Giving gifts to loved ones is one way that you can show how much you love them. Unfortunately, pesky things like “budget” and “fear of eventual personal bankruptcy” get in the way of buying exactly you'd like for them. Here are some tricks to getting reasonably-priced gifts for your loved ones.
- Buy off-peak. My wife and I have an agreement that I don't have to buy flowers for her on Valentine's Day. We both know that the price for a dozen roses skyrockets on February 14th. This agreement isn't free though, as I surprise her with flowers at other times.
- Use rebate sites. You can make many things a little bit cheaper by clicking through online rebate sites like Mr. Rebates or EBates. Simply click through on the way to the website you're buying from, and as long as the purchase meets a few requirements, you'll get some cash back from that purchase.
- Use coupon sites. Related to the above, often stores will offer coupon codes that you can apply to your purchase at checkout. Sites like Coupon Follow aggregate these coupon codes and make applying them to your purchases easy.
- Discount gift cards. Sites like Coupon Trade sell gift cards at a discount from face value. Every little bit counts!
- Write a letter with that gift card. As in actually write a letter. (Personal note: I spend so much time at a keyboard actually physically putting pen to paper feels like I'm dusting off cobwebs!) I'm probably typical and receive well over 90% of my written communication either electronically or mechanically produced. So few people actually use cursive anymore that just doing that is special.
- Do good while you shop. Pay it forward with money that you would have saved. Sometimes buying something will trigger a donation to a charity. Other shopping portals like Save1 will send meals to families in need as you shop through their portal. Almost no extra work on your part, and some of people's basic needs are met in the process.
- Give randomly rather than around holidays. This relates to the first tip. I think there's more hidden value in this tip than many people realize. Giving around holidays is expected, and if you've given someone a gift at Christmas before, they'll wonder why you didn't continue the following year. But if you surprise someone with a gift on July 17th, saying “I saw this and thought of you,” then it's treated as a one-time bonanza by the receiver rather than a yearly tradition.
- Go off the beaten path. Certainly national chains will have acceptable gifts for most people. Antique malls (or some hybrid of antique mall and flea market) can have gifts that are unique, unusual, or even brand-new. One “hybrid” antique mall had DVDs for less than I could get them at Walmart.
- Always be on the lookout for gifts. You have an “A-List” of friends, relatives, or clients that are unusually special to you. As such, you probably know what interests them. Keeping these interests at the back of your mind when shopping might help in recognizing good deals on gifts as they pop up throughout the year.
- Sometimes a phone call or a visit really is enough. The gift of your time, depending on what you do, can be very expensive. And some people already have more stuff than they know what to do with. So just chatting on the phone or visiting may be dearly appreciated and more than enough.
- Are you crafty? Get some return on your Pinterest time and make a gift for your loved ones! Some of the best gifts we've received were hand-made.
What other tips do you have for getting reasonable-priced gifts for your loved ones?