Friday, 27 July 2012

Weekend Warrior: Last Minute Gift Ideas

Although not strictly a personal finance post this post will follow on from the 'how much do I need to spend on a gift' post that I did a few weeks ago.  Note I am writing this post for those people who are really busy (either because of their career or hobbies or because they are setting up their business while working at the same time) and tend to forget presents that they need to buy for partners, relatives and friends.

I have categories these last minute present ideas into cost categories - hopefully this will help others out there who like me tend to be quite time poor with limited ideas or imagination for gifts.

Expensive gifts ($50 - $200)The problem with buying gifts where you need to spend a bit of money is that there is the expectation that you will have put a lot of thought into it and that the present will be 'suitable' for the person you are buying it for
  • My 'catch all' suggestion in this category is to visit an 'experience' type website (for Australians is a great place to buy last minute experiences). 
  • Because the experiences tend to be out of the ordinary people love receiving them and the perception is that you have put time and effort into choosing the gift
Medium range gifts ($20 - $50)
This is the category where it is probably easiest to get away with a last minute gift as there are lots of things within this price range which you can pick up almost anywhere including:
  • A nice bottle of wine
  • For men you can buy cuff links at almost any menswear store
  • Decent perfumes / colognes
    • I don't know if the phenomenon is happening everywhere but in Australia in recent years you can a lot of really expensive perfumes and colognes for very reasonable prices from the chemist (I believe they are called drug stores in the US)
    • Spend your money wisely - don't go to a high end retailer and pay double or even triple for exactly the same product
  • Flowers / chocolates
    • Note these are quite cliche these days but occasionally the situation warrants it
    • If you are going to buy chocolates buy specialty store ones (and not regular supermarket brands) - you will pay a bit more but the perceived value is so much higher
Cheap gifts ($0 - $20)
The problem at this price level is that for most last minute gifts you are going to look pretty cheap.
  • At this price point effective gifts are ones that are highly personalised
  • If you can find some arty products or something old but not expensive then you can often get away with not spending a lot.
  • Ideas can include
    • For those who love reading, first editions which can be picked up cheap from second hand stores (note that if you are buying first editions second hand is expected and not perceived as cheap)
    • For those who like music if you buy a collection of old vinyl records they look GREAT as a present (and once again don't look cheap).  Vinyl records are a funny thing - even if the person does not have a record player they are a great decorative gift
  • If you have no idea go for something quirky and different that you would like.  Again if it is different then the perceived value lies not in the price of the object but in its quirky and alternative value.

No comments:

Post a Comment