Gifts for Moms, Dads, and Grads

Best gifts under $50: 30+ ideas for absolutely everyone

Yes, it's possible to give them something they'll love without obliterating your budget.
By Mashable Shopping  on 
All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers. If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.
collage of gifts under $50 showing hot sauce, dessert cookbook, and planter set
A little something for everyone... Credit: Mashable Photo Composite / Bloomscape, Heatonist, Clarkson Potter

Generating the best affordable gift ideas is an art, much like gift-giving in general. And it's an art that Mashable shopping experts take very seriously, which is why we're bringing you these awesome gifts under $50.

To find the perfect gift, think about the "Christmas Party" episode of The Office where Michael insists on doing a Yankee Swap with everyone's Secret Santa gifts: You don't want to pull a Michael and go way over the agreed price limit, but you also don't want to choose a gift that no one actually wants (like Phyllis' oven mitt). You've got to ride that line: cool gift, appropriate cost.

Yes, some people possess an innate talent for finding gifts on a budget. No matter the occasion (anniversary, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day) or recipient (wife, boyfriend, teens, in-laws), they somehow nail it every time — winning the unofficial "best gift-giver" award among those who are lucky to know them.

Then there are the not-so-intuitive gift-givers who've maybe leaned on the same scented candle or gift basket a few too many times. If you can relate, that's OK! Gift-giving is hard. So, take that Yankee candle out of your shopping cart and check out this gift guide. We've found the best gifts under $50 for him, for her, and for every hard-to-please person on your shopping list.

Maybe you're searching for the perfect Christmas gifts under $50 to woo your Secret Santa. Maybe you need a surprise just-because gift for your sweetheart. Or maybe you're determined to finally, after a lifetime of trying, find a birthday gift that dad actually wants.

No matter the reason, read on for more than 30 unique gift ideas that strike the perfect balance between a thoughtful gift and an inexpensive gift. All of these under $50 picks are ones that people will actually be happy to receive, including a bunch of products we've tested and loved ourselves.

A boy looking at crystals through a magnifying glass.
Credit: National Geographic

A National Geographic Earth Science Kit

For young scientists

If you know a kid that goes crazy for science experiments, this STEM gift kit will delight them to no end (and make you their favorite grown-up). It comes with over 15 activities — including crystal growing, building a volcano, and unearthing geological treasures — that are both easy to follow and easy to clean up after.
Buying Options
$29.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a close-up of a letterfolk concert book containing a ticket stubs next to a closed concert book and a pile of paperclips
Credit: Letterfolk

A Letterfolk Concert Passport

For concert-goers

Highly recommended by social good reporter Chase DiBenedetto, this pocket-sized journal from Letterfolk is a fun way to capture concert memories. Each entry page is filled with prompts about set lists and mid-show emotions, and accompanied by a blank page for notes and ticket stubs. Bonus: It's a little cheaper than Taylor Swift and Beyoncé tickets.
Buying Options
$10 from Amazon Amazon Prime

A LEGO Orchid building kit

For LEGO masters

This bestselling kit from LEGO's Botanical Collection for adults builds into a realistic orchid with six large flowers, two newly opened buds, and a fluted pot (complete with some "bark mix" the actual plant would grow in). It contains 608 pieces, so it'll take the better part of an afternoon to assemble. No watering or pruning required!
Buying Options
$48.49 from Amazon Amazon Prime

A Barbie Fashionistas Doll & Playset

For fans of Barbiecore

We all know that one person who can't get enough of Barbie-related meme content, dresses in pink daily, and starts most sentences with "This Barbie..." Well, this Barbie thinks the Barbie Fashionistas Doll & Playset would make a wonderful gift for them — what with its included Barbie doll, three outfits, closet with six hangers, and a collection of shoes, purses, and necklaces for ultimate mix-and-match fun. Give this (unironically) to Barbies of all ages who'd do anything to live in an actual Barbie world.
Buying Options
$36.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a bloomscape propagation kit filled with leaf cuttings next to a glass pitcher of water on a wooden surface
Credit: Bloomscape

A propagation kit

For people with green thumbs

Bloomscape is one of our go-to destinations for finding the best gifts under $50, but this year, think beyond the house plant. This Bloomscape kit is a chic way to display fresh cuttings while fostering healthy root growth; each one comes with propagating instructions and a tub of TakeRoot Rooting Hormone. The stand itself is handmade by Michigan's Speckl Goods, a houseware studio that specializes in concrete terrazzo, and it comes in three custom color blends.
Buying Options
$45 from Bloomscape
a close-up of brass mushrooms decorations in a potted plant
Credit: AnotherStudio

Houseplant ornaments

For plant parents

Made by the London-based design company AnotherStudio, these miniature metal ornaments are cute accessories for houseplant pots and terrariums. If you don't think your recipient would be into the mushrooms (available in brass and stainless steel), they also come in impressively detailed animal shapes that are designed to hang from leaves and stems.
Buying Options
$15.99 from Etsy

An Apple AirTag

For forgetters

This quarter-sized Bluetooth tracker works seamlessly with the Find My app, which comes pre-installed on iPhones and iPads — super convenient for anyone who's already plugged into the Apple ecosystem. If an item the AirTag is attached to ever gets lost or misplaced, its owner can pull up its last-known location on their device or ask Siri to find it.
Buying Options
$28.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

An OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker

For coffee connoisseurs

Starbucks gift cards are a nice gesture, but categorically lame. The Mashable's Choice Award-winning OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a better way to gift someone their next caffeine fix: "[It] pays for itself in one or two brews, and the cold brew concentrate it produces is consistently strong, velvety smooth, and richly flavorful," wrote contributor Sam Stone. Available via Amazon Prime, this award-winning coffee maker is one of the best gifts under $50 at Amazon.
Buying Options
$34.95 from Amazon Amazon Prime
box art for a magic puzzle company puzzle
Credit: The Magic Puzzle Company

A Magic Puzzle Company puzzle

For puzzle-doers

There are puzzles, and then there are Magic Puzzle Company puzzles. Each one is a beautifully illustrated, 1,000-piece feat with over 50 Easter eggs and a surprise twist at the end; don't go on PuzzleTok if you don't want spoilers. Series Three includes "The Secret Soup," "The Puzzled Patron," and "The Gnomes' Homes" (pictured).
Buying Options
$22.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron
Credit: BaBylissPRO

A BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron

For beauty buffs

Ideal for on-the-go touch-ups, this miniature version of BaBylissPRO's premium flat iron can get as hot as 430°F. It features the exact same titanium-ceramic plates as the standard size (only these are half an inch wide), which are designed for even heating and reducing frizz.
Buying Options
$34.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a hot ones trio pack of hot sauces from heatonist
Credit: Heatonist

A Hot Ones Trio Pack

For brave snackers

If you think your recipient can take the heat, a Hot Ones Trio Pack features samplers of the spicy sauces that celebrities try on the hit YouTube show. The Original pack (pictured) comes with five-ounce bottles of The Classic, Los Calientes, and The Last Dab XXX (godspeed), which are the first, fourth and tenth sauces in the "Hot Ones" tasting lineup, respectively. One of our favorite gifts for men under $50, it's not for the faint of heart.
Buying Options
$40 from Heatonist
A custom t-shirt in reference to the TV show The Bear on Hulu.
Credit: AbsurditeesApparel

An "Original Beef of Chicagoland" t-shirt

For Jeremy Allen White's biggest fans

Looking for gifts under $50 for adults? This unique gift is ideal for anyone to whom the phrases "Yes, chef" and "family meal" mean something (aka, for lovers of Hulu's "The Bear," starring Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri). If your friend or loved one has been known to retweet many a meme relevant to the show, this handmade shirt from Etsy seller AbsurditeesApparel is guaranteed to put a smile on their face. After all, who wouldn't want to be repping merch from The Original Beef of Chicagoland?
Buying Options
$20.99 from Etsy
a close-up of a kitten playing with a PetSafe Bolt Automatic Laser Light Cat Toy on a wooden table in front of a window
Credit: PetSafe

A PetSafe Bolt Automatic Laser Light Cat Toy

For cat parents

For senior culture reporter Christianna Silva and their feisty cat, Colby Jack, the Mashable's Choice Award-winning PetSafe Bolt "was a godsend...It works reliably, solves a problem, turns off automatically, and is virtually hassle-free." It operates in two modes, so your recipient can control it themselves or set it to a random pattern and have their cat burn off some energy solo.
Buying Options
$26.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Dog facing a Petcube camera next to hands holding up a phone with the dog's face on it.
Credit: Petcube

A Petcube Cam Indoor Wi-Fi Pet and Security Camera

For dog parents

Everyone hates being away from their furry friend, but Petcube can make it easier. With a 110-degree view, 8x zoom, and vivid night vision, your gift recipient will always know what Fido is up to (and will even get motion/sound alerts via the compatible app). Petcube Cam's two-way audio feature is also great for reducing pets' anxiety levels once they hear the sound of their owner's voice.
Buying Options
$49.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

'Wordle: The Party Game'

For boardgamers

Everyone's favorite word-guessing game is now a simple B-O-A-R-D game for two to four people. Mashable Senior Reviews Editor Miller Kern found it a little dull at times but liked that players have the option of making up their own personalized words, deeming it best for dedicated Wordlers who still have a daily streak going.
Buying Options
$19.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
close-ups of six a24 x joya genre candles
Credit: A24 Shop

An A24 x Joya Genre Candle

For movie buffs

The folks behind "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and "Hereditary" teamed up with a Brooklyn-based fragrance studio for this collection of 10 hand-poured candles. Each sophisticated scent is inspired by a different film genre — "Horror" smells like mandarin, clove leaf, cypress, suede, and cinnamon bark, for example.
Buying Options
$48 from A24 Shop

A Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

For Netflix binge-watchers

Mashable tech and games reporter Alex Perry said the 4K Chromecast with Google TV is still the best media player at this price point, offering a "snappy" user interface and a simple remote. (It won one of our coveted Mashable's Choice Awards upon its release in 2020.) Plug it into a TV's HDMI port for all-in-one entertainment and hands-free voice control.
a screenshot from the video game 'stray'
Credit: Annapurna Interactive


For PlayStation gamers

Available for PS4, PS5, and PC (via Steam), "Stray" is a 2022 third-person game that follows an orange tabby cat who's trying to escape a grungy cyberpunk city — and yes, you play as the cat. Mashable tech and games reporter Alex Perry described it as a stunning sci-fi adventure "with a sweet story, endearing characters, and some truly gross art design at times (in the best way)."
Buying Options
$39.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a screenshot from 'Ori and the Will of the Wisps'
Credit: Xbox Game Studios

'Ori and the Will of the Wisps'

For Xbox gamers

The mystical sequel to 2015's "Ori and the Blind Forest" is one of the best platformers of all time, per former entertainment reporter Kellen Beck, "marrying gorgeous visuals, excellent music, a haunting story, and some of the smoothest platforming I've had the pleasure of experiencing." It first came out for Xbox One and Windows but has since been optimized for the Series X/S.
Buying Options
$29.99 from Best Buy
main art for nintendo switch online + expansion pack
Credit: Nintendo

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack

For Nintendo Switch gamers

Nintendo's premium membership tier unlocks online play, libraries of classic retro games, cloud saves, and access to select DLCs. (That includes 48 additional courses for "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" and the "Happy Home Paradise" expansion for "Animal Crossing: New Horizons.") A year-long individual plan comes in just under $50, which is easily one of the best deals in gaming.
Buying Options
$49.99 from Nintendo

A LIFX Color smart bulb

For techies

LIFX Color smart bulbs are vibrant and easy to install — and unlike the Phililps Hue variety, they don't require a bridge or a hub to work with WiFi. Mashable contributor RJ Andersen has replaced about half the bulbs in their house with these things: "Would I recommend [LIFX bulbs] to anyone looking to tip-toe into smart lighting? Absolutely," they said.
Buying Options
$39.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a close-up of a pile of shutterfly photo books
Credit: Shutterfly

A custom Shutterfly photo book

For sentimental types

Starting around $20, Shutterfly's photo books can be personalized from top to bottom with different layouts, bindings, cover finishes, stickers, and ribbons — it's like scrapbooking on steroids. Guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of any parent or significant other, if you're looking for a gift that'll speak from the heart and be cherished for years to come.
a close-up of a woman wearing turquoise jewelry holding a stanley quencher cup on a wooden table amid potted plants
Credit: Stanley

A Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler

For hip sippers

TikTok's favorite reusable drinking vessel is a 40-ounce, travel-friendly tumbler with a removable straw, a comfort-grip handle, and an insulated, stainless steel body that can keep drinks iced for up to 40 hours. It comes in a bunch of trendy colors, including some limited-edition ones that'll earn you some extra cool points.
Buying Options
$45 from REI
a close-up of a 12-inch lodge cast iron skillet filled with shrimp
Credit: Lodge Cast Iron

A Lodge cast iron skillet

For home chefs

Cast iron skillets are the versatile workhorses of any kitchen — they retain heat tremendously well and can be used for almost any dish, from steak to skillet cookies. (They're also durable enough to be used over a campfire, if your recipient's into that.) Lodge's pans come pre-seasoned for immediate use and can last for decades with proper care; this 12-inch size is perfect for family dinners.
a close-up of two le creuset mini round cocottes filled with a pot pie and a fruit cobbler next to a plate of pita pieces
Credit: Le Creuset

A Le Creuset Mini Round Cocotte (8 fl. oz.)

For foodies

Yes, you can gift someone a Le Creuset cocotte for less than $50 — a *very small* Le Creuset cocotte, but the point technically still stands. Made from nonstick stoneware that's safe for oven, broiler, microwave, and dishwasher use, the 8-ouncer is a nice size for individual cobblers and pot pie. It's available in colors like Cerise (pictured), Artichaut, Nectar, Chambray, Azure, and more.
Buying Options
$32 from Le Creuset
the cover of "What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People"
Credit: Clarkson Potter

'What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People'

For bakers

From "Dessert Person" Claire Saffitz comes a new beginner-friendly cookbook with over 100 simple and efficient recipes for sweet treats. (Emphasis on "simple and efficient" — none of them require a stand mixer and only half need a hand mixer.) Entries are accompanied by beautiful retro-style photography and helpful troubleshooting tips.
Buying Options
$37.50 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a yonanas machine in the process of making ice cream next to a pile of fruit
Credit: Yonanas

A Yonanas machine

For ice cream lovers

The Yonanas is a borderline brilliant kitchen gadget from Dole that can successfully turn frozen fruit into a smooth, soft serve-adjacent dessert — a great gift for regular ice cream eaters who want to switch things up, *or* anyone who follows a vegan, keto, or dairy-free diet. Another Mashable Choice Award-winner, it "seriously impressed" contributor Michelle Rostamian.
Buying Options
$49.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
a national parks fill-in poster on two clips
Credit: Parks Project

A national parks fill-in poster

For wilderness explorers

Your recipient can use this minimalist poster to keep track of all the U.S. national parks they've been to (so far), which gives you an excellent excuse to plan some trips together. It's made and sold by the Parks Project, a brand that funds a backlogged national parks maintenance project with every purchase.
The Death Lens Fisheye lens attached to an iPhone resting on a solid surface.
Credit: Kenneth Bachor / Mashable

A Death Lens Fisheye

For amateur videographers

The Death Lens Fisheye iPhone camera lens is a godsend for anyone trying to replicate the particular style of music videos (or skateboarding videos) popular in the '90s. Working hand in hand with the Death Lens app, this attachment is durable, user friendly, and provides satisfying results — so much so that it was given the Mashable Choice award by Kenneth Bachor recently. "So many cheaper versions try unsuccessfully to recreate the same aesthetic. This one is spot on and feels like a classic Sony VX1000," Bachor said of the Death Lens Fisheye. One of our favorite gifts under $50 for Gen Z, this phone accessory is radical, man.
Lady holding a Time and Tru bag from Walmart over a purple background.
Credit: Mashable Photo Composite / Time and Tru

A Time and Tru Women’s Sustainable Signature Tote and Pouch Set

For fashionistas

Chances are, you don't want to drop $1,500 for a Goyard Saint Louis GM Bag — even if your gift recipient is the dearest of loved ones. Luckily, this Walmart tote and pouch set has a similarly classy design and trendy silhouette. Plus, it more than qualifies as one of the best gifts under $50 for her. Dupes don't have to be a dirty word, and the fashionista in your life will surely appreciate this one.
Buying Options
$33.87 from Walmart
Someone's hand pouring ground coffee beans into the Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker
Credit: Mr. Coffee

A Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker

For Starbucks overspenders

We all know someone who lives as if they're sponsored by Starbucks. That might be a good thing as far as accumulating Starbucks Stars goes, but it's not so great for the wallet. Save them some money with this gift that keeps on giving — giving fresh, iced coffee brewed in under four minutes. All this machine requires is water, coffee grounds, and ice; it then provides joe with a deep, rich, undiluted flavor that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of coffee connoisseurs.
Buying Options
$39.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime

An INTEX Explorer Inflatable Boat

For water signs

This inflatable boat is every water lover's dream come true. It can fit three people, comes with two aluminum oars and a pump, and is perfect for pools or calm lakes. INTEX is a trusted brand when it comes to making pool floats, inner tubes, and rafts made of durable, puncture-resistant material. In case a hole does develop in the vessel, the purchase includes a handy repair patch that will help the user enjoy it for longer! And if you're shopping for gifts under $50 during the holidays, there's a good chance this gift will be on sale.
Buying Options
$47.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
Someone using the S900A Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine next to straws, mint, and snow cone cones.
Credit: Hawaiian Shaved Ice

A Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine

For kids at heart

This product just barely makes that "under $50" designation, and we're so glad it does — since every kid at heart (and actual kid) would be thrilled to receive it. I mean, who wouldn't want to make their own chewable, fluffy, snowy shaved ice (not included) in yummy syrup flavors like blue raspberry, cherry, banana, and much more? Any day can be turned into a party with a Hawaiian Shaved Ice Machine, so treat your favorite people to one ASAP.
Buying Options
$49.99 from Amazon Amazon Prime
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Stacia Datskovska
Mashable Shopping Intern

Stacia Datskovska is an NYU journalism major (graduating this December). Her work has appeared in USA Today, Boston Globe, Teen Vogue, HuffPost, Bustle, and more. When she's not writing something or other, Stacia can be spotted crying over poetry, making a home-cooked meal, or walking on an NYC pier. For her more half-baked thoughts: @staciadats on Twitter.

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