Saving on Graduation and Wedding Presents

by Cindy Brick

June is a perfect time for weddings — and graduations — and, sadly, an empty pocketbook from paying for presents for all those graduations and weddings! Stretch your money further with these tips:

For graduations

*Give the grad a book that’s changed your own outlook on life. Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success is one of my favorites — and a reminder that practice and persistence are even more crucial than talent. Another favorite is The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. You couldn’t choose a more practical look at earning and saving, from the viewpoint of frugal wealth.

Make the book even more welcome by including a small check, tucked somewhere in the first third. If the check’s cashed, you get a nice boost, knowing that your recipient took the time to look through the book!

*Other good presents for the grad, especially if they’re going on to college or graduate school: rolls of quarters (good for laundry); a Starbucks, Panera or fast food gift card (for cold, rainy days when they’re broke); stylish leather blank books or folders, for journaling and classes; an address book, pre-filled in with family information, plus stationery and a roll of stamps;  a case of their favorite drink or food, if they’re not moving too far away. (Daughter #1 loves mushroom soup, cold out of the can, and was thrilled to get a case to take with her. I know…but she does!) Post-21 grads will appreciate specialty beer or wine. You’ll find more ideas herehere and here. (BeingFrugal, the last contributor, remembers a present her aunt wrapped in dollar bills — what a great idea!)

 

For weddings

*Have you been holding onto a family heirloom that’s important…but not exactly your taste? If your bride-to-be’s taste is in antiques, don’t hesitate to polish that silver platter or set of glasses up and re-gift them — she’ll appreciate their family connection, as well. (Other possibilities — antique quilts, table linens, candlestick holders, etc. Just be sure they like this sort of thing before you gift them.)

*Small appliances are more reasonably priced than ever — especially if you plan ahead, and purchase them during January clearance sales. (Prices aren’t bad now, either — just remember for next year.) A coffee pot (with a pound of their favorite brew), one of those great portable blenders that let you mix right in the glass. Perhaps a toaster or microwave oven. These may seem a tad blasé — but your recipient will think of you whenever they use them.

 

*What about a portable picnic? Baskets are not only often on sale — but you can find them at consignment and thrift shops, as well. Include paper plates and napkins, plastic ware and even a few goblets. (Add the wine and some snacks if your budget permits.)

*Christmas lights…special ones, that is. Or fancy ornaments. (Once again, this is something most easily purchased in January.) Our Christmas tree is famous for its bubble lights…and a number of our friends now have them too.

Whatever you give, remember: it’s not the money that counts — it’s the love.

 

Cindy Brick just counted — and has four high school graduations, four college ones, and a wedding in their circle of family and friends. (Ouch.) She also blogs at her own site, A Brick Looks At Life.

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Cindy Brick

Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria Elena June 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

I would love to receive any small appliance as a wedding gift! A coffee pot would pretty much be the best thing ever. I have a lot of upcoming gifts to buy, thanks for this list.
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Matthew Allen June 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm

An address book pre filled with contact information, stationary and a roll of stamps?! Is it 1992? Haha. I think most grads will do fine with their contacts loaded into their phone and an email account! Other than this archaic advice, this post is very good and loaded with helpful tips.
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Skint in the City June 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

A photo album or frame is another nice, reasonable gift for either a wedding or graduation present. It ties into the special event, giving the celebrant(s)something to put their photos into after the day is done.
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Elaine@mortgagefreeinthree.com June 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

One of our friends was marrying an English man (we are Scots) so we made her a huge hamper of handmade Scottish goodies – including sweets.

On his wedding night she got him hooked on Scots Tablet and now they are moving back home – Yay!!!
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Cindy Brick June 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

These are both great ideas! I remember a birthday when my folks (from Michigan) gave me half a bushel of apples. For a drylands Coloradoan, it was a nice reminder of where I grew up. Food, particularly food that has fond connections, is great. (And I have to confess I don’t know what Scots Tablet is…)

Thanks, both of you, for contributing. Glad you did.
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Crystal June 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Nice suggestions! Going a step further with the address book/stationery/stamp combo gift for a grad, especially if you’re the one who wants to receive letters, how about pre-addressing the envelopes?

On tucking a check in a book – that worries me just a bit. While it provides a fun way to see if the book is read and a nice surprise for the recipient, I’d hate to have the banking info printed on every check fall into the wrong hands were the book lost or given away unread.
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Cindy Brick June 9, 2012 at 1:59 am

Sounds like I’m not the only one, having to come up with presents during this season…thanks, all of you, for contributing.
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Cindy Brick July 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Update on the check-in-the-book idea:
I did this for one young friend’s graduation — the check remains uncashed (smirk), though we did get a nice thank-you note.

And Matthew, I wouldn’t give stamps and an address book to a guy. A girl, on the other hand, would use them, I would think. (My daughters did.)
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