Set a Budget
How many times have you gone shopping for a gift not knowing exactly what you wanted to buy? Next thing you know you’re checking out with a $50 something-or-other that you’re not super excited about but purchased because you didn’t want to be too cheap but also because you figured at that price range it could be cool.
Rather than going down the road of spending too much and risking getting something that is mediocre, create a budget so you’ll know how much you want to spend and can shop for things within that price range.
Buying last minute gifts means you are subject to whatever is at the store you choose to shop at. If you can decide ahead of time that you will be buying your friend a gift, look for sales or do some comparison shopping so you can save some money. When you plan ahead you’ll be able to do research on products, ensure that you are choosing the right one and will feel better about the deals you find.
Pictures Are Always Memorable (and Cheap!)
One of the cheapest ways to give someone a gift is to make them something. However, not all of us are creative and the mere thought of creating anything would make us go to the store, hand over our credit cards and put that artsy idea to bed.
If you have any pictures of your friend or loved one, and especially one of the two of you together, you have already made something – memories! Get a few pictures of the two of you together printed out at the local drugstore (they almost all have photo kiosks that can pull pictures from your cell phone) and buy a nice 4” x 6” frame. If you buy a few pictures and a frame you’ll probably be able to walk out of there for under $10 bucks and you’ll have a gift that is more memorable than any toy, t-shirt or kitchen accessory you’ll ever find.
The Ol’ 2-For-1 Trick
If you are buying a gift for a holiday, an anniversary or around a time where two partners/siblings/roommates have a close birthday, buy something that will satisfy both people.
Know mom loves to cook and dad loves to eat? How about a crock pot? Know roommates Billy and Louie love to play X-Box? How about a new game?
You’ll end up spending a little more this way than you would on a single gift but less than you would on two separate gifts.
Find Coupon Sites
Before shelling out money on the wedding registry or cutting a check, use coupon websites like Retail Me Not or Coupon Sherpa to find sweet deals at your favorite stores. Also, if it’s a wedding gift you’re after consider looking it up on the registry and then buying it at another store for cheaper. Just remember to take it off the registry and keep the receipt.
Group Gift It!
Last but not least is the art of finding other thrifty friends or relatives who want to pitch in. If you want to get a bigger-ticket item but don’t want to tackle the expense all by yourself, this is definitely the way to go. You’ll also look like rock stars because no single person will want to buy the high-end gifts and if a few people pool together and get it the recipient will be surprised and everyone will feel good about the purchase and money-savings.
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