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Best Cool Gifts for Teens or Teenagers $25 or Less

Updated on December 1, 2012

Having a multitude of teenagers in my extended family, I am always looking for inexpensive gifts that will please those picky, never happy bunch of teenagers. It is amazing how many teenage gifts I buy between Christmas, birthdays, graduations and other special occasions, Sometimes the gifts are for my nieces or nephew, other times it is is for my own two teenage daughters either way I do not want to spend a ton of money on each gift or present.

Through years of practice, I have found a few gift types that consistently satisfy even the pickiest young adult. I now have the reputation of being a fantastic gift giver, without spending a lot of money. For those last minute shoppers, here are a few cheap gift ideas for the picky boy or girl teenager in your life.

Birthdays a common reason for buying gifts for teenagers.
Birthdays a common reason for buying gifts for teenagers.

Electronics, Smart Phones, IPads and such

I would be hard pressed to find a teen today that does not have a smart phone, an iPad type computer/netbook, tablet or a MP3 player, such as an iPod, not to mention gaming systems like Wii and XBox. Accessories for these items are an excellent and inexpensive purchase. A bit of information may be required before purchasing any of the accessories. It is imperative to know the brand and sometimes the model, before buying the accessory of choice. This information can easily be found out by asking parents, or friends of the person you want to buy for.

Cell/Smart Phones Accessories

  • Cases-Will provide protection and flair for any cell or smart phone. These are specific for each phone type.
  • Chargers & Adapters-These will allow your favorite teen to charge their phone while on the go, from a computer, power outlet or car.
  • Surface & Screen Protectors-Since most smart phones utilize touchscreen technology, surface and screen protectors are invaluable resources to prevent smudges and scratches on cell phones.
  • Docks & Mounts- Allows for hands-free use of smartphones while providing the ability to charge and sync smart phones. These are great for reading or viewing movies and videos.
  • Speakers-Turns a cell phone into a music station for everyone to enjoy. Speakers are great for watching movies or listening to music from a cell phone.
  • Earbuds-They come in cool colors and shapes. Some look like frogs, others like skulls, others are quiet plain, it is all according to each person’s style.. For those who may not be up on the new lingo, earbuds are headphones that fit into the ear instead of covering the ear.

Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy and other Laptop, Notebook, Tablets Accessories

  • Cases/Skins-Most cases come in a variety of colors and styles. They not only provide some protection, they show off the teen’s style and taste. The cases for notebooks, like the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy, are equipped with keyboards so the notebook can be used as a “regular” computer. Skins are a covering over the notebook or tablet that is strictly for showing off style. They do not provide protection, except for scratches and smudges, but fashionista’s will love them.
  • Stands-Portable fold-up stands lets the teen set up their notebook or tablet for hands-free reading, movie watching, or conducting a presentation at school.
  • Accessory Packages-Accessory packages for notebooks will usually have a case, charger, screen protector and earbuds. These are great one-stop gifts.

Wii, Wii U, Playstation, Xbox and other Gaming Consoles or Video Games

  • Accessory Packs-Buying an accessory pack for your favorite teen’s games is a great way to win favorite aunt or uncle of the year. Some accessory packs will have a multitude of remotes attachments, such as steering wheels, bats and fishing rods. Other accessory packs are for the handheld games and include covers, chargers and such.
  • Speakers & Earbuds- The same speakers and earbuds that work with smart phones will work with handheld video games also.
  • Wii U accessories-If your favorite teen is being updated to the new Wii U this Christmas, this is the best time to buy the accessories. Team up with the teens parents (who are buying the console), and purchase items such as the Wii U GamePad Stand/Cradle Set (around $19.96 at Amazon) or a Nintendo controller (around $24.28 at Amazon). Be cautious though, the Wii U is backward compatible, meaning the accessories used with the original Wii can be used with the U also. Do not buy anything the gamer is already using.

Books and Magazine Gift Ideas

Books and Magazines


Yes, some teenagers still read. If they did not, Twilight and Harry Potter would have never been made into movie sagas. So keep this in mind when it comes time to buy for that teen. Have you seen him or her with a book in hand or maybe heard them mention they are reading such and such? Finding the best books to buy is as easy as typing in your search engine “teen best seller list”. There will be half dozen websites offering the latest best sellers in teen books. Amazon has a very informative page under teen books. It even shows the most wished for titles.

With the popularity of Kindle, Nook and other eReaders (electronic devices for reading books, newspapers and magazines on), the perfect present for any teen with these devices is a gift card from Amazon (sells ebooks for Kindle) or Barns & Noble (sells ebooks for the Nook).

Another extraordinary, but overlooked gift idea is a magazine subscription. Teen Vogue and Seventeen are very popular magazines for teen girls. Although people do not often think about giving guys a magazine subscription, there are some great “guy” magazines out there. Popular Mechanics, Game Informer or Playstation: The Official Magazine are all in the top ten most read computer and Internet magazines. Be aware this is the 21st century; choose the magazine to fit the person not the gender. I know a couple of great female mechanics who would enjoy Popular Mechanics for themselves.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are the best presents for a teenager. They are able to choose their own item, and this takes the pressure off the giver. Gift cards can be purchased for restaurants, clothing stores or online stores and are available in a variety of denominations. A few of the most popular gift cards are for Amazon.com, I-Tunes, and Aeropostale. Amazon.com is an online store that carries a wide variety of items. A unique feature of their gift cards is they can be delivered in person, by email, or by facebook. It also helps that almost any denomination is available. I-Tunes is another online store that specializes in music downloads. The denominations available are $15, $25, and $50.00. Finally, Aeropostale is the clothing store for young people everywhere. The denominations for a Aeropostale gift card are $25.00 and $50.00. Gift cards are available from almost every store and restaurant. Just a short visit to the establishment or to their website and you will have the perfect gift.

Kid does not want her present

In conclusion...

In order to become a great gift giver, it is important to keep the receiver in mind when purchasing the gift.  Purchase an item that will fit their personality and style.  Do not choose a gift that reflects how you want them to be, but that will show you care about them the way they are.  Receiving a gift that is perfectly matched always makes the recipient feel important and special, and that is a gift all teens need.

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    • FeliciaM profile image

      FeliciaM 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the tips! I have two teens and sometimes just need ideas. Thanks.

    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      thanks for the ideas, Tammy. I guess I spend so much time thinking about the teenagers, I forget about the adults in my life. I am glad you like the ideas.

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 

      7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      These ideas are relevant to recipients of all ages. Even buying the person a CD of his or her favorite artist is something too. These are absolutely fabulous ideas though.

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