4 Gift Guides For People With Impeccable Taste When You're On A Budget

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The holidays are upon us yet again, folks! That means it's time to start making your list, checking it twice, and ensuring that your debit card can withstand the workout you're about to put it through. And while you might be on an instant noodle budget with most of your expenses, you still have a series of discerning friends you need to get gifts for. So what's a semi-broke person who still prides herself on gift-giving to do?

The key, my friends, is strategy. You've gotta know who you're shopping for, and you need to have a plan. Start off by thinking about what your friend likes to do. Is their nose constantly buried in a book? Are they always hosting the gang for cocktails? Perhaps they have a Ph.D. in treating themselves. Maybe they're singularly talented at traveling on the cheap. After all, you have many types of friends, because you're a very eclectic person.

Never fear! We've compiled a series of sweet holiday gift hauls for different personalities that won't break the bank. Each of the gifts is under $40, so your wallet will be thanking you. Get ready to win at your office Secret Santa.

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The Intellectual

Lauren Perlstein

Surrealist Sugar Bowl, $30/ MoMA Store; Marbleized Paperweight/ & Other Stories; Giraffe Pencil Cup, $18/Anthropologie; Marimekko Pencils, $10.17/ Amazon; Marble & Wood Bookend, $14.99/ Target; The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, $18.70/ Target

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Shopping for your friend who's all about a life of the mind may initially seem intimidating. And though you only pretend to get all their literary references, you can pass the gift-giving test with flying colors. A quirky yet useful Magritte homage like the above Surrealist Sugar Bowl will delight the art history nerd within them. Consider what they'd love to outfit their writing desk with; we suggest a modern paperweight, a Giraffe Pencil Cup, and some Marimekko pencils to mark up their book margins with brilliant musings. When all else fails, go for a classic novel like The Jungle Book, and a pair of stylish bookends to prop up their constantly expanding library of new titles.

The Super-Host

Lauren Perlstein
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Thirstystone Metallic Rainbow Cocktail Shaker, $19.99/ Macy's; Smirnoff No. 21; Geo Bottle Opener, $28/ Anthropologie; Moscow Mule Mug, $17.95/ Fishs Eddy; Mini Glitter Snowglobe Set, $32/ MoMA Store

What would your social life be without that one generous buddy who's constantly opening up their apartment to host you for drinks and dinner? (It would be nonexistent, that's what it would be.) To pay back your most hospitable friend, shower them with gifts that'll make their cocktail nerd heart soar. A metallic rainbow cocktail shaker, a Moscow Mule mug, and a geometric bottle opener will more than do the trick. Since this friend deserves nothing but the best (and plenty of it), pick them up a bottle of Smirnoff No. 21. With the world's No. 1 vodka on their bar cart, they'll be ready to make Moscow Mules and other signature cocktails all throughout the year.! A mini glitter snowglobe set will cap off the impeccable Holiday ambience of their already adorable home. Voila! Yuletide cheer!

The World Traveler

Lauren Perlstein
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Underwater Camera Havana, $19/ Sunnylife; The Tiny Tress Press Detailing Iron, $49/ Drybar; 4-in-1 Travel Adaptor, $25/ MoMA Store; Round Frame Shades, $19/ & Other Stories

With more stamps on their passport than you can count, this is the friend who keeps you worldly. And even if their traveling is mostly done on a shoestring, you can win the award for "best gift-giving friend" by outfitting them with portable home conveniences and necessities they can pack in a carry-on. A 4-in-1 travel adaptor like the one above will be indispensable for a multi-country jaunt. They'll be super grateful to be armed for the impromptu night-on-the-town with the Tiny Tress Press Detailing Iron. Their intrepid jaunts to fantasy far-off lagoons will last for years to come with the help of an underwater camera. And, of course, they're constantly losing their sunglasses in various hostels. Pick them up an extra pair of round frame shades! They'll be eternally grateful.

The Self-Care Enthusiast

Lauren Perlstein
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Gourmand Shimmering Body Oil in Lait De Coco, $26/ Urban Outfitters; Marbeled Homescent Candle in Navy, $29/ West Elm; Dobra Carafe, $24/ Anthropologie; Mabel Journal, $28/ Anthropologie; Carnaby Versailles Mug, $22/ Jonathan Adler

Self-care is a bit of a trend these days, but this friend was far ahead of the curve. Charcoal masks? They were doing it years ago. Mindfulness journals? Pssht, they've got TONS. And they basically live in the tub. Help deck out their place like the spa it is with a marbled scented candle ('cause they can never have enough). Pick up a Mabel Journal for them to document their ~deep thoughts~ in. The Gourmand Shimmering Body Oil in Lait De Coco will become their new favorite bath time indulgence. Tie the package together with a minimalist carafe (for cucumber water — duh) and a Jonathan Adler Carnaby Versailles Mug for all the tea they're drinking. The weather outside can be frightful all it wants; this friend will be straight-chillin' by the fire.

This article is sponsored by Smirnoff No. 21. Please Drink Responsibly. SMIRNOFF No. 21 Vodka. Distilled from Grain. 40% Alc./Vol. The Smirnoff Co., Norwalk, CT.

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Photos: Lauren Perlstein; Art Direction: Jenna Wexler/Bustle; Set Design: Sergio Esteves.

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