10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Wrap a Gift

10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Wrap a Gift

Let’s face it: Wrapping paper doesn’t come cheap. And when you throw in the tape, bows, ribbons, tags, and other supplies you need? It gets even more out of hand.

Fortunately, store-bought paper isn’t your only option. 

In fact, with a little creativity and some forethought, you can actually get away with wrapping those gifts pretty cheaply.

Get your gifts holiday-ready without breaking the bank

1. Try postage paper.

Plain brown postage paper comes in bulk for a seriously low price. Though it’s plain on its surface, when paired with some red, green, or white twine, it can actually look quite festive. A nice bonus? You don’t even need a box if you’re mailing that gift. Just write the address right on the label, and send it off. (Don’t forget your stamps, of course).

2. Put your kiddo to work.

Wrapping gifts for grandma or an aunt or uncle? Let your kiddo make the present more personal with some hand-drawn gift wrap. Just get some plain construction or butcher paper, hand over the markers, and let her get to work. You could give her stencils, stickers, or a glue stick and some glitter to really make the paper pop.

3. Use your old chip bags.

It sounds crazy, but it really works. Just empty out those Doritos, cut the bag in half and flip it inside out. You should see a nice, shiny silver or a flat, matte white. Either way, once you clean it off, you’ve got the perfect material to wrap small gifts with. (Just be sure to use soap and water so that Cheeto smell won’t linger!)

4. Stick to tissue paper.

Tissue paper isn’t just for gift bags. If you double-layer it, you can also use it as general wrapping paper, too. You can even use multiple colors and patterns at once to really make your gifts sparkle.

5. Fold up some fabric.

Shawls, scarves, dish towels, and other fabrics are all great options for wrapping paper. And if those fabrics are a part of the gift, then that’s even better. (Example: Using a dish towel to wrap a new set of tea cups or a scarf to go with that new purse). 

6. Cut up newspapers and magazines.

Done with those old reading materials? Cut them out, tape them together, and use them a time-stamped gift wrap your loved ones will never forget. You can even personalize the wrapping to each person. Does your mom love cooking? Use your old Williams Sonoma catalog to wrap it up. Does little sis love shopping? Tear out the pages of the last Vogue issue instead. Get creative and find ways to make the wrapping feel more “them.”

7. Wrap it in recipes.

The holidays are the perfect time to pass on your favorite family recipes. Just print them out on plain white sheets of paper, patch them together with some tape, and use them to bundle up all those carefully chosen gifts. You can even bunch them together and use them as a tissue paper for gift bags.

8. Mark it with a map.

Have a travel buff in the family? Get an old atlas out and use those glossy pages as your wrap this year. You could even get extra creative and use a luggage tag for their name or mark a favorite spot on the map that’s meaningful (maybe where you first met?)

9. Brown bag it.

Lunch bags can be a good option for gift wrap, too. Stamps, ribbons, and bows can all help amp the plain-jane bags up a bit (if you feel it necessary), or you could leave it clean and tie a few leaves on for a more rustic look. You could also get the kids involved and have them decorate each bag personally.

10. Gussy up the boxes.

If you’ve got plain boxes (or your gift came in one), you may not need to wrap it at all. If it looks too boring, you can always dress the box up with a stamped pattern, classy bow, or even just a simple tag, candy cane, or ribbon. 

Don’t overspend on wrapping this year

Wrapping paper is expensive. Fortunately, costly, store-bought rolls aren’t your only option anymore. Get creative, take stock of your supplies, and there should be plenty of ways to wrap your gifts both beautifully and affordably.

Need more holiday advice? Try our tips for selling a house, hosting loved ones, or saving this season, If you’re struggling with the costs of the holidays, here’s how your mortgage can help.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.