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Budget-Friendly Employee Appreciation Gifts that Make a Big Impact

08/17/2023 worklife

There’s been a ton of talk about the economic uncertainty and recession fears over the last several months, causing nearly 99% of business leaders to prepare to cut company costs throughout 2023. However, just because you have a smaller budget doesn’t mean you should diminish your employee recognition efforts. If business leaders are worried, your employees probably are too and it doesn’t hurt to recognize their hard work during difficult times.

In times of budget constraints, it’s important to find meaningful employee appreciation gifts that don't break the bank. After all, employee recognition directly affects your company’s bottom line, and is an essential aspect of maintaining a motivated and engaged workforce. This is especially true amidst the rising concern of "quiet quitting", where employees disengage emotionally without formally resigning.

Fortunately, even the smallest appreciation gift can have a powerful impact on employee satisfaction and loyalty. In this post, we’ll explore some of the best budget-friendly employee appreciation gifts that will make employees feel seen, valued, and appreciated, regardless of their price.

Inexpensive Employee Appreciation Gifts that Leave a Lasting Impression

Personalized Journals

Practicality and personalization options make custom journals the perfect inexpensive appreciation gift, starting at less than $2 per personalized journal. Employees can use these journals around the office for note-taking, as well as at home for personal entries or creative writing.

Additionally, engraving the journal with an employee's name, title or other details adds a personal touch to the gift, showing genuine recognition for their efforts. You can also add your company logo to the journal to promote brand awareness as it’s used.

Apparel Accessories

Accessories are a tad more affordable than standard apparel options like hoodies and shirts – starting as low as $1.50 per item – but are just as appreciated by employees. Customizing hats and socks give employees something to wear proudly, especially when personalized with their name, team or company logo.

Scarves and gloves also fall into the category of budget-friendly apparel accessories, and are great appreciation gifts to give throughout the winter season. Additionally, if your employees work in colder climates or outdoors during the winter, customizing these cozy accessories are an easy way to show your gratitude for their hard work in chilly weather.

Small Price, Big Appreciation: Budget-Friendly Gifts

Personalized Pens

Pens are one of the most popular promotional products to personalize, gift or giveaway – they just also happen to be budget-friendly, starting at less than $0.50 per pen. Everyone needs a pen at one point or another, and they’re even more appreciated when personalized to its user.

There are various types of pens to choose from, such as ballpoint, rollerball or fountain pens, and can be customized with employees' names and initials. And who knows, the pen you personalize as an appreciation gift could even become someone's lucky pen for important moments.

Custom Drinkware

Customizing drinkware is a cheap and practical employee appreciation that lasts for quite some time, leading to long-lasting recognition as well. Whether it's a custom mug for sipping coffee or tea at the office in the morning or a reusable water bottle for staying hydrated on-the-go, drinkware has many uses both in and out of the office.

It also serves as a sustainable gift option, as it can be washed and reused repeatedly, reducing single-use plastic waste. Once you personalize a mug or water bottle with logos, engravings or other customizations, these items become extra thoughtful recognition gifts.

Creative and Affordable Appreciation Gift Ideas

Custom Care Packages

If you’re looking for a more creative approach to cheap employee appreciation gifts, try putting together a care package filled with personalized promo items. First, you can start by customizing tote bags to put the gifts in, which start at less than $1 to personalize. Then, choose a few promotional items under $5 to fill the custom tote bag with.

Some of our favorites include candies and sweets with custom wrappers, keychains and lanyards, phone accessories, and more. You could even customize all of the above items we listed, and bundle them into a care package too.

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