The best cheap gifts for nerds

Smart ideas that cost less than $20
Gotta go outdoors? Bring a book
Affordable gifts for that friend who totes a book everywhere she goes Christine / Flickr (cropped)

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We all know that one nerd. The friend who brings a book everywhere she goes. The sibling who can solve a Rubik’s cube in minutes. The cousin with a subscription to Popular Science.

When you start brainstorming gift ideas for these fact-loving folks, expensive tech gadgets might be the first idea to leap into your head. But you don’t need to shell out a ton of cash to please a nerd. Try these thrifty recommendations instead.

giant gray microbe plushy
Colored pencils in a circle
modern map of the world
Plasma globe in the dark
whitelist link, notepad and a laptop
nerdy Newton tote bags
Gyroscope nerd toy
Walk on the Moon Jigsaw puzzle
Caffeinated mug
A nerd’s tote bag should reference physics, but her mug has got to pay lip service to chemistry. A classic caffeine molecule decoration will show that this friend knows exactly what’s in her morning (or mid-morning or afternoon or evening or late-night) cup of joe. $10.99 on Amazon. Amazon
piles of books in a bookstore
Red and White Paper Foldscope