Do you have a marketing budget? Well, then you’re probably looking for cheap promotional items! You may not be spending a ton of money on swag, but that doesn’t mean it should be garbage. That’s where these ideas come in handy!

Win over the crowd with 10 affordable promotional products that people will actually want to use. Everyone will be excited to receive these items, whether they’re handed out at a trade show, fundraiser, or some other event.

What Are Good Cheap Promotional Items?

The best giveaways are either: 1) stylish, unique items that are hard to resist, or 2) useful items that people don’t realize they need, but are happy to receive. The following can fit either description:

  1. #1: Drinkware
  2. #2: Novelty pens
  3. #3: Phone & laptop accessories
  4. #4: Bags
  5. #5: Hand sanitizer
  6. #6: Kitchenware
  7. #7: Sticky notes
  8. #8: Food & snacks
  9. #9: Luggage tags
  10. #10: Stress balls

#1: Drinkware

Everybody loves having an assortment of drinkware in their kitchen cabinet, whether it’s water bottles for busy days, or wine glasses for relaxing evenings. These items can be customized for cheap, but still look as trendy as anything you’d find at stores like Target!

70% of people keep custom drinkware when it’s of a nice quality and durable enough to last for years.


#2: Novelty Pens

While regular pens are great giveaways, novelty pens are next level! They’re more unique, which makes all the difference. You’ll see a person’s face light up when they receive a cool pen shaped like a paintbrush, or one with a fancy diamond topper.

89% of consumers own promotional writing instruments like pens and pencils. With so many logoed pens out there, it’s a good idea to be unique!


#3: Phone & Laptop Accessories

Our phones and laptops are more than just Facebook status updates and Buzzfeed quizzes. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were gamechangers that helped keep us connected! You simply can’t go wrong with accessories like phone wallets, earbuds, laptop sleeves, and webcam covers.

The average American spends 5.4 hours on their phones and about 3.75 hours on their laptops or tablets on average each day.


#4: Bags

Carry on and print your company’s name or logo on custom bags like drawstring backpacks, totes, and wine bags. You’ll find a ton of inexpensive options in a variety of colors and materials. These logoed bags are sure to be used all the time for groceries, gym clothes, and even mini road trips!

About 38.68% of millennials bring a reusable tote bag to the grocery store. Meanwhile, 36% are in favor of banning single-use plastic bags altogether.


#5: Hand Sanitizer

People are always on the go and don’t always have access to soap and water. That’s why mini hand sanitizer is sure to be a well-received giveaway item. Choose a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol content as that’s the recommended amount by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how people think about personal hygiene. Sales on hand sanitizer saw a year-on-year increase of 255%, with the global market projected to reach $7.32 billion by 2027.


#6: Kitchenware

You may not have the money to add your logo to high-end cookware like skillets and cutting boards, but don’t overlook the smaller stuff! Bag clips, spatulas, pizza cutters, and ice cream scoopers are all affordable items that will get a ton of use in the kitchen.

People are cooking at home now more than ever before. In fact, 82% of the meals Americans eat are prepared at home rather than bought at restaurants or fast-food chains.


#7: Sticky Notes

Whether it’s for keeping on task at work or jotting down a grocery list, a Post-it comes in handy all the time! Your business can give away pads of sticky notes that are printed in full color with your logo at promotional events like trade shows and fundraisers.

According to 3M, the average professional receives 11 messages each day on a Post-it Note.


#8: Food & Snacks

If you position yourself as the business that always give away free popcorn at the front door or M&Ms after a transaction, people are going to keep on coming back. After all, the key to the heart is through the stomach!

More than half of Americans consider themselves “foodies.” Their favorite snacks include: potato chips, assorted nuts, cookies, and milk chocolate.


#9: Luggage Tags

Airline travel can be a nightmare, which is why people are sure to appreciate a luggage tag from your business! It makes life easier at the baggage claim, and travelers can worry less about their bags getting misplaced.

25 million bags are lost at airports every single year! A luggage tag helps ensure it’s returned to the owner.


#10: Stress Balls

Stress balls are arguably the least trendy and useful items on this list, but they make up for it by having the most personality! You can find stress balls in a ton of unique shapes like tacos, puppies, footballs, and even squishy rainbow brains!

A 2016 study found that tactile activities, like squeezing a stress ball, can increase our attention by about 33%.

Can You Find Unique Promotional Products on a Budget?

It may seem like there will only be slim pickings because you’re on a budget, but that’s definitely not the case! You can easily find a ton of affordable, unique products that will turn heads without hurting your wallet.

Here are some cheap, yet unique product suggestions:

What Are Tips for Saving Money on Promotional Products?

Now that you know which cheap giveaways you want, the next step is figuring out how else you can save money on your promotional products.

Follow these tips to save your hard-earned cash:

Pay attention to the minimum

Do you frequently purchase promotional products? If so, you’re better off ordering more at once. This will decrease the price per item, which help you save in the long run.

Print your design in 1 ink color

A majority of products will be customized via screen printing with 1 ink color included for free. Keep your design simple so you don’t have to pay extra for more ink colors.

Shop under $1

If you’re not sure what you want, start by looking at giveaways that are under $1 each. Even if you end up choosing keychains or magnets, you’re still going to be better off than the business that doesn’t give their customers any giveaways at all!

Watch out for hidden fees

It might seem like you’re well within your budget and then BAM! – out of nowhere the price jumps up by $100+ dollars. Order from a company that has a good website with transparent pricing.

Use a coupon code

Sign up for emails to get exclusive deals to your inbox, or hit up Google before you buy to see what coupons are out there. Even a 5% off code is a win!

The Bottom Line

You may be shopping for your swag on clearance, but nobody will be the wiser! These cheap giveaways are still trendy and exciting, even if they don’t have a high price tag.

References

Henneberry, B. How Surgical Masks Are Made. Retrieved from,
https://www.thomasnet.com/articles/other/how-surgical-masks-are-made

Baraniuk, C. (2019, June 3). Why Do Airlines Still Mislay 25 Million Bags a Year? Retrieved from,
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48437262

Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). (August 2020). Global Ad Impressions Study. Retrieved from,
https://media.asicentral.com/resources/2020-Global-Ad-Impressions-Study.pdf

Statista. (2019, June 20). Share of Americans Who Use Reusable Grocery Bags Made From Cloth or Other Materials. Retrieved from,
https://www.statista.com/statistics/228384/people-who-use-reusable-grocery-bags-made-from-cloth-or-other-materials/

Brown, E. (2019, April 28). Americans Spend Far More Time on Their Smartphones Than They Think. Retrieved from,
https://www.zdnet.com/article/americans-spend-far-more-time-on-their-smartphones-than-they-think/

Fottrell, Q. (2018, August 4). People Spend Most of Their Waking Hours Staring at Screens. Retrieved from,
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/people-are-spending-most-of-their-waking-hours-staring-at-screens-2018-08-01

Reiter, A. Americans Are Cooking More Meals at Home, Eating Out Less. Retrieved from,
https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/news/2018/9/americans-are-cooking-more-meals-at-home–eating-out-less

Gervis, Z. (2019, May 23). Here’s How Many Americans Consider Themselves a ‘Foodie.’ Retrieved from,
https://www.swnsdigital.com/2019/05/heres-how-many-americans-consider-themselves-a-foodie/

Buckingham, C. (2020, May 4). The 25 Most Popular Snack Brands in America. Retrieved from,
https://www.eatthis.com/most-popular-snack-foods-america/

Taylor, C. (2020, March 3). Sales of Hand Sanitizer Are Skyrocketing Due to the Coronavirus, Leading to Rationing and Price Hikes. Retrieved from,
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/03/coronavirus-hand-sanitizer-sales-surge-leading-to-price-hikes.html

Global Newswire. (2020, April 15). Hand Sanitizer Market to Reach USD 7.32 Billion By 2027. Retrieved from,
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/04/15/2016141/0/en/Hand-Sanitizer-Market-To-Reach-USD-7-32-Billion-By-2027-Reports-and-Data.html

Ramirez-Gomez, M. Hysaj, K. Neibur, E. (2016, June 22). Neural Mechanisms of Selective Attention in the Somatosensory System. Retrieved from,
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5018055/

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.