With the holidays coming up, and the economy dragging down, many gift-givers are fretting about the cost of presents. There's no need to worry, though, as long as you're willing to be a bit creative. Here are a few ways to give a meaningful, valuable gift for next to nothing.
Give away your frequent-flier miles: You can't do much better than giving someone a vacation. If you've racked up enough frequent-flier points, you might be able to do so for free. Swap your miles for a ticket to a destination you know your family member or friend will enjoy, or transfer your points into their frequent-flier account. You usually need at least 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket. If you don't have that many, you can still offer what you've got as a down payment on a future vacation. Or use your points to pay for a hotel room at a vacation destination within driving distance.
Make a mix CD: A customized mix of some of your favorite songs is a quick and easy gift. Introduce the recipient to a group or artist you think they'll like. Select specific tracks by theme, time period or genre.Brew beer or make wine: This one takes a small initial investment and some time but once you're equipped to make your own beer or wine, you won't have to worry about gifts for most of your friends. Just send them a bottle. Receiving a sample of your homemade libations will be more meaningful than getting a store-bought bottle -- even one with a big price tag. To get started, pick up a beer or wine-making kit ($50-$200).