derived from the term "its the thought that counts." When considering buying someone something then deciding against it. You buy them this gift in your head, thinking its just the thought that counts.
person #1 : hey, did u buy me a gift for my birthday ?
person #2 : ehh, well i saw this cool shirt but i didnt have enough money, so i just thought bought it for you.
person #1 : well, it is the thought that counts. Thanks !