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Office parties have become a common occurance, and the chances are good that you will be asked to buy at least one gift for a co-worker sometime during your work week. They may be retiring after 30 years of faithful service, or finally getting a promotion after 10 years in the secretarial pool. They may be celebrating a birthday, or planning a graceful exit from the company. Whatever the reason, you are most welcome to the celebration, and everyone is bringing gifts. So what do you do when your personal budget is tight but you still need to find an appropriate gift for a co-worker? Consider the following ten gift ideas, all of which generally cost under $10.

1. Music or video. If you feel confident that you know your co-worker's tastes in either music or movies, you might consider buying discounted musical tapes or videos. Many good titles can be found for under $10, especially if your friend enjoys older movies or older musical artists.

2. Picture frames. Any gift that can used in conjunction with other gifts is always appropriate. If someone else provides pictures of the honored guest on their first day at work or other candid moments, then you might consider the perfect complement to the photos- an inexpensive picture frame or album.

3. Gift certificates. If you have no idea what would be appropriate for the honoree, you can obtain gift certificates for various department stores or restaurants. Make sure that the amount of the gift certificate will insure that the honoree can actually exchange it for a useful item. A $10 gift certificate for a meal at a good restaurant is thoughtful, but a $10 gift certificate towards a $100 service is nothing more than a glorified coupon. Know the difference.

4. Collectible stamps. If the occasion calls for thank-you notes or invitations, the honoree will definitely appreciate a supply of stamps. If you want to get a little more personal, check with the post office for some more creative stamps. Not every gift has to be a showstopper, so don't worry if others seem less than impressed with your offering at first. We all need stamps.

5. Homemade candies or crafts. If you make the best chocolate chip cookies, bake up a batch or two for the honoree. If you have a hobby or craft, create something especially for the co-worker. Personalize some inexpensive linen with embroidery, or create a wooden nameplate.

6. Magazines or books dedicated to the co-worker's interests. You might look through the discounted section of a local bookstore for books that might interest your co-worker. If they are celebrating a birth, consider some parenting magazines. If they are retiring, look for hobbyist or 'spare time' magazines they may enjoy.

7. Inexpensive gag gifts. If you know your co-worker well enough, you might be able to buy some 'gag gifts' for them. A 40th birthday may require a box of Depends and denture cream. A retirement party gift may be a bottle of hair dye or some golf balls. As long as it is appropriate and done in the spirit of good-natured teasing, your co-worker may enjoy the gesture.

8. Certificates for services. Many people who find themselves on a strict gift budget often offer services as a gift. Offer to wash their car or handle some gruesome office task for them. Write out a professional-looking 'certificate' that spells out exactly what service(s) you wish to offer and when they can redeem their 'coupon'.

9. Certificates for OTHER people's services. If you can afford it, obtain certificates for professional services, such as a free shoe cleaning or clothing alteration. If your co-worker is getting a promotion, they may welcome such services while making the transition.

10. Offer to tape the occasion for their permanent memory collection. If the occasion includes speeches or dedications to the honoree, then they will cherish a copy of the event. Get a decent card for the gift table, but spend your time taping candid thoughts about the honoree or capturing their reactions as the gifts are presented.