Summer is wedding season, and wedding mean gifts. Gifts can be expensive, and they add up if you are going to multiple weddings in one year. Thankfully, there are great ways to save money and still give thoughtful gifts that will be appreciated and remembered. Wedding gifts are a great time to remember the phrase, "It's the thought that counts." As long as you are really thinking about the wedding couple, you're sure to come up with a good gift.
There are two main strategies for saving on gifts: getting the best possible price for something on the couple's gift registry, or giving something not on the registry.
Registry on the CheapWhen a couple registers for gifts they would like from a specific store, there are still many ways you can save. Shopping early will maximize your options, both for choice and for savings.
First, look carefully over the list, and see if any item really jumps out at you. I like to focus on things that I know will get used, like my favorite food storage containers or well-made measuring cups. Bonus points if you can include a note that explains why you picked this particular item - it will be more memorable and thus more appreciated. This can save you money because you can choose less expensive items that will be just as valued.
Second, if you start shopping early, you can wait until the item is on sale. You can even use coupons, rebates, or other savings techniques. For example, Macy's always has coupons, and Macy's Money, and you can early Plenti points on your purchases there. With careful shopping, you can find a $100 gift for less than $50, and get Macy's money and Plenti points to spend on yourself.
Lastly, you don't have to purchase the gift from the store that hosts the registry. Let's say your cousin Susan has requested a Pyrex mixing bowl set from Target. You can buy the mixing bowls from wherever has the best price, and "report" the purchase at the Target gift registry website so that no one else buys it.
Off-RegistryGoing off-registry is always an option. It's a little riskier if you don't know the couple well, but a little sleuthing can help you find great choices.
There is a do-it-yourself gift for every couple. Options might include a collection of favorite family recipes, a pillow embroidered with the couples initials, or a rustic photo display. Personalization can make your favorite craft into a treasure, whether it is a cutting board or a quilt.
Some couples would love the idea of an experience versus a gift. An aquarium membership, baseball tickets, or sunset cruise on their honeymoon will definitely not gather dust in a closet.
Lastly, you can purchase something you know they need and want, but didn't think to put on their registry. This option is best if you know them really well. For example, my maid of honor gave us a print of the historic building where we had our wedding reception.
Wedding gifts don't have to be expensive to be appreciated and loved. Starting early and thinking outside the "buy from the registry store" box can help you save money and still feel great about the gift you give.