Finance

How to Save Money on Wedding Gifts

It comes in the mail all too often. A large pristine white envelope hand addressed to you. The calligraphy is beautiful. You don’t have to open it to know what it is. It’s another wedding invitation to go with several others you’ve already received. Some of these people you barely know.

You know it means buying a gift and money is already in short supply. Where can you find a cheap wedding gift and not look cheap? How much should you spend? If you’re invited to one of the wedding dinners a good rule of thumb is to spend about as much as the dinner would have cost.

This could run between $50 and $125. You’re certainly not obligated to spend that much but polite etiquette also says you should not go empty handed. How can you afford to give something special yet affordable?

Select the gift early. Go ahead and get it over with and check the gift registry. With so many weddings, especially in the spring, registry items can quickly get picked over leaving you with little to choose or gifts out of your price range.

Many thoughtful brides and grooms are now adding a broad selection of gifts in all price ranges. Again, shop early for best (and cheapest) idea. With the distinct possibility of going to two or three weddings in the same year even an inexpensive gift could add up when multiplied.

Use your imagination and creativity to make or buy something that’s personalized for the newlyweds. Wedding gift baskets can be geared to their particular tastes and lifestyle. Most new brides need kitchen gadgets so a basket filled with kitchen basics, a few epicurean recipe ingredients and even a recipe book would be perfect. The groom could appreciate this more than you know.

Frame their wedding invitation. Make the frame yourself or buy one that can be personalized with their names and wedding date. Framing a favorite poem or readings from the ceremony itself is a very considerate gift.

Newlyweds are usually on a tight budget so give them a movie night out. You could spring for movie tickets and cash for the popcorn or buy them a romantic movie DVD and include a package of popcorn to pop. Put all this in a popcorn bowl along with two boxes of movie candy.

Give a bottle of wine with a note attached that the wine will be at its prime in 10 years and it’s not to be opened until their 10th anniversary. Decorate the bottle with bows or ribbons. You could also include ingredients for a romantic dinner such as pasta and a gourmet sauce. A couple of candles would round out the gift nicely.

A lavish expensive wedding gift will never trump the thoughtful personalized gift from their friend. (Well, almost never.) Be creative and give from the heart. If you run out of time and ideas, a little cash or gift card in any amount is always appropriate and appreciated.

Finance

How Homemade Gift Baskets Can Save You Money and Show You Care

Gift baskets can be made for every occasion and every person. They can be costly to make or buy, but with a little planning and creativity, you can craft the perfect gift–even if that person has everything.

When you personalize a gift, it says a lot about you. It says you cared enough to put love and effort into creating something for someone who’s important to you. And, that special someone will be impressed.

Sure, you can buy gift baskets from a professional and spend any amount you want. They look good and come in a variety of themes and containers. But, wouldn’t a basket fashioned personally by you send a more meaningful message? Not to mention it’s a lot cheaper and more fun. Homemade foods from your kitchen (for example) are the perfect gifts for your basket.

Ask yourself three questions before you get started: Who is it for, what are their interests, and how much am I willing to spend? A gift basket fits the bill for everyone, regardless of age or gender.

Choose a theme based on their interests, hobbies, or an upcoming event in their life. You can spend as much as you want, but assuming you’re on a limited budget, your basket can still be something you can give with pride.

Wicker baskets are probably the first choice to use, because they’re easy to work with and can be found inexpensively at dollar stores and even yard sales. Other containers work as well, such as trays with an edge, plastic pails (best for kids), coffee mugs, flower pots, and if the person you’re giving to happens to enjoy cooking, use a baking pan, bowl, or even a colander.

Let your imagination run wild utilizing various shapes and materials. For instance, if the recipient is a cowboy, put your items in an old boot, a tackle box for a fisherman, or a sewing basket for a seamstress. Choosing the container and the gifts can be almost as much fun for the giver as the receiver.

Place your main theme gift in the center or high enough that the eye is drawn to it. Additional gift items go around the sides, and then add filler material such as colored paper or straw available at hobby stores. If you have a paper shredder and colored paper, make the filler yourself and save. Remember, an overflowing basket looks better than one that’s sparsely filled.

Set your basket inside a cellophane bag and tie a bow with colored streamers flowing down. Attach a card and you’re good to give. If you need to secure items inside the basket to keep them from flopping around, clear tape works well–or use a glue gun. Be neat with your work, not sloppy.

Give genuine thought to the appropriate theme to make the basket more expressive. Consider the person’s personality, whims, and passions. Fashion something you would like to receive and be assured others will like it too.