Another wedding-related question from M:
Any gift-giving tips? My fiancé and I usually try to stick to the couple’s registry (neither of us is particularly crafty) and have set a budget/gift. However, I try to use store credit if I have any, 20% or competitor’s coupons, or other good deals.
I think you’re making great points—if you already have store credit or a good coupon consider using those benefits for buying someone a nice wedding gift!
A wedding present doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. It should be something you think the couple will appreciate.
For our wedding last May, people generously gave us a variety of presents. We registered at Target and Macy’s for things like bedding, kitchen items, bathroom things, etc. We received things from the registries and also cash, checks and gift cards.
We were thankful for everything, but for our situation (we moved to Pittsburgh just a few days after our wedding and were fairly broke), we really appreciated the cash and gift cards. It was nice to have less to pack, and that money went a long way in our new home.
Depending on the couple (consider their age, stage in life, financial situation, and what they might want), they might really appreciate cash or gift cards as gifts.
Use their gift registry to find out exactly what they want–then shop elsewhere for a better deal.
If you plan to use a couple’s registry, get the exact item—not another model or size. But, you don’t have to buy that item from that store.
Search for the exact product at another store or online, such as on Amazon.com. Chances are, you’ll be able to find it at a lower price. When you buy it, call the gift registry number and have the customer service rep mark the item as “purchased” so they won’t get duplicates.
Earn free gift cards to give away, or to use toward buying presents.
My debit card is linked to a points program, and I can redeem points for gift cards for shopping and restaurants.
My credit card company (that I’m no longer using, btw), gave me two $25 Amazon.com gift certificates.
You can give away those free earned gift cards (be sure that store exists in the couple’s city, and is something they would genuinely enjoy). Or, you can use acquired gift cards to buy the gifts yourself.
For the wedding we’re attending in May, I looked at the couple’s registry on Bed, Bath and Beyond, and tried to find a way to give them $50 worth of gifts in value, without spending that much.
They had several wine-related items on their registry, so I chose their selected set of wine glasses ($27), a vacuum wine saver ($9) and extra stoppers ($8), and a stemware brush ($6).
Those wine glasses would probably shatter if I tried to bring them on our flight, so I bought them online and had those shipped to their doorstep. I bought the other items on Amazon.com with my free gift certificates, and I’ll bring them with me. (When flying, it’s a good idea to wrap gifts after you arrive, so TSA won’t tear open the package to inspect it.)
Thanks to those gift certificates, I was able to avoid spending $23, while still getting them a nice gift set.
Start saving money for gifts now, so it won’t break your budget when suddenly you’re attending a wedding per week.
If you aren’t paying off debt right now and if this won’t hurt your budget, start saving money for gifts and wedding-related travel. You could designate a sub-account within ING Direct to include all presents you expect to give throughout the year (birthdays, Christmas, weddings, etc.).
Add up how much you typically spend on gifts in a year, and aim for saving that amount.
If you can save $10 – $50 (or whatever) per month specifically for gifts, you’ll be that much ahead when it comes time to actually purchase the presents.
Straying from the gift registry/cash options is a-ok
Want to know the wedding gift that made me cry? My maid-of-honor printed an old poem about marriage on nice paper and framed and matted it herself. I’m not sure how much the materials cost, but I know it was quite frugal of her, and it was so touching.
My great-grandmother gave us several gifts, but one of them was a book about marriage she’s had on her shelf for many years. Even though its old and used, it was hers, and I appreciate it.
We received a coffee table book that’s filled with pictures of our beautiful college town of Bloomington, Ind. It was an especially thoughtful gift, as sometimes we get homesick.
Why not give tickets to some area attractions? Maybe they could have a fun day at the zoo, or an art museum, or a baseball game.
Or maybe you have a service you could provide, in lieu of a physical gift. Maybe you’re a skilled cosmetologist and can do the bridal party’s hair and/or makeup on the big day. If you’re a musician, maybe you can provide the ceremony music. Or maybe you can prepare a lovely brunch for the bridal party while they get ready, like Meredith did.
What are some ideas for gifts you’ve given (or received)? How do you save money on wedding presents?