I love unique gift ideas and I love sharing tips on how to make them.
Give the Gift of Your Own Time, Effort, and Love With a Handmade Coupon or Coupon Book
Creating a custom coupon book is a great gift idea and it can be a fun way to spice up a birthday, anniversary, holiday, and any other special occasion. Family and friends will love these thoughtful and creative gifts from the heart.
In this guide, you'll find suggestions for individual coupons and whole coupon book ideas, many that will cost nothing more than some elbow grease and effort or simply the pleasure of your company. Other ideas will add some money to the mix, but how much you spend is up to you (unless you're brave and want to leave it up to the recipient of that coupon).
At the bottom of the page, I'll show you the oversized book of gift coupons—one for each month of the year—that I made for my sister and brother-in-law (new parents of twins) for Christmas, with the help of two crafty and creative family members. You can see one of the pages here for August, which is the new mom's birthday month.
Design Your Own Coupons and Print Them
I've gone the "totally from scratch route" and also used these templates to make the coupons and the sending a little easier. Just add your creative juices to design and make your own printable gifts for spouses, friends, and family.
Coupon categories include:
- New Baby
- Child to Parent
- Parent to Child
- Adult to Parent
Some of the Many Occasions Perfect for Giving Homemade Coupon Books
- New Moms and Dads
- Valentine's Day
- Retirement Parties
- Mother's Day and Father's Day
Homemade Coupons: Suggestions for Free or Almost Free Gifts
Below I've listed some suggestions for coupon ideas. Most of these are free (or almost free) and will surely please the recipient.
This Coupon Entitles You To...
- A thorough house-cleaning.
- A car-washing, inside and out.
- Breakfast in bed.
- A home-cooked candlelight dinner.
- A massage ... from me.
- A picnic at the park (or lake or beach, etc.).
- A manicure ... from me.
- A night of dancing with yours truly.
- An evening of babysitting, so the two of you can go out on a date.
- Having your laundry done—folded too!—once a week for a month.
- Having your bed made every day for a week.
- Having your lawn mowed (or replace with some other type of yard work, like weeding the garden for example).
- Having your garage organized and cleaned (especially for those with overstuffed, cluttered garages).
- A full day of elbow grease from me, to do whatever chores and projects around the house you'd like.
- Having a homemade lunch brought to your office (by me!) every day for a week.
- The favor of your choice.
- My honest opinion.
- Control of the TV remote for a month.
- A big, long hug!
- A full, uninterrupted hour of snuggling.
- A weekend camping trip with all meals prepared and the campfire built by yours truly.
- Daily dog-walking for a week (a month, etc.) ... and a dog bath would be nice, too.
- Mend clothing, add patches, replace buttons.
- A long walk on the beach.
More Coupon Suggestions
Below I have listed some more ideas, and these will cost you some money, though much of that will be up to the user of the coupon.
- Dinner for two at ___. (Fill in the restaurant and include a gift certificate, unless you're one of the two going.)
- The movie of your choice. (Include a theater gift card, unless you're taking the gift-ee.)
- A day at the spa.
- A new outfit. (Add a specific store, if you want, and include a gift certificate ... unless you'll be going along to pay.)
- An evening of babysitting so you can go out and have some fun. (Include with this a gift certificate or gift card for a nice restaurant, theater or movie tickets perhaps.)
- A manicure and pedicure at ______.
- A session with a personal trainer. (Arrange to pay for it.)
- A concert or other live show of your choice, accompanied by me (or their spouse, significant other, etc.).
- A weekend getaway to a destination of your choice (or be specific about the location).
- Having a [insert dollar amount] donation made in your name to a charity/cause of your choice.
- A replacement [insert item] for the one you loved and lost. (This idea came from a gift coupon my boyfriend gave me, for a new down jacket of my choice after I lost one I really liked while we were on vacation. I eventually picked one out, and he paid for it.)
Ideas and Supplies for Making Those Homemade Coupons More Snazzy
Sure, you can grab a magic marker and a piece of plain paper, write the coupon, cut it out and hand it over. Or you can use a greeting card or birthday card for example and write what you're gifting inside. Besides, it's the thought that counts, right?
But if you want to get a little more flashy and creative, here are some basic suggestions from my own homemade coupon-making experience:
Stop by your local craft store (or Amazon.com perhaps) and pick up some of these supplies:
- Colored tissue paper
- Glitter glue tubes
- Sharpie markers
- Paper edges
- Colored ribbons
- Sticker rolls
You Can Always Find Pre-Printed Gift Coupon Book Templates
If you'd rather not get crafty or just don't have the time, you can find plenty of template booklets online that are a great workaround. Additionally, I've also found plenty of good quality pre-printed booklets online as well. I've "resorted" to using these when I've waited until the very last minute to put together a present. It may not be as fun or personalized as making them yourself, but the gift-ee will be just as happy, believe me. You will still have plenty of customization options with these templates.
Our Own Homemade Coupon Book
This booklet was a gift for a new mom and dad of twins—a boy and a girl—for babysitting while they go out for a date. There's one themed coupon for each month, and the first three months also include gift certificates for local restaurants or movies.
Questions & Answers
Question: I'm confused. How does the coupon book work?
Answer: How do homemade coupons work? You just use your creativity to come up with something (or multiple things) you can do for someone, create a coupon of any type or size or form you'd like, and give it to them as you would a gift or a card. They can "redeem" that coupon with you whenever they want to. It's a pretty simple, fun way to give a gift that doesn't have to cost anything.
Do You Have Other Ideas for Gift Coupons? or Have You Ever Given One (Or a Whole Book of Them) to a Friend or Family Member?
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on December 24, 2014:
Thanks. :) Happy holidays.
Abhinav Garg from Bangalore on December 24, 2014:
I never even thought of giving personalized coupons to someone as gift. Great idea and Great Idea List !!
williamslaw on May 29, 2014:
ismeedee on February 19, 2014:
I did this for my parents as a child and I think it's a lovely and always well-recieved idea that also is good for the planet! Over consumerism is our biggest enemy and this is a great alternative to buying stuff! Lovely lens!!!
M. Victor Kilgore on February 15, 2014:
angelatvs on January 11, 2014:
Super! I make these for my daughters all of the time!
PennyHowe on November 28, 2013:
Great ideas. Thanks for another fantastic and information filled lens. Love it!
jan93 on October 08, 2013:
Thumbs up with this.
taliasmith23 on August 28, 2013:
I love this! I can't wait until my kids get older :)
Stephanie from Canada on July 07, 2013:
These are really cute, especially for someone on a limited budget. Tons of great ideas here.
anonymous on May 13, 2013:
These are great ideas for those crafty people..
mariacarbonara on May 03, 2013:
Great idea. Think I know what I will be doing soon! :-)
writerkath on April 05, 2013:
I love this idea, and have made some of these myself. Mine haven't been quite as creative as yours, but they were still appreciated!
Susan R. Davis from Vancouver on February 07, 2013:
This is such an excellent idea for a personal touch to a gift for someone. I've heard of the idea and even toyed with it but this is more comprehensive than I'd considered. *blessed*
Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on January 04, 2013:
I have given (and received) gift coupons before for a night of babysitting, a free lunch, etc, but none quite so cute as these ideas! I love the homemade booklet.
laptop89 on December 08, 2012:
Great idea , very informative. Thanks for sharing!
dawnsnewbeginning on November 29, 2012:
This is a great idea for children to their parents!
Vikki from US on November 26, 2012:
We do this a lot in our family. I just ran across a couple of little coupon books that my daughter made me when she was young. Sweet. Really lovely gift ideas.
dellgirl on November 18, 2012:
Thanks for sharing these ideas on Homemade Coupon Book Gift Idea for Any Holiday or Occasion, itâs very helpful.
Elizabeth Sheppard from Bowling Green, Kentucky on November 07, 2012:
I used to make coupon books for my parents. What a happy memory. Thanks for the neat lens! ::::blessed::::
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 26, 2012:
This is great, just what I needed for a feature on my 101 Budget Gift Ideas under $10.
Onemargaret LM on September 16, 2012:
Great and very unique idea!
MatijaB LM on September 15, 2012:
I find some great ideas here.thank you
poutine on September 07, 2012:
Superb ideas here.
anonymous on August 22, 2012:
Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on June 19, 2012:
these are such a great idea - when the boys were little they would make these at at school as a mother and fathers day gift and put things on a coupon they would vow to do for you, or do around the house (just loved it)
anonymous on May 24, 2012:
I just gave a book of homemade coupons to my boyfriend for his birthday. He loved it!
LisaDH on May 23, 2012:
Wonderful ideas! I love the photos of your coupon books with the monthly themes. It's always great to see examples to get ideas.
Lee Hansen from Vermont on May 08, 2012:
I like making home made coupon books for just about anyone, for any reason. I've designed a few for teachers to hand out to students, and they're super popular.
AlexTedford on March 12, 2012:
ernad18 on February 28, 2012:
thans for sharing
Kathy McGraw from California on February 26, 2012:
I love giving gift coupons...have done it for years, and now my grandkids do it too. You are right, there are so many ways to give of time or talent without buying a gift, and of course all those date nights, and movie tickets you put in your book for the new parents plus the laundry, folded, and babysittting is a priceless gift!
leeleon on February 17, 2012:
anonymous on January 12, 2012:
something crafty or thoughtful is usually a good and safe route to take.
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on December 22, 2011:
We did a family 'coupon book' gift exchange one Christmas when we were 'between jobs' and money was very tight. Two parents, two teenagers and a 10-year-old each created gift coupons out of construction paper and the 'ideas' each one came up with made for a delightful surprise. Simple coupons for 'doing your kitchen chores, etc.' for a week that cost only 'time' all the way up to mom & dad taking each child out for a restaurant meal of their choice, by themselves (where they each had our attention totally for an evening without sharing parent time with siblings. It was a huge success and you would have thought we'd exchanged really expensive gifts! My 'children' are grown now, but this coupon book exchange is the Christmas they all remember the most! Just goes to show how the simple pleasures in life (and the thoughtfulness behind them) are what is most important!
Deadicated LM on December 05, 2011:
With a little imagination you can have a lot of fun with this idea; good Lens, thanks.
markettrol on November 30, 2011:
Great Idea...Thank You
Jack-in-the-Box on November 30, 2011:
This is a great idea!!!!
Winter52 LM on November 30, 2011:
I love the idea of coupon books and always told the kids when they were little to make them for us. I still have those coupon books and they are so fun to look at. I'm thinking that I just might take one of them back to turn in. They are so funny when they are coming from an 8 year old lol.
Othercatt on November 30, 2011:
My husband and I are big fans of coupons. For Christmas a couple years ago, I even had a bunch of coupons printed out onto business cards. Each offers a hug, a snuggle, an hour of lazy time and an hour of me. The only rule is that he can only use one a week.
I'm featuring this on my "How to Write Love Notes" lens (it has a section just for coupons).