Tuesday, June 10, 2008

“Here Comes The Bride,” Wanting Her Loot.

Come on, admit it. The gifts are the best part of the whole wedding. Next to the dress, of course.

Tip Of The Day: Live, from Eden Prairie, it’s Fox 9 News at 5! And I’m going to be LIVE on the air today, talking with either Jeff or Robyne about inexpensive wedding gift ideas. Pray I don’t accidently swear or burp or something.

Tip For Tomorrow: After many many many reader recommendations, not to mention one from my hair stylist, I’m buying a Ped-Egg. My review for this as-see-on-TV product will be posted forthwith. Or at least, forthwith tomorrow. Which really isn’t forthwith. Whatever.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: About six years ago, it seemed as if I was going to a wedding every other week for the entire summer/fall. I was even in two of those weddings – which means not only did I have to get a gift, it had to be a Good Gift AND I had to buy some bridesmaid dresses. One in purple, one in gold. I still want to mix and match them and wear them to a Vikings game.

I sort of went broke that year, buying gifts and clothes and whatnot for weddings that WEREN’T MINE. NOT THAT I’M BITTER. And I had a great time at all the receptions, for sure. My peeps know how to party. But part of me was thinking to myself, “Self, there has to be a cheaper way.” And there is. I just didn’t think of it until years later.

But hey! You get to benefit from my delayed knowledge! Lucky, lucky you.

So here they are, my top 3 inexpensive wedding gift ideas, preceded by The Number One Rule For Saving Money On Everything.

Number One Rule, According to The Cheap Chick: To save money, you have to spend time. Also? Do your research. The days of picking up a quick $50-$100 gift card to Target are OVER, bucky.

1. Gift Idea One: Give the gift of your time and services. Usually when “experts” offer up this idea, they’re talking about a service for the wedding, like playing an instrument or singing for the service/reception, baking the cake, taking the photographs, etc.
But what if your mad skillz are in other areas? For example:
a. If you are a Home Repair Professional (plumber, electrician, general handyperson), provide your services to the happy couple for FREE for one full year. It’s like your own personalized home warranty, without the deductible.
b. If you are a Lawyer (okay, you’re probably rich and can afford anything, but still), offer to draft their new, joint will.
c. If you are a Home Stager, combine the two households into one new, stylish home.
d. If you are a Scrap-Booker, or just really Crafty, put together their wedding albums.
e. If you are a Computer Guru, give the newlyweds an upgrade. Go through all their electrical doo-dads and maximize their capacity/potential/memory/etc. Get rid of the junk clogging their hard drives. In short, make their stuff work better. A free tutorial might be good, too.
f. If you are a No-Talent Slacker, like me, offer to stamp, address and mail ALL of their thank you cards. However, the couple still has to write the message on the inside themselves. That’s only polite, after all.

2. Gift Idea Two: Give the gift of abundance. You know what’s luxurious? Having a TON of something, like cleaning supplies or shower products, so you don’t have to worry about that stuff running out. AND you don’t have to spend cash money to replenish your supply, because it’s already been… plenished.
a. A year’s supply of AA batteries, and a battery charger. No more worrying about the juice running out of the remote control or digital camera.
b. New energy-efficient light bulbs in every light fixture of their house. No more worrying about buying light bulbs for 5 YEARS.
c. A year’s supply of cleaning supplies, for every room in the house. No more worrying about the supplies… but now begins the battle of who is going to use them. Who cleans the house in your marriage, folks?
d. Gift experts always recommend giving a basket with spaghetti sauce, noodles, and a bottle of wine and candle or some such crap. I say give the newbies a massive stockpile of their favorite dried pasta and bottled sauce – voila! Dinner for months, especially if their cooking acumen is on par with mine. That is to say, Very Bad.
e. A year’s supply (or more) of the couple’s favorite snack or beverage. I would love a freezer full of Totino’s Party Pizzas and a closet full of cheese popcorn. That would ROCK.

3. Gift Idea Three: Work the registry. Some folks insist that you Stick To The Registry. You know the type.
a. Go in on a BIG gift with 10 or more people – friends or family or both. Often times you can get the cost per person down to just $20 each. Not bad, and the happy couple gets one of their big gifts, sans guilt.
b. Buy off the registry for the whole year. Get them a small wedding gift, then their birthday gifts, then their Christmas gifts, all from the wedding registry - they don’t expire, you know. WARNING: this only works if the couple’s gift registry is so big, or so expensive, there’s no WAY they’ll get everything they asked for by the wedding’s end.
c. If all else fails, get your hands on the registry first, before any of the other guests see it. You may have to help the bride send out the invitations, but still. Then, buy up all the inexpensive gifts first, before someone beats you to it.
Sneaky? Yes – but all is fair in love and war and weddings.


Robin H. said...

I'm not normally snobby, but when I was opening my wedding gifts (23 years ago), there was one gift where I turned up my nose: a plastic hand broom and sweep into pan. Shame on me for being a snot. Needless to say, this gift was a cheap gift to give. But 23 years later, guess what gift I still use all the time? Crystal bowls, nope. Fancy wine glasses, broken. Money gifts more than long gone. That's right, my little hand broom and pan is a survivor. It serves as a humbling reminder of what really is important in life (and you don't have to spend a lot of money for it)!

LARue said...

I think your ideas are really good. But then again, we had a rather lengthy phone conversation about this as well.

You KNOW how I feel about the "Wine Gift Basket for 2." Damn useless champagne flutes.

Anonymous said...

Best wedding gift the standing stills received? Krups coffee grinder. Almost 19 years later and that thing hasn't failed us yet.