch Anti-Soggy cereal bowl to keep them crunching all the way through the Saturday morning news — or cartoons.

On a similar note:

17. French Fry Dipping Cone: $5.99

Dishwasher safe and not just for fries, the french fry dipping cone is a convenient and attractive way to serve finger foods and dip. Your lucky recipient can make burger and fry night at home feel like a night out at the local diner!

Less mess on the cheap! What’s not to love?

18. Flexible Pot Clips: $8.99

Flexible pot clips are the perfect gift for your aspiring-chef friend who’s still a little messy in the kitchen. Help them get organized and stop splattering chili on their countertops with this convenient gadget.

You might even want to add an extra one to your cart if your cooking style tends to include a lot of splatters.


The way to pretty much anyone’s heart is through the stomach. Even if you’re no gourmand, you can give awesome edible gifts this holiday season! These are sure to be the favorite gifts for the foodies in your life.

19. Beer Marshmallows: $8.50

Um, yum? You can get a dozen Guinness beer marshmallows for less than $10.

If beer isn’t your style, you can choose from Peppermint, Fluffernutter or even Maple Bacon.

While you’re at it, grab a few sets for yourself to roast over the open fire this holiday season!

A box of chocolates.

20. Good Chocolate: $3 to $5

This listing on Amazon for Ghirardelli chocolate with sea salt is $33.48 for 12 extra-dark chocolate bars, which means you’d spend about $3 on each lucky recipient (and maybe even keep a bar for yourself). But you can head to your local grocery store and stalk the candy aisle for lots of options for less than $5.

If you want to get really fancy, some single-origin, small-batch chocolate bars can cost up to $10 or even more — but are well worth the price to the true chocolate snob on your list.

21. Good Tea: $10

Shop around; there are tons of flavors available for good teas. You can find a large selection of flavored tea bags online or even at the store while you’re grabbing your weekly food haul.

Plus, lots of tea bags come in pretty, reusable tins that serve as decorative organization — all for less than $10.

22. Really (Really) Good Honey: $9

Stubbees specializes in raw, creamed, flavored honeys. Pioneered by a 21-year-old beekeeper in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, this honey isn’t just delicious; it also supports a cool small business co-founded by a young entrepreneur.

The cinnamon flavor is a popular one, but there are tons of flavors to choose from, including seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice and vanilla bean.

If you’d rather shop for local honey, check out this website to help you find honey farmers in your area. Local honey is said to be good for seasonal allergies, so this can be a wonderful gift if your friend or family member suffers from allergies.

23.  Gourmet Barbecue Sauces: $7.95+

There’s nothing like a good barbecue sauce to put the finishing touch on a backyard grilling session.

And with options like boozy bacon and roasted peach whiskey, there’s no way your recipient’s smile will be anything but genuine.

24. Cookie or Brownie Mix in a Jar: $3

You don’t have to be super-crafty to DIY a great gift like cookie or brownie mix in jars. Mason jars usually come in packages of 12 for a couple of bucks apiece — or, check out your local thrift store to find ‘em for as low as a quarter.

Then, scour the web for tons of creative recipe ideas. In most cases, the ingredients for a single jar shouldn’t cost you more than a dollar, especially if you’re planning to make quite a few and buy your sugar and flour in bulk.

Write an instruction card for your recipient and decorate the jar with ribbon. You just gave someone a cheap, useful and beautiful gift!

A Christmas party happens at an office.

For Work Friends or Secret Santa

You might not know some folks on your list that well; maybe you only see them around the office. Here are some non-Starbucks-gift-card gift options.

25. Picture Message Desktop Flipbook: $9.87

Looking for the perfect gift for your office worker friend? Look no further than this desktop picture flipbook.

This flipbook is a cute cubicle addition with 29 messages to choose from, from “Out of Office” to “Longest Day Ever!”

26. The Seven-Year Pen: $8.95

Work with someone who takes a ton of notes? This unassuming, eco-friendly seven-year pen can write five and a half feet per day for seven years! That’s a lot of on-hold scribbling for a bit over a buck a year.

27. Mini Tabletop Zen Garden: $9.99

Got a coworker who could use a mini vacation? Help them relax and focus with this thrifty desktop zen garden.

28. Cute Food-Themed Erasers: $6.99

Come on, these food-themed erasers are pretty adorable, right? A quick, cheap, safe bet for any secret Santa recipient — even if you only ever exchange niceties around the Keurig.

Wearables and Accessories

Buying for a fashionista this year? Here are some independently selected options that make the best gifts.

29. Scarves: $10 or less

You can never go wrong with scarves. They’re fashionable and versatile, and come in enough colors to get your loved ones a couple.

Plus, your recipient will have a use for the scarf hanger listed above!

30.Fingerless Gloves: $8.95

Keep your loved one’s hands warm with funky fingerless gloves — they’re stylish and still let you use your touch screen.

31. Heart Earrings: $10

Tiny heart earrings are unassuming and adorable, plus they’d go with anything.

You can also find tiny flowers ($3.99) or even these adorable tiny dinosaur earrings ($8.40)for the pierced person on your shopping list.

32. Wildflower Crown Knitting Pattern: $4

If you’re crafty, you could make a friend this everlasting flower crown for $4 plus the cost of yarn. If you know a crafty person, you could give her the pattern itself as a gift!

33. T-shirts: $6

Since there are so many options for novelty T-shirts, you’re sure to find something for anyone on your list. Even those hard-to-buy-for folks who seem to have everything need T-shirts!

Threadless has lots of funky designs and often has sales that take their tees to less than $10.

A group of people exchange Christmas presents.

Novelty Gifts and Other Useful Stuff

From an on-the-go light to blank pages to carry in your pocket, these best gifts will make anyone on your list grin.

34. Pocket Light: $10

Ever get home late at night and can’t get your key in the door? Or maybe you’re out at a bar and someone loses an earring?

No more scrambling to keep your cell phone screen active with a pocket light that’s the side of a credit card. Flip open your wallet and save the day.

35. Cell Phone Propper-Upper: $9.44

Is your techy friend getting carpal tunnel from holding her phone so much?

The cell phone propper-upper holds up your Android or iPhone so you can scroll through the screen with ease.

Want a more stylish option? Try the Pumped Up smartphone stand for $9.02 or the hilarious “iPlunge” for $8.99.

36. Cable Management System: $7.99

Wires, wires everywhere. How many of us suffer from this problem?

This cable management system is sleek and would help streamline anyone’s workspace.

37. Harry Potter Keychain: $6.98

For the die-hard Harry Potter fan on your list, you can’t go wrong with a Platform 9¾ keychain that costs less than $7.

38. Novelty USB Flash Drive: $8.99

Everyone needs portable storage these days, so why not pick a cute flash drive?

Even better: Fill it with fun personal stuff, like date photos or favorite songs. It’s the 21st century mix tape!

39. Notebooks: $9.80 for six

You can never go wrong with a notebook, even in our deeply digital days. There are still plenty of people out there who like to use notebooks for journaling or writing lists. A notebook might even be the place where your bestie starts the great American novel or your honey scribbles a poem for you.

Moleskines are quality, beautiful and come in lots of different colors, and you get three for less than $10!

40. Gift Cards: $10 or less

A $10 gift card to Starbucks or Panera can actually get you a decent amount of stuff, and you might even be able to buy it for less than $10. Check out our list for discounted gift cards and save even more money.

With a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, you can find the perfect holiday gift without breaking the bank. Sometimes, the best gifts don’t necessarily cost you an arm and a leg. Good luck, and happy shopping.

Jamie Cattanach and Catherine Hiles are contributors at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

13 Bottles of the Best Cheap Red Wine Under $12

With summer now behind us (*weep*), you may be looking for more economical bottles of delicious red wine with firm tannins to go with those crispier days, heavier meals and crackling fires.

But you don’t need to spend a fortune on red wine. It can still taste plenty rich even when you buy it on the cheap. We researched popular wine retailers to find the best cheap red wine, and got some help from Nick Elliott, a winemaking expert based in San Diego.

We’ve got some great information about how to select red wine and why prices are what they are. However, if you just want to skip to our list of 13 great reds, we understand.

Setting the Table for Red Wine: A Brief Q&A

Before we take our first sip, let’s review some common questions that come up when talking about reds.

Why Are Some Red Wines So Pricey?

Answer: Lots of reasons. Here are some typical factors driving the price of red wines.

  • Red wine is aged, and the longer a bottle sits in storage the more it costs to bring it to market. One rule of thumb: expect to spend a dollar for every year of aging.
  • Compared to whites, red-wine grapes are often harvested in smaller quantities to encourage more flavor. Smaller quantities mean lower volume, hence high prices.
  • Smaller “boutique” vineyards often use more labor-intensive methods versus high-volume producers.
  • When a growing season for a particular vintage produces lower yields, the wine can be more flavorful but in shorter supply. That means higher demand and a higher price.
  • Varietals that are in fashion or have a storied reputation can command a higher price.
  • Labor costs vary widely across the globe. Taxes and tariffs, too.
  • Wines aged in oak cost more to produce and are often in greater demand.
Looking for cheap white wine? We’ve got you covered there, too. Check out our picks for the top cheap white wines.

Does Expensive Red Wine Always Taste Better?

Answer: Not necessarily, but the mind can play tricks on the taste buds. An interesting study found that price can influence our perception of taste. The study found that, in blind tastings, people who were told a wine was more expensive tended to rate it higher – even when it was actually cheap wine.

What Are Some Common Red Wine Myths?

Myth: Red wine should never be chilled. Well … not necessarily. Light- to medium-bodied red wines with low levels of tannins can handle a little cooling. And the recommended serving temperatures for red wines range from 13˚C-18˚C (55˚F-64˚F) – a little cooler than you might have guessed.

Myth: Never drink red wine in a box. Don’t be so sure! As long as the packaging protects it from light and air, it can often be perfectly acceptable — and packaged more sustainably.

Myth: Red blends are inferior to single-variety wines. Did you know that Champagne is a blended wine? Case closed.

Two glasses of red wine sit on a purple background.

13 of the Best Cheap Red Wines Under $12

Cabernet Sauvignon

Best bottle: Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

The taste: This South African cabernet sauvignon is a medium- to full-bodied wine with hints of red bell pepper and dark chocolate.

Pair it with: A pizza or pasta night. Or, for more of a splurge, try it with grilled New York strip steak with salsa verde.

Price $6.99 at Marketviewliquor.com

If You Like Cabernet Sauvignon …

Try Tannat

Best bottle: Inkarri Estate Red Blend

The taste: Tannat isn’t well known yet — but it should be. This grape originally hails from the Basque country, between France and Spain, but has migrated to other parts of the globe. It’s the primary grape in this blend of all-organic grapes produced in Mendoza, Argentina. You’ll taste notes of herb, oak, and spice layered over blueberry, blackberry and elderberry notes.

Pair it with: Bolder dishes with earthy ingredients like eggplant and mushrooms, as well as cheese, beef and roasted lamb. A traditional cassoulet is a great choice

Price: $10.49 at PlantX.com.


Best bottle: Bonterra Merlot 2018

The taste: This earthy red wine from California has aromas of spiced plum, licorice and black olive. It’s medium-bodied with smooth tannins and made from organically grown grapes.

Pair it with: Beef, lamb or veal. A traditional French veal blanquette (stew) is a great choice.

Price: $11.97 at Total Wine.

If You Like Merlot …

Try Chianti

Best bottle: Gancia Chianti 2019

The taste: From Tuscany, this dry, medium-bodied red has a silky texture with floral scents. It’s mildly tannic, which refines over time, with a hint of spice.

Pair it with: Great for an informal gathering with pasta and tomato sauce, antipasto or lasagna.

Price: $9.99 at Wine.com

Pinot Noir

Best bottle: Chop House Pinot Noir

The taste: This complex Santa Barbara, Calif., pinot noir is big, bold and rich. It’s fruity with earthy tones, high acids and tannins.

Pair it with: Steak or other red meats, especially something with mushrooms or truffles such as this pan-seared steak with mushrooms.

Price $9.99 at Wliquors.com

If You Like Pinot Noir …

Try Beaujolais

Best bottle: Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages

The taste: Like pinot noir, this bold bottle is fruit-forward and juicy, with strawberry flavors, peppercorns, tannins and acidity. It’s considered a great Thanksgiving red wine because it complements the traditional flavors of that feast.

Pair it with: French food such as a charcuterie board or soft cheeses. Or, for something different, pair it with a nutty, semi-sweet dessert such as pecan pie.

Price: $7.99 at Budgetbottle.com


Best bottle: Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel 2018

The taste: Black pepper, cranberries and raspberries are some flavors in this robust red wine, which is aged for 14 months in a two-year-old American oak barrel.

Pair it with: Something strong and spicy like this chipotle BBQ pork dish.

Price: $11 at Wine.com

If You Like Zinfandel …

Try Garnacha/Grenache

Best bottle: Borsao Garnacha

The taste: Often overshadowed, this is a fabulous alternative to its bolder cousin, the Zinfandel. Garnacha was originally from Spain, but today it’s often planted in southern France (you’ll also see it called grenache). This is a medium-full bodied wine that has medium acidity, medium tannins and high alcohol.

Pair it with: Poultry, pork or barbecue. A good pork suggestion is this roasted pork tenderloin with blackberry sauce.

Price: $10 at Drinkdispatch.com


Best bottle: Alamos Malbec 2019

The taste: This wine from Mendoza, Argentina, has bright cherry and toasty light florals. This is a rich, ripe red with concentrated black raspberry, chocolate and spice.

Pair it with: Steak, pork and lamb. This burger with Creole mustard tomato jam combines all three, along with toppings that will complement your sips.

Price: $7.67 at Totalwine.com 

If you like Malbec …

Try Carmenere

Best bottle: Root 1 Carmenere 2018

The taste: Grown in Chile, this medium bodied red is earthy with cedar and hints of spice, leather and tobacco.

Pair it with: Pasta dishes, vegetable soup, spicy entrees, and grilled meats. It’s also versatile enough to match with garlic, fresh herbs and eggplant, making eggplant parmesan a nice choice.

Price: $10.99 at Wine.com

Open to either red or white? Game on! Check out our list of fabulous wines under $14.


Best bottle: Beelgara Winery Estate Shiraz 2017

The taste: Plums, black pepper and soft tannins. This is a lovely full-bodied red from New South Wales, Australia.

Pair it with: Braised beef or roasted leg of lamb.

Price: $10.99 at Wine.com

If You Like Syrah/Shiraz …

Try Petite Sirah

Best bottle: Bogle Petite Sirah

The taste: Similar to syrah, this petite sirah tastes like ripe plums and blackberries. But it’s more complex, with rich spices.

Pair it with: Roasted pork or barbecued meat. The Bogle folks recommend this grilled flank steak with bacon chive butter.

Price: $8.97 at Totalwine.com

Red Wine Blend

Best bottle: Bodegas Luzon Verde

The taste: This organic red from Jumilla, Spain, has the aroma of black pepper, smoke and ripe plum. It’s full-bodied, rich and lush.

Pair it with: Braised short ribs, sausage and a rich pasta. Try it with this cheesy sausage pasta.

Price: $9.99 at Arlingtonwine.net

The Penny Hoarder contributor Danielle Braff is a Chicago writer who specializes in consumer goods and shopping on a budget. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Real Simple and more. Contributor Diane Bacha contributed to this report.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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