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Geek Gifts for the Budget-Minded Shopper


It’s the holidays again, and you’re expected to buy presents for everyone from your significant other to your annoying nephew to some faceless kid on the church giving tree. But your wallet is feeling the pinch, and that Game of Thrones wine set is looking a lot better than another Build-a-Bear for the niece you never see. So what’s a nerd to do when their wallet is emptier than the writing on the last Walking Dead episode?

That’s right: budget-minded shopping. Here’s some pretty decent gifts you can get someone and still keep things well within your comfort zone.

FOR THE COMICS READER: $1 sampler comics. The major publishers have all learned that a $1 reprint is an inexpensive way to let readers sample their books. It doesn’t cost the publisher more than paper and ink, and readers get to spend a buck–well under the cost of a normal issue–to try the title. Marvel has its “True Believers” program, Image has “Image Firsts,” and DC has sporadic reprints too. These come and go, so ask your shop if they have any handy.

Really budget-minded? Ask your shop if they have any leftover reprints from Halloween ComicFest, which were free. Really, really on a budget? See if the local library has a graphic novel section and get your recipient a library card.

FOR THE MOVIE BUFF: the DVD bin at Wal-Mart. Look, we all hate Wal-Mart, between their lousy labor policies and the fact that people move like cattle in there. But if your recipient likes movies, you can find some decent gems in the bin. Maybe not everyone needs Furious 7, but sometimes there’s classics like Jurassic Park or Alien, or even Alien vs. Predator if your tastes run that way. Remember: high prices are always on the new releases. Older films get clearinghouse prices.

Really budget-minded? Rent something from Redbox and watch it with your buddy for only a few bucks. Really, really on a budget? Go watch cable at their house. Maybe you’ll get lucky and HBO will have a free weekend.

FOR THE TOY LOVER: Lego Dimensions. Whether your giftee has Lego Dimensions or even a gaming platform, the add-ons for the toys-to-life game make for some cute little sets that can be played with even if you don’t own the game. The early waves of the game are being cleared out for the current set, so lots of the models are now at stores like Five Below for well under half-price. These include sets from The Lego Movie, Lord of the Rings, and even some DC Comics.

Really budget-minded? Try some Lego polybags, which can be found at Target’s checkout or in their holiday section. These are small “sampler” sets, but they’re highly collectible. Really, really on a budget? Target’s seasonal polybags are half-price the day after Christmas. Deliver your gifts late and tell them Santa was stuck in traffic.

FOR THE TABLETOP GAMER: Trivia BoxThis one explains itself–it’s a bunch of trivia questions on a given piece of pop culture. They’ve got SimpsonsWalking DeadSons of Anarchy, you name it. You and your buddies can easily spend an evening testing each other’s nerd street cred. Five Below is the place to get these.

Really budget-minded? A deck of cards is still pretty cheap, but man, you’re lame. At least get the ones that come with a set of dice so you look like you put thought into it. Really, really on a budget? There’s always stickball. Sticks are free, and maybe you can find an errant tennis ball near a school.

FOR THE COSPLAYER: ELF makeup. Hey, cosplay is expensive. Help a brother or sister out by getting a decent makeup kit for that girl or crossdressing guy in your life. Consider an ELF makeup kit, which has affordable multi-palette kits for only $10.

Really budget-minded? Try some wig caps–cosplayers with a full head of hair really need these, and they’re extremely disposable. Really on a budget? A roll of Duck Tape is pretty versatile, and cosplayers get incredibly creative with it.

FOR THE WALKING DEAD FAN: Watch it at World of Beer with PCU. You have to be in Baltimore for this one, but PCU does live Walking Dead viewing parties at World of Beer in McHenry Row every Sunday. Buy your recipient a gift card for World of Beer, even if it’s not the one PCU attends. For $10, the German Pretzel with cheese is a winner.

Really on a budget? WOB’s Mac and Cheese is only $6.50, and you can still watch Walking Dead with us. Really on a budget? You can watch the live viewing of our viewing party on Facebook.

About Adam Frey (372 Articles)
Adam Frey is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. In the meantime, he's an attorney and moonlights as an Emergency Medical Technician in Maryland. A comic reader for over 30 years, he's gradually introducing his daughter to the hobby, much to the chagrin of his wife and their bank account.

1 Comment on Geek Gifts for the Budget-Minded Shopper

  1. Reblogged this on sargestamps and commented:

    Great ideas!


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