20 budget birthday gift ideas for friends you barely know yet

Molly Judgeon 11 October 2021
birthday party with confetti

What can you buy your new bestie when you hardly know them? Here are 20 gift ideas that everyone will love.

You’ve moved into your university halls - great! You’ve made loads of friends - awesome. But now it’s their birthday, and you need to buy them a present having known them for a couple of weeks - yikes! If the panic is starting to set in, and you realise you hardly know their favourite colour, let alone their interests and hobbies, then this is the gift guide for you.

Here is a list of easy-to-find thoughtful gifts that won’t break the bank. Let’s go. 

1. Candles

Help your friend feel cosy as winter draws in. 

2. Potted plant or cactus

Discover 10 plants that are impossible to kill, so when you’re out at lectures, in the club or training for your favourite sport, you won’t feel guilty leaving your plant baby home alone. 

3. Flowers

If you’ve only got a couple of quid, then this is the gift for you. 

4. Fun socks

Take your wardrobe from day to night with fried eggs, dinosaurs or robots. Funky socks can jazz up any outfit.

5. Chocolate

Make your own DIY pick ‘n’ mix. Chocolate and sweets don’t usually make the cut when it comes to the weekly food shop, so this will be appreciated.

6. Cocktails

Buy a DIY cocktail shaker set, or take them out for a drink.

7. Nail varnish

Cute nails? Tick.

8. Novelty boxers

For those special nights out. 

9. A bottle of their favourite alcohol

Suss out what they like to drink during your first weeks together, then pick up a whole litre of it. 

10. Cake

Let them know you care with a homemade cake. Plus, you’ll make loads more friends when you share it out!

11. Giant cookie

Go to a local cookie shop and get a huge customised cookie. As it’s so big, you’ll probably get some too. Win, win. 

12. Earrings

Jazz up any outfit with some funky earrings.

13. Bath bombs

Make sure they have access to a bath before buying!

14. Wine glass

A personal wine glass will make your friend look like royalty amongst everyone else using plastic cups, mugs and stolen pint glasses from Wetherspoons. 

15. Neon lights

Everyone wants some of these jazzy lights to turn their bedroom into a rave when night falls. 

16. Framed photo

Easy as pie - print off a photo of you two at Boots and stick it in a frame. 

17. University jumper

University jumpers can be pricey, which is why a lot of students graduate without ever owning one. But, it’s a lovely present that your friend can keep for years!

18. Escape room experience

Test your friendship by being trapped in a room for an hour together. 

19. Toiletries

Practical gifts never get old. They won’t have to add shampoo and conditioner to their shopping list anymore!

20. A student kit

Pack paracetamol, Lemsip and condoms. They’ll thank you later.

Wondering what to buy your family, partner or dog this year? Check out all of our gift guides for inspiration. 

Molly Judgeon 11 October 2021