When I was a kid I kept a box in my closet of stuff people gave me that was’t really stuff I used and things I got cheap at yard sales. Whenever I needed a present I would go to my box and select one that worked the best for the given scenario. Maybe it was a white elephant gift for school or a surprise birthday party, but either way I was prepared. This habit has never stopped. In fact it has probably just gotten bigger. I have a closet of gifts to choose from.
There are a few things you have to remember if you are buying gifts before the actual occasion so you aren’t just wasting money.
#1: Gift on the value of the item not the price.
Don’t just buy because it is cheap. It’s not worth it to buy a ton of fifty cent dolls at the dollar store unless you are preparing stocking stuffers or something. However, it is super worth it to buy $20 dolls you find for a couple of dollars in a box at a yard sale or on clearance at Walmart.
Buy if it has good value. I like to give gifts valued between $15 and $20. Maybe that is a few different beauty products for one of my friends. For my daughter it may be a nice doll with accessories or a brand new hardcover picture book.
Black Friday sales are great for stocking up on things to use for weddings and bridal showers. Often Kohls has appliances for five to seven dollars that are $20-$30 otherwise.
#2: Have a person or people in mind when you buy
You may not know exactly who is getting it but have some idea. For example, if I buy a brand new Spiderman toy that I find on clearance I know it is likely going to one of my boys’ friends for a birthday present. If I buy a doll it is probably going to one of my girls at some point although I may not know exactly when. A crockpot is likely going to family or friends who have upcoming weddings.
Never buy if you have no clue who would like it. That’s why some things go on clearance. If it isn’t something you can picture someone wanting then you need to skip it even if it is a good deal. Your wallet will thank you.
#3: Still Put Thought Into It
Just having a box or closet of stuff to choose from doesn’t mean you don’t personalize gifts to the person. You still want to choose something from your stash that makes you think of the person. If you don’t think the person would like it, don’t just give it to them so you can say you gave them something. That to me is a waste of money.
Think about making a card to go with it or putting something homemade with something from your selection. Just a homemade card goes a long way. Maybe you made a shower scrub that you can put with some lotion you bought to make a nice pamper yourself gift for a woman or mother.
Listen throughout the year. Pay attention to things the person needs or wants that you may be able to fulfill from your collection. It may not work all the time, but every now and then I hear someone say something like “I could really just use some good recipes” and I know I have a cookbook in my closet I could give them. It makes them feel special and doesn’t cost you much.
Good luck building a gift stash so you never have to pay full price and your friends and family don’t feel gypped by a cheapskate.