I'd like to think of myself as an expert gift giver. In fact, if there was a karate-style system for acknowledging gift-giving skills, I'd be a black belt.
So, when I was tasked with finding the best tech gifts for my family members as part of a new series on our YouTube channel called The Haul, I thought it'd be no sweat. But there was a catch: I had to stick to a budget of $200. And not $200 each, $200 total.
With holiday shipping deadlines creeping up quickly, I turned to Amazon. Needing gifts for my mom, dad, sister and nephew, I knew I could find everything I needed in one destination, and all of it would arrive with time to spare. Plus, our guide to last-minute Amazon Christmas gifts gave me a jumping off point to make great picks.
Splitting the pot between all four recipients landed me at about $50 each, though I also gave myself a little wiggle room for tax and such. You can watch the process I went through in the video below.
Now, I know it's a little messed up to unbox all the presents I bought for my family members. But hey, I was careful not to mess up the packaging, and they all know what I do for a living requires me to test gadgets out. It was important to know that I made the right choices with what I bought them, after all.
You'll have to watch the full video to see how the products panned out, but in case you're here and want to take inspiration from the affordable gifts I chose, I've listed them here with the latest sales prices. That way, you can save while still having the best gifts to stash under the tree.
Shop my affordable gift picks
JLab JBuds Mini: was $39 now $29 at Amazon
The JBuds Mini wireless earbuds deliver strong performance, and the super-compact design will be attractive to anyone who's always on the go. They're great workout earbuds, too. Read our full JLab JBuds Mini review to learn more about why they're one of our favorites.
Amazon Echo Pop: was $39 now $17 @ Amazon
Amazon's cheapest smart speaker is at its all-time lowest price. In our Amazon Echo Pop review, we thought it sounded almost as good as the Echo Dot, at that it makes a great entry-level smart home speaker. Every color is on sale, but our favorite option is Lavender Bloom.
Govee Smart Light Bulbs: was $39 now $28 @ Amazon
These smart light bulbs are an easy and affordable way to step up a smart home. They'll work with any 'ole lamp, opening the door to all sorts of color scenes and combinations. This is a great choice to pair with an affordable smart speaker like the Echo Pop.
Dash Personal Blender: was $29 now $26 @ Amazon
The Dash Mighty Mini Personal Blender lets you make 10-ounce drinks in seconds. Great for someone who loves fruit smoothies or protein shakes, you can even take the bottle on the go with the included travel lid. Despite it's small size, it packs power.
Dash Mini Pancake Griddle: $12 @ Amazon
Who doesn't love pancakes? This mini pancake griddle heats up in minutes and makes the cutest 4-inch flapjacks you've ever seen. We've tried it ourselves and can confirms it works great. It's a particularly awesome gift for the breakfast-lover in your life.
Astronaut Projector: was $49 now $40 @ Amazon
This projector whent super viral on social media, displaying amazing galaxy light-shows from the helmet of an astronaut. It's durable, easy to use and great for kids. I would imagine it's especially great for bedtime, or for illuminating the inside of an epic fort.
LEGO 3-in-1 Space Shuttle: was $10 now $9 @ Amazon
There's a LEGO set for every kind of hobby, and believe it or not, some are incredibly affordable — even less than $10. This Creator 3-in-1 set is particularly great because you get three different builds from the same pieces. Talk about a stellar stocking stuffer.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.