20 Cheap & Thoughtful Gifts That Look More Expensive Than They Actually Are

It happened, guys. Seemingly overnight, your friend group went from the type of people who drink Natty Light in the woods to the type of people who throw swanky dinner parties. Consequently, you quickly found yourself in need of thoughtful gifts that look more expensive than they are, because unfortunately, a mug filled with blow pops isn’t going to cut it anymore. That being said, even though you’re an adult now (and people expect adult-like gifts), when a friend or family member’s birthday rolls around, gifts that look classy don’t necessarily have to put you behind on your student loans this month.

When it comes to gifts that look expensive but aren’t, the best thing you can do for yourself is some good old fashioned research. Sure, you can duck into a department store 20 minutes before you need to be at your best friend’s housewarming party, but odds are that kind of stressful situation will result in limited options and some really expensive impulse buys. Instead, give yourself a few days’ head start, head over to a site like Amazon where you can compare prices side by side, and click around until you find a thoughtful gift that won’t break the bank.

1. An Electric Hair Straightening Brush To Save Time

AsaVea Portable Electric Hair Straightening Brush, $39, Amazon

This hair straightening brush not only detangles knots, but it effortlessly glides through hair to secure a sleek and shiny-straight style with significantly less damage than old fashioned flat irons. Anti-scald technology means no more painful burns, and a slim frame makes it easy to maneuver — all under $40.

2. This Rainfall Shower That Plays Music

Rain Showerheads with Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker, $32, Amazon

Not only is this rainfall showerhead durable, powerful, and easy to install, but it comes with a waterproof Bluetooth speaker that attaches right to the shower head, so you can rock out first thing in the morning.

3. Give The Gift Of A Charged Phone Battery

Yoobao External Battery Pack, $14, Amazon

For that friend who always needs to stay connected, this Yoobao external battery pack is a sleek and reliable way to get an extra boost wherever you are. It’s compatible with most major devices, and it's able to fully charge your phone a few times over depending on the model.

4. A Luxurious Exfoliating Mask That Tackles All Kinds Of Skin Issues

Herbivoire Botanicals Pink Clay, $22, Nordstrom

This exfoliating pink clay mask has people raving, and that’s because it’s a luxurious and easy way to combat blemishes, clogged pores, blackheads, and oily skin.

5. A Pocket Sized Speaker That Pairs With Your Smartphone

Emie Radio Bluetooth Speaker, $33, Amazon

This mini speaker with a vintage-looking wooden frame is a great option for taking your music out of your earbuds and into the world. Its rechargeable battery lasts five to six hours, and you can use an aux cable if your device doesn't have Bluetooth.

6. A Gift For The Mixologist

Rabbit Electric Cocktail Mixer, $14, Amazon

For the mixologist in your group, this really cool Rabbit electric cocktail mixer blends drinks at the touch of a button. It’s made from glass and stainless steel, and it runs entirely on batteries.

7. This Personalized Cutting Board For The Chef In Your Life

Personalized Bamboo Cutting Board, $25, Amazon

This personalized bamboo cutting board is durable and made from genuine bamboo, but the real seller is that you can get it personalized with your choice of eight different designs (and any name you want) at no extra cost.

8. For That Friend Who’s A Little Accident-Prone

Unbreakable Wine Glasses, $21, Amazon

An amazing gift for anyone who’s a little bit accident prone, this set of four unbreakable wine glasses are dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, super high quality, and look like actual glass.

9. This Housewarming Wine Tool Set

VonShef Wine Bottle Set, $12, Amazon

The VonShef wine bottle set makes an awesome housewarming gift, as it comes with a wine pourer, corkscrew, wine bottle collar, and wine stopper all in a stylish black display case.

10. A Great Present For The Breakfast Lover

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker, $24, Amazon

Something that cooks your eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, and toast all at once should be a hell of a lot more expensive, but the Hamilton Beach breakfast sandwich maker is actually really reasonable.

11. Help Them Personalize Their Space

Ecooltronic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser, $24, Amazon

Not only does this Ecooltronic aromatherapy essential oil diffuser double as a cool mist humidifier, but it’s made with a classy wood design and changes from one LED color to the next.

12. This Luxe Pillowcase That Addresses Hair & Skin While You Sleep

Fishers Finery Pure Silk Pillowcase, $23, Amazon

Everybody appreciates a gift they can actually use immediately, especially if that means immediately reaping its benefits. This case is made of mulberry silk, which smoothes and shines hair and is significantly more gentle on skin than scratchy alternative fabrics. If your friend's not yet discovered the luxury that is silk pillowcases, you're going to be the most revered gift giver in your friend group.

13. These Go Great Alongside An Adult Coloring Book

Gallery Studio 82-Piece Deluxe Art Set, $25, Amazon

Just in time for the adult coloring book craze, this 82-piece art set has a little of everything you need to finally scribble out work frustrations into colorful masterpieces. Pencils, oil pastels, watercolors, brushes, drawing pencils, and a few extras have your bases covered.

14. Cozy Cable Knit Gloves For Texting

Isotoner Knitted Texting Gloves, $19, Amazon

These Isotoner knitted texting gloves are made with a cozy cable knit design that’s warm and luxurious, and they’ve got smarTouch invisible technology, so you can use your smartphone while wearing them.

15. Decorative Wall Accents To Complete A Room

These pretty copper geometric gem shapes will go perfectly together on any wall or room in which they're placed. Plus, reviewers are saying they've used them to hold wall terrariums, hang light fixtures from the ceiling, and other useful things.

16. This LED Vanity Mirror For The Beauty Lover

Magnifying mirrors are never just pocket change, which is a shame, as great ones like this minimize shadow and offer up to eight times magnification for the person with the perfect cat eye. But this one rings up at only $30, has all that above, and even has a 360-degree swivel and a battery operated system (that means no more messy cords cluttering up your desk).

17. This Instant Camera

While an actual Polaroid camera may set you back $100 or more, this instant camera gets the job done at half the price. Automatic exposure measurement, a lighter frame, and an updated viewfinder mean your images come out perfectly, every time.

18. This Mini Curling Wand For Styling On The Go



This clipless curler makes touchups a seriously easy feat, no matter where your friend is headed for the day. A heat-resistant storage pouch makes clean up as quick as the gadget's fast heat-up capabilities, and the curler's tiny size means your pal is traveling with significantly less clutter for their next weekend away.

19. This Stovetop Espresso Maker For The Caffeine Lover

Grosche Milano Moka Stovetop Espresso Maker, $30, Amazon

Everyone's "the caffeine lover" these days, so it's worth it to snap up a gift anyone would love on their breakfast table. This stovetop espresso maker is cool because it gets more caffeine and flavor out of your coffee beans than your regular coffee maker ever did. Plus, there's a one-year warranty and reviewers are saying it's convenient and easy to use.

20. These Wrinkle Guard Packing Sleeves For The Traveler

This two-pack of folding envelopes is the one thing your always-prepared traveling friend doesn't own yet. You can fit up to eight articles on clothing in each sleeve, and by following the folding instructions from the included diagram, can ensure that your clothes remain completely wrinkle-free upon arrival. 

Images: Amazon (20)

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