How to Buy the Right Gift

Gift Choosing Tips

Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday or some other special occasion, it’s always important to know how to buy the right gift. Pick the perfect item, and friends and family will remember it for years. At the same time, they’ll also remember that crappy gift you bought them over a decade ago.

The tips below should tell you everything you need to know to buy the right gift. It’ll make your life a lot easier, and hopefully you’ll also receive some cool gifts in return.

Don’t Procrastinate

The longer you wait, the less options you’ll have when it comes to buying a gift (especially around the holidays). A good tip is to mark all gift-giving dates on your calendar. Then try to pick out an appropriate gift at least a month in advance. If you order online, be sure and allow plenty of time for the gift to arrive in the mail.

Keep Your Eyes And Ears Open

Throughout the year, people may unknowingly give hints as to something they want or need. It’s up to you to pick up on these clues. I suggest buying a small notebook. Each time you hear someone mention a great gift idea, write it down when you get back home. When it’s time to buy them a gift, the hard part will already be over.

You might also mention the item again in a conversation before purchasing it (especially if it was brought to your attention months ago). This will prevent you from buying them something that they purchased a few weeks ago. Just remember to be subtle about it.

Ask Questions

There’s nothing wrong with asking someone, “Is there anything you would really like for your birthday/anniversary/Christmas present?” Hopefully, they can quickly provide you with a number of items they want or need. There’s nothing more rewarding than getting someone a gift they’ll actually use.

And don’t forget about their friends or family. If you want to be a little more sneaky about it, try asking people close to them for gift advice.

Gift Certificate

If you’re having a hard time deciding what to buy, remember that gift certificates are always an option. Just be sure the gift certificate is from a store that the recipient might actually be interested in shopping at.

Some people may view gift certificates as an easy out, but you’re at least letting the recipient get something they truly want. It‘s great if you can come up with something better, but gift certificates are a decent fallback position for the frustrated gift-giver.

Don’t Spend Too Much

If you’re buying a present for someone you don’t know well, be careful not to spend too much money. You risk making the person feel bad because they didn’t spend as much money on you, or they might come to expect a similarly lavish gift each year. For many people, a simple gift with special significance means just as much as something expensive.

Make a Gift List

If you’re really serious about how to buy the right gift, I would suggest keeping a gift list. It’s simple to do; just include the following information:

1. Name of each person you expect to buy a gift for this year.
2. The age of the recipient.
3. The amount of money you’re willing to spend on their gift.
4. List the yearly events for which you’ll buy them a present (birthday, Christmas, etc.).
5. Next to their name, make a short list of hobbies and interests. If all else fails, you’ll have a few ideas to work with.

Don’t Insult The Recipient

Avoid getting them gifts like fitness equipment, diet books and acne treatment programs. While your heart is no doubt in the right place, many people would be insulted by being reminded of their imperfections. What’s considered insulting will vary from individual to individual, but it should just be a matter of common sense.

Don’t Buy Something For Yourself

When looking for the perfect gift, never buy the person something that you actually want. If you want to go to a NASCAR event, don’t buy your wife tickets unless she’s a really big fan. Otherwise, it just comes off as rude and inconsiderate. Special events only come around so often; don’t ruin them by thinking only of yourself.

For more information about buying the right gift, see:

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