This is How Budget Gift Giving Really Works

By: Bruce Hokin

How many times have you been stuck wondering what to buy for Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Engagements, Weddings and House Warmings, just to name a few? On top of trying to select the correct present, you've usually left it till the last minute to decide. Right? Here are some gift-giving tips on a budget that should help.

Tip #1. Don't Wait Until the Last Minute

When you are up against a deadline and pushed for time you can end up buying the wrong gift and also paying too much for it. Always keep gifts for others in the back of your mind whilst shopping. Buy ahead, grab a bargain. Whenever you come across a great bargain think about the gifts you need to buy. You'll have a much better chance of finding the right gift at a bargain price if you have months to casually think about, rather than just a few days before the event.

Tip #2. Compare Prices

Don't just settle for any item to buy. Shop around and look out for sales. If you know in advance what gifts to buy, look out for storewide sales. If the item you wish to purchase is expensive, play off one retailer against another. Don't buy from the first available outlet. Find the best price from the first retailer, take this information to their competitor and see what their lowest price is. Do this a few times and you will be surprised at the amount of money that you can save.

Tip #3. Try the Internet

If your time is really precious and you don't have enough time to shop around, check out the Internet. You can save time by not having to travel to the malls and not physically walking/driving from shop to shop to compare prices. You can also save money by not paying parking fees, not being tempted to stop for bought coffee or snacks and being able to see more competing products, prices and offers. Just enter "wedding present gift ideas", birthday gift ideas" or "gift buying tips" into your favourite search engine. Also take advantage of their vouchers and loyalty programs.

Tip #4. Why Not Try Vouchers?

If you still cannot find something suitable, what about a voucher? There are vouchers available for most major retailers and some specialty shops. Why not buy some movie rental vouchers, or shoes or clothing vouchers. Just place them in a suitable card and that's it. Done.

Tip #5. Last Minute Successful Gift Ideas

If you have left things to the last few days and you're really struggling, try these ideas:
a) Pamper Pack - buy a little basket, some cellophane, ribbon and some face cream, body butter, shower gel and moisturiser. Add the latest edition of their favourite magazine.
b) Cheese Lovers - buy a little basket, some cellophane, ribbon and a selection of deli cheeses, crackers and seasonal fruits and nuts.
c) Motor Head - buy the latest editions of some motoring magazines or an annual subscription and place it in a card.
d) Exercise Junkie - buy a 3 month subscription to a gym and some current fitness magazines and wrap them appropriately.

Tip #6. Think Consumable

If you're still confused as to what that special someone may or may not value, why not try something consumable, like a book, brushes and hairdo magazines (for the teen-aged daughter) or a car-wax, tyre black and upholstery cleaner for Dad. This way your gift has little chance of being consigned to the drawer or cupboard, never to be seen again.

These are just a few ideas that can save you money and reduce gift buying grief and worry, thus making your life a little easier.

Gifts for loved ones
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