The first rule for last-minute gifts that don’t cost a fortune is not to make them at the last minute. In order to be saving money, you must be organized. As with most things in life, being prepared is half the job done.
The beginning of the year is a good time to run through your gift calendar, starting out with birthday gifts. Make a list of all your loved ones first, then all the relatives, friends and colleagues you’ll want to present a gift to. Then slot them into your diary, electronic or otherwise, month by month and work out what kind of gift each might want. You’ll find out that most gifts will fall into similar categories, and this will simplify your planning.
Month by month you’ll have a list of gifts by category, so that you can concentrate your shopping and plan it in advance. It’s less complicated than you think, and it’ll be fun to think up all those gifts. By grouping them into categories, you’ll see that making the selection will be easier. And it will also be easier to find good bargains: you’ll be shopping by theme, so that you can have a good long look for the best priced book or necklace or belt.
You can use the same system for other types of gift, with a calendar and categories. After all, most gift occasions are repeated year after year: gifts for school prizes, for hosts on special occasions, for religious ceremonies etc.
With a little bit of thinking, you’ll guess most other occasions which might generate the need for a gift, and plan accordingly. If February is a busy month socially, buy ahead for a nice box of perfumed soaps (for example) to present to the host of a dinner that’s come up at the last moment. If you won’t use it in February, be sure the time will come when you’ll need it.
Planning is ok, but what if you’re really caught out and have to improvise a gift for a host between lunchtime and dinner? A lot depends on whether you know the lady (or the master) of the house’s preferences, or if the occasion has a special theme. But the following are items which are always guaranteed to please and won’t stretch your budget:
– For a lady: a bouquet of flowers (preferably not roses…) or a small potted plant is the best last-minute solution, and generally a thrifty one; just ask the florist for any special significance the flowers you choose may have, to avoid an unwanted faux-pas;
– For a man: cuff-links are a good choice; they can be inexpensive, just buy a classic theme in a neutral colour;
– For either sex: books are by far the easiest last-minute choice: even if you don’t know your host’s literary preferences, ask the bookseller for what’s going at the moment and you’ll be spoilt for choice. And a book is implicitly flattering, as it shows you think the recipient has the brains to read it!
With planning and some good advice, the problem of last-minute gifts is easily solved.
This post is written by Mark Jenkins and he works at CouponAudit as a writer, where thousands of valid and working online coupons are available for different stores. For example you can use Converse promo code, ProFlowers coupons etc. to get discount on your order while shopping on that store.