This week's Thursday Thoughts is shared by Anna at YourRetailHelper.com. You may have noticed that I often link to her fabulous weekly retail and mall deals and she has offered to share some of her best tips for Creating A Gift Reserve. My thanks to Anna and please share your favorite places to stock up on frugal gifts.
Creating a Gift Reserve
One of the best tools you can use to cut your Gift Giving Budget is to create a Gift Reserve. Imagine shopping from your own stash, as opposed to running to the store. Can it save you money? In 2010, our family spent 40-50% less than the previous year on gifts, simply by using a Gift Reserve. Let me show you how.
A Gift Reserve is a "reserve" of items you've bought at rock bottom prices (ie dirt cheap!). Typically, if you buy a gift at the moment of need, you'll spend more than if you planned ahead. ("Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." - Benjamin Franklin) The goal is to cut your Gift Giving Budget. If you buy items at rock bottom prices, you can stock up for a gift giving opportunity.
Where should I keep my Gift Reserve?
Anywhere you have space. Consider using a spare drawer, a box in the attic/closet or under the bed. (Just make sure little fingers can't find it.) Also keep it organized. If necessary, keep a list of all the items in your Gift Reserve.
How will I know what gifts I'll need in the future?
* Plan ahead. Make a list of all Christmas/Holiday Gifts, Birthdays, Weddings, Anniversaries for the year. If you have three weddings this summer, you can buy three gifts when you find a great deal and save money.
* You can also buy gifts that are age specific to your child(ren), because inevitably they'll be asked to parties by their classmates.
* Start looking now for gifts for Christmas and the Holidays. If you wait until the last minute, you could be spending more than your budget allows.
* Be an opportunist when it comes to great deals.
What about Gifts off a Gift Registry?
Would your friend be happier to know you put yourself in a financial disadvantage because you felt compelled to buy something expensive off their registry, rather than buying them a high quality gift at a fraction of the cost? If you're on a tight budget and you give a generous thoughtful gift, it shouldn't matter.
Here's your challenge for the week: Make a list of all gift giving opportunities for the year. The list will change as you go, but it at least gives you a place to start. Then watch for Hot Deals to add to your Gift Reserve. By the way, check out Your Retail Helper's Retail Round Up every Thursday afternoon, which is a huge list of printable mall and store coupons you'll need for your weekend shopping!
Anna Bannister is the founder of Your Retail Helper. She's passionate about saving money on all things Retail. Watch for Hot Deals, Coupons and Tips at YourRetailHelper.com.