If you are anything like me, you buy gifts all year round and put them away for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas in a bid to keep costs down. When you see something for someone (especially the people who are most difficult to buy for) it makes sense to get it there and then doesn’t it? Well, actually- no. While I have adopted this rule for years, I'm here to tell you why I have changed my ways and why you might want to rethink things too.
It takes up space: The number one issue I have with a gifting drawer or box is that it takes up valuable space in your home- and all year round too! It’s never empty because there is always someone to buy for so it’s always going to encroach on an area you could be using for something else. Imagine it was suddenly empty- what could you do with that space? Use it for valuable storage? Remove the chest of drawers/box/wardrobe altogether and do something else entirely with the room? Would that alternative be more fulfilling than a present dumping ground? Probably.
You will end up spending more money in the long run: While you have probably done this as part of a money saving strategy for your home and income, you will end up spending more than you intended. Why? Because the money you have invested in those items has already been and gone so you don’t feel the financial hit from the purchases in the same moment you are looking to buy something else. And what is one more gift right?! If you aren’t convinced, try making a note of the cost of everything in that gifting area and you will be surprised by how much the little bits and pieces mount up.
You will forget what you already have: If you don’t clearly mark what is for who or make a note of it, you will probably forget what you have already bought for people. If your gift receptacle is big enough, you won’t be able to see everything in one glance so the chances of this happening are quite high if you have presents stacked on top of presents. Plus, if you don’t take your list with you when you are out and about shopping, you’re even more likely to buy extras that will send you over your budget.
People’s preferences change: If you buy something for someone in January for Christmas, chances are they won’t be into whatever it is several months down the line or they may have purchased the same thing for themselves. They will have moved on or circumstances might have changed meaning they don’t want it or need it anymore. If you ask the people you buy for (or their parents) what they really want nearer the time, you can guarantee that the gift will be accepted with gratitude and most importantly will be used.
You might not be expected to buy for certain people anymore: With the rising cost of everything, some people are choosing to cut back on those they have bought for in the past or at the very least reduce their gifting budgets. Never presume anything, especially when the cost of living is going up all the time. The money is better in your pocket than in the form of gifts you can no longer give out.
You are constantly in gift buying mode: If you purchase items all year round that means you are actively shopping every day of the year. Who needs that in their life when there are so many other great things you could be spending that time on? Stop shopping and start living!
No surprises: It’s highly likely that your parents, partner and or children will know where you keep your stash, making it a temptation for them to go and have a peek at what you have bought and intend to give. This can easily ruin a surprise for those you live with if you’re buying them well before you need to.
So what’s the alternative?
- Have a monthly budget you intend to put away for gifting and keep it as cash so if there are any changes of heart on your side or the receiver’s, you haven't wasted your money.
- Ask whoever you are buying for what they really want as close to their celebration as possible so you know you are catering for their desires at the time, not the person they were months ago.
- If you do have any ideas for people, write them down so if they are still relevant at the time, you can buy whatever it is with the confidence that it is a good fit.
- Set up an Amazon wishlist- save anything you think is suitable and then review near the celebration. I have done this and more often than not I have deleted what I was intending to buy anyway.