Let's talk. Where do you go a bit overboard? Where do you tend to spend a tad more than you should? For some, it's clothes. Others have a weakness for shoes. Still others can't pass up a fabulous pair of sunglasses or a cupcake store. The one place where I tend to overspend? Gifts (actually it isn't the only thing I overspend on -- any time I step into a bookstore, my bank account dwindles considerably). But, back to the whole gifts overspending. I don't know what it is, but I end up going $10 or $20 over what I had planned to spend. The giftees in my world don't think this trait is necessarily a bad thing, and I'm fairly certain they love their presents, but this gift overspending definitely isn't the best for my wallet. That's why I made a list of fabulous, yet thrifty "go-to" gifts.
You know, go-to gifts...gifts I can always go to that are 1) priced right and 2) sure to please just about anyone. It takes me out of the process of shopping and searching, which often leads to buying more than just that gift that I already spent too much on. The list of go-to gifts helps me stay thrifty, save money and time. So, what's on my go-to gift list?
For the birthday kid
Kiddo goes to at least 23 birthday parties a year, so we end up buying a lot of gifts for kids. As a parent, I know the last thing that other mom needs is a box of more little plastic toys that get played with once, which is why I usually opt for activity books or games. My faves lately: the how to draw almost anything book by Ed Emberley, as well as his fingerprint drawing book are uber-winners (and cost less than $7). As far as games: forget the board games, go for fun card games, like Phase 10 (also under $7). Match any of these with a funky key chain for the birthday boy or girl's backpack, and you have a pretty awesome gift for under $10.
For the new baby
I had a span of a few months when new little wee ones were popping out left and right -- cousins, friends, workfolks all were giving birth. What's more fun than shopping for a baby, right? Though small, the baby clothes and gadgets and gear often have a large price tag. I forgo the onesies and stuffed animals, and head right to the bookstore to start off that kiddie home library with some board books. With so many awesome titles for under $4, you can snag quite a few. My other baby go-tos: this set of blocks as well as this floor/crib mirror, both of which are fabulous for the mind of the growing tot and for the wallet (under $10!).
For the hostess
Candles? She has a bunch already. Flowers? They keel over after a day or two. What to bring next time you are over at the hostess with the mostess's home for a cocktail party or when you've been invited to stay for the weekend at your cousin's beach house? Since the recipient obviously loves entertaining, give her something she can use when she has guests (like you) over. For under $20, you can snag The Corkcicle, which keeps wine chilled without a big ice bucket or a variety of chic or funny cocktail napkins (you know she'll use them!). Another idea: these bamboo tongs to save her fingers from getting burnt as she turns items over in the oven or toaster. Pair it with a lovely tea towel or two and wrap it up in a lovely bow. Done and done for less than $20.
What do you often overspend on? Share your best go-to gifts under $20!