How to Skimp on Wedding Gifts

How to Successfully Skimp on Wedding Gifts…

By Ollie

Weddings can be a pain can’t they? Sure, we wish no harm towards the happy couple. And we’re all for the free booze and food – occasionally the speeches are great too. But you often forget that in return for the opportunity to attend someone else’s special day, you’re required to pay up to $100 on a wedding gift – which can be a bit of a downer.

Today we’re outlining some tactics for reducing the cost of such an occasion and we’re even sub-categorising it so you can see where you fall in the overall cheapness spectrum.

Discreet Tightness

Clearance sales:

If you want to disguise how much you’ve spent on a gift one of the best tactics is to go for high-ticket items that have been severely reduced. A key example might be a top-brand set of pans that clearly show ‘RRP $189’ on the packaging – but you’ve actually picked them up at a steal for $79 from a clearance sale – you might even be able to gift that from two people – score!

Safety in numbers:

The greater the number of people that go in for a gift, the harder it is to track how much each individual spent. So maybe get a group of friends together – just be sure to collect the money in advance from all of them (this is key by the way), then simply buy something accordingly. And remember to save money at the end for a card…

Multi-item gifts:

The more gifts you give in one hit – the harder it is to work out what your grand total of spending was. Maybe a three-pronged attack of a personalised photoframe, voucher and some nice tableware could only set you back about $80, and if you split the costs between a couple this works out even better. So consider the multi-pack gift – more is often less here (from your a financial point of view anyway).


An oldie but a goodie. Sure, you might not have appreciated the hand-knitted rug with your great aunt’s face printed on it – but maybe a couple who have never met her, and are trying to desperately reduce the clutter in their home would appreciate it more? Guys?! … OK, it’s unlikely – so use your common sense on what an acceptable re-gifting present is.

Creative approach:

Sure they may hate this. But if you’re known by your friends as a fairly creative person, they were probably expecting you to rock up with some homemade item that they may or may not want. It’s what a lot of creative types do and this is one of your advantages in life so why not gift them with a photo collage, painted rock or set of clothesline pegs that are dressed up as little people. It’s all good (for you anyway).

Absolute Tightness

Money tree alibi:

We say it’s their fault if they set up a money tree and don’t include envelopes so that people can rightfully state what they’ve contributed towards the couple. So why not make a donation to the tree in the vicinity of $20? You’re still contributing, right? …Right guys? (And yes, we’re starting to feel a little bit like that main guy from House of Cards by exploring this line of tactics, and yes, we’re starting to feel totes awkes about it). We will say though that for your own peace of mind you should donate roughly according to how well you know the couple.

Wedding card signing:

Stumbled upon the wedding gift cart with all the gifts and some unsealed cards included? Well this is your moment to shine! If you’re going to go down this fairly rogue path, we recommend including yourself on a card of people that are more or less in the same group as you. Should they get a signed card from their great Aunt & Uncle that has your smudged, illegible message that happens to be written in a different colour ink – this does not fare well for anyone. So be careful out there, special agent tightness.

Group gift organisation:

Similar to the ‘Safety in Numbers’ idea above – except this time you let the group absorb your costs completely by asking for money up front, then buying accordingly. You even get front-and-centre positioning with your written message in the card. If you’re extremely low on funds this is a winner and you can even justify it by telling yourself you played the project manager role that no one else was prepared to do, so you’re just taking your salary.

Common Challenges

“We would prefer money gifts and not material possessions”

This is starting to be a common request of couples on their wedding day and we feel that they themselves realise how cheeky this request is, which is why it’s often said in a cryptic poem or something similar on the invitations. But don’t be disheartened. Money is too impersonal – that’s your belief and that’s why you got them a severely discounted gift of bedsheets or kitchenware which they may or may not need and which may or may not just add to the clutter of their rapidly dissolving homes… It’s your God-given right, dammit!

“Here are the details to our gift registry”

Ok, the race is on here. We recommend getting in not immediately as it’ll be obvious how much you’ve spent. But don’t get in too late either so that all the small-ticket items are taken. It’ll give you more satisfaction to pay for something outright, such as a $50 kettle – rather than contributing to 13.7566% of a fridge. And you might even find two small-ticket items such as a placemat set, pack of drinking tumblers, towels ect that will still keep you under budget – and two gifts are better than one, right?

“Here are our bank details for you to send through funds for our big day”

Are they serious? Well we’re not going to justify this one with a response. Just don’t do it – or if you are, transfer slightly less than what you would have been comfortable spending on a present outright. We feel this is the best way to handle such a request – otherwise any of the tactics outlined in ‘Absolute Tightness’ will suffice.

So there you have it. Of course, if you’d like to go with the whole cost-effective homeware gift, we can certainly help you out in that department. And sorry if this blog post is perceived as being too anti-wedding in its approach. We’re all in favour of people celebrating their big day but we also want to see your dollar go further – call it an occupational hazard of ours.

Good luck out there!

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