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36 Budget-Friendly Gestures to Show a Friend You Care

March 26, 2021

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When difficulties arise in life, leaning on friends and family for support is a huge relief. With that, it’s important to be a person your friends feel supported and appreciated by. Luckily you don’t have to spend a ton of money to show a friend you truly care. Below are 36 small gestures you can show a friend that range from completely free ($) to around $20 ($$$).

Gestures to Support a Grieving Friend

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Grief is a very heavy emotion. If a friend is dealing with a loss, it’s an important time to show them extra love. Show you care by sending them a sweet text or swing by in person and lend a shoulder for support. More simple (and cheap!) ways to support a grieving friend below:

($) Clean up: Cleaning the house is never all that much fun. When going through an emotionally tough time, washing dishes or sweeping can be the very last things on the mind. If someone you know has lost a loved one or is going through another challenge, see if you can come over to do some of their chores. Completing tasks around the house is a completely free way to support a friend in need.

($) Cut some flowers: Grab a pair of scissors, cut some fresh flowers from the yard or local park and add them into a mason jar with some water. If you’re a houseplant extraordinaire, consider clipping a leaf off and sharing it with a friend to self-propagate. We’ve created some labels to tape around the base of the jar with sweet and witty messages like “Rootin’ for you!” and “I be-leaf in you!”

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($) Lend an ear: Sometimes it doesn’t take a single cent to show your grieving friend that you care. Simply offering to listen or being a shoulder to cry on is just what’s needed. Remember to communicate beforehand and see if they would enjoy spending time together before assuming because some people might prefer that you just…

($) Give them space: Everyone heals differently. Reach out to a friend and ask how you can be there for them. Some people find great comfort in being surrounded by others, but some prefer space — and that’s okay, too. Communicating your availability at their pace is a thoughtful and free way to be supportive of your healing friend.

($$) Gift some self-care items: If a friend has been grieving, it’s safe to assume their mental health could probably use a boost — and a bath bomb might be exactly what the doctor ordered. As it turns out, engaging in self-care has been clinically proven to reduce depression and anxiety. Pick up a face mask or bubble bar for a couple bucks to encourage a self-care moment. Score it even cheaper if you use this Walgreens coupon.

($$) Get a candle: Lavender is a scent associated with relaxation and calmness due to its aromatherapeutic powers to relieve anxiety and even mild pain. Purchase a lavender-scented candle for just a few bucks in hopes of soothing their spirit. Use this Yankee Candle coupon to try their Lemon Lavender or Lavender Vanilla scents.

($$) Sign them up for a video subscription service: Sometimes staying at home and binging rom-coms is the best way to get out of a funk. If your grieving friend is a cinephile, consider buying them a month’s subscription for a video streaming service. Use this Hulu coupon for the best deal!

($$) Share a story: Sharing a book or poem with a meaningful or uplifting plotline is a simple way to show a friend you care for just a few dollars. Reading will provide moments of imagination and escape a healing friend may appreciate. Head online and find a best seller to purchase at a low price with this Book Outlet coupon.

($$$) Cook for them: Cooking a homemade meal is a frugal and heartfelt way to care for a friend who’s feeling down. Comfort food, like fried chicken or spaghetti, are cheap to purchase ingredients for, easy to prepare and delicious to eat.

Gestures to Support a Stressed Friend

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Whether it’s at work, school or home, it can be tough getting out of the funk when stress is involved. If you have a loved one seeming irritable or expressing anxiety, there are a few ways you can try to help. Ease tensions without hurting your budget by following one of the frugal suggestions below:

($) Make a playlist: Colleague or classmate feeling stressed over an upcoming project? Find out which music streaming platform they use and make a chill playlist filled with lyric-free tunes for them to enjoy while getting work done. That’s potentially hours of enjoyment with zero costs on buying a gift. Win-win.

($) Take a stroll: Brisk walking has been proven to reduce stress and even alleviate depression — and it doesn’t cost a thing. Encourage a friend to get some steps in by putting on some walking shoes of your own and leading the way! Use this Nike coupon if you could use a new pair of runners before hitting the pavement.

($) Offer advice: Not having someone to act as a soundboard in tough situations can make stressful moments seem even more intense. Chat with a friend who is feeling overwhelmed and see if you can offer some advice. Be sure to ask if they’d be open to receiving advice beforehand, as it may be better just to listen.

($) Dedicate a song: Another musical and frugal way to care for a friend who could use a smile is to play a special or goofy song just for them. You can send the song as a link to their phone, play it aloud for them on a speaker or, if you’ve got the skills (and/or confidence!), belt it out! A moment spent laughing together will be appreciated by both and not cost anyone a thing.

($) Run errands: For a friend who is stressed because of a big upcoming event, because the babysitter canceled or another event leaving them in a time crunch, see if you can run an errand or two to help them out! Taking a trip to the grocery store could mean the world to someone while only costing you a few minutes out of your day and miles out of your tank.

($$) Face mask: Stress can affect us emotionally and physically. Show a worn-out friend you care about them when you buy a face mask to soothe their skin while also providing a lovely self-care moment.

($$) Journal: Not everyone is great at expressing their frustrations or other feelings verbally. Consider picking up a journal for a friend who could benefit from some stream-of-consciousness writing. A journal generally only costs a few bucks and can help calm stress and anxiety — a cheap, yet valuable buy.

($$$) Bottle of wine: While yes, the occasional glass of red wine is indeed linked with quite a few health benefits, sometimes it also is great for inspiring a moment of relaxation and indulgence. Save a couple of bucks and get a discounted bottle for a friend using a Wine.com coupon. Make it super cute by printing out and adding a custom label with fun sayings like, “Don’t keep things all bottled up,” “Sometimes you’re allowed to wine” or “It’s okay to cry over spilled wine.” We’ve created and included them below!

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($$$) Oil diffuser: You can use essential oils in a diffuser to not only make the room smell great but also uplift your mood and alleviate stress. Use a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon and pick up an oil diffuser for around $20!

Gestures to Support a Sick Friend

Make sure your loved ones feel well-taken care of when they’re sick with thoughtful gestures that don’t cost a fortune like baking a sweet treat or sending a link to your fave podcast. Be a great friend without spending all your green with some of the suggestions below:

($$$) Send some jammies: When you’re sick, little feels better than snuggling up in bed wearing a brand new pair of pajamas. You can pick up a pair of fleece PJs to keep an unwell friend feeling warm and cozy at Target for under $20 — or get them even cheaper when using this Target coupon.

($) Send a selfie: If you’re unable to visit a friend in person because they are ill, consider sending a smiling selfie or a video checking in. When a loved one is sick, a quick hello or message of good wishes can mean the world.

($$) Cozy blanket: If a loved one is under the weather, consider bringing a fuzzy blanket. Bringing over a soft blanket to keep snuggled up with will be a sweet way to show a friend you hope they get well soon without breaking the bank.

($$$) Gift a plant: Plants are known to lighten and refresh a room, but did you know that having plants present has actually shortened the healing time of sick hospital patients? Use this coupon for 1800Flowers to find a great gift that will help to comfort a sick friend.

($$) Bring cookies: Bring a sweet treat to a friend in need without spending too much dough by baking some cookies. From fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies to Oreos to the little pink and white sprinkled animal cookies — any type of cookies sure to be appreciated and will likely bring a smile.

($) Send a podcast link: Help your ill friend get their mind off of things by sending a link to your favorite podcast or audiobook. If they’re up to it, you can plan to listen to the same episode and then schedule a follow-up phone call to talk about it! Share this Audiobooks.com coupon if they don’t have a listening platform they already use.

($) Check-in: If your unwell pal is able to chat for a few minutes, pick up the phone to ask how they’re feeling — and really listen. See if there is something specific you can do to make their life any easier, like give their kids a ride to school or drop off some dinner. Being a good listener never goes unappreciated and doesn’t cost a cent.

($) Initiate a video game challenge: Sometimes a friend can’t get out of bed because they’re healing from something like an injury or surgery. Use this opportunity to challenge them to a game online! If they’re stuck bored at home, living vicariously through a game of Fortnite or COD can make for a great night inside that is free and fun. Need a new thrill? Use this Game Stop coupon for a discount on your next game.

($$) Bring some tea: Dropping off a hot cup of tea to someone who is feeling under the weather is a quick and frugal way to let them know you care and you’re thinking about them. Look for chamomile tea and add a bit of lemon and honey to help treat symptoms of a cold for just a few bucks.

Gestures to Support a Far Away Friend

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Supporting a friend from afar can feel challenging. If you’re unable to attend events like birthday parties or graduations due to distance, making small, thoughtful gestures are great ways to show your support. Take a moment to recognize any accomplishments, challenges or other important events in your long-distance friends’ life with some of these budget ideas:

($) Send a photo: If you have a friend who’s moved away, text them an old pic of you together along with a sweet note expressing your love and support. Just taking a moment to say hi and acknowledge what’s going on in their life is a meaningful and free gesture to show you care.

($) Ask about their loved ones: While it seems simple, asking a friend how their parents, partner, kids or other loved ones are doing can be incredibly impactful. It doesn’t matter if you make a call or send a carrier pigeon, showing care for who they care for is one of the kindest gestures there is and won’t cost you a dollar.

($) Make plans: Even if you can’t set them in stone, consider making plans to catch up with a friend you haven’t chatted with in a while. Text and see if there is a time you both finally can set aside to visit — even if only through FaceTime or call. Taking time to stay connected in busy or tough moments is a considerate gesture any great friend could make to show they care.

($) Tweet a #TBT: Showing love on social media is a free and fun way to show your public support of your pal. Whether they’re running a race, welcoming a baby or fighting some type of battle, showing them your support and care through something as simple as a social media post can mean a ton — and it doesn’t cost a thing.

($$) Starbucks gift card: Send a gift card for a Caramel Frap directly through the Starbucks app or on the Starbucks website as a sweet gesture to a coffee-loving friend. Their app makes it super simple to give a drink or two to say, “Congrats!” or “I’m sorry!” or without having to fork over more than you want to on a prepaid gift card.

($$) Send virtual cheers: If your friend is celebrating, send them a new champagne flute to toast with! For less than $20, you can purchase and ship a set of beautiful champagne glasses with a short note directly to your friends’ door through Amazon. Use this Amazon coupon to buy a set for yourself.

($$) Virtual game night: Hop online to have a night of friendly competition. Hosting an event such as a virtual trivia night is a free and super fun way to get together with friends who live far away.

($$) Send snail mail: While it’s easy and fast to shoot over a text message, there is something quite heartwarming about receiving a handwritten message in the mail. Grab a pen and paper and jot down a quick but meaningful message or just use the “Sending Hugs” message on this printable socially distanced hug we’ve created!

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($$$) Send a Piñatagram: For far-away friends with a sweet tooth and a sense of humor, consider sending them a Piñatagram. These mini paper mache donkeys are a hilarious and nostalgic way to say hey to a friend at around $20.

Whether you’re sending virtual cheers as congratulations or helping someone mourn a loss over some comfort food, hopefully you’ve found a considerate way to show a friend you care without having to adjust your budget.

If you still need help finding a way to say, “I’m thinking of you,” simply pick up the phone and say just that. Communicating love is a free and simple way to show you’re there.

And if that doesn’t work, use this Godiva coupon to get some truffles at a discounted price — everybody loves chocolate!

Sources: Better Homes & Gardens | SNHU | Healthline | Web MD | Yogi Approved | Texas A&M | Medical News Today | Starbucks | Amazon | Piñatagram

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