How to save on wedding gifts

Wedding Gifts: How Much to Spend on Them

It's that time of year again. Does it seem like all of your friends are taking the plunge and saying "I do"? Well, it's wedding season! And though it can be a fun and joyous time (I mean, who doesn't love free booze, buffets and the chicken dance?), it can also be a very expensive time if you're trying to keep up with the Jones' when it comes to gift giving.

The average wedding gift is between $50 and $150 and that can add up if you're going to more than one wedding this season. By all means, if it's your best friend since 2nd grade who's walking down the aisle and you're joining her at the altar, splurge as much you'd like. However, if it's the third wedding you've been to this summer, your second cousin from three states over won't like you any less if you don't give them pricey crystal stemware. The key to cheap gift giving is for it to be inexpensive but also thoughtful. Try one of the gifts below instead of the priciest item on the registry:

First Anniversary Gifts

There's nothing more special than showing the happy couple you're thinking about their future together. A first anniversary gift can be as simple as a bottle of champagne. Ask for assistance at your local liquor and wine store by telling them you want a nice bottle of champagne but under $30. Add some shiny ribbon and a nice card telling the couple to pop open the bubbly on their first anniversary and not a moment sooner! Not only will they love it but they'll remember your thoughtful gift again a year down the line.

A Keepsake

Are you going to be a bridesmaid or groomsman this year? You'll probably spend a pretty penny on festivities and attire before the wedding day even arrives, so keep your gift cheap. Take candid photos of the bride or groom during all of their pre-wedding festivities (dress shopping, suit fittings, bridal shower, bachelor party, reception dinner and all the rest) and be sure to get some posed shots with their favorite people, as well. You can create a wedding scrapbook online for as little as $25 on sites like and

Personalize as you see fit by using their wedding colors, creating a monogram cover and more. Another option is browsing Etsy for customized photo gifts; just be sure to leave enough time for shipping. It will be a gift they'll cherish for a lifetime, and they'll also be touched by the effort you put into it.

Holiday Décor

Gifts for the home are a dime a dozen but many people don't remember all those holidays that the couple will likely switch up their home décor. Give them a head start, with a custom Our First Christmas (or holiday of their choosing) wreath, ornaments or stockings. Perhaps a custom Thanksgiving platter with their last name would be fitting. Get as creative as you like. You'll find many DIY ideas on Pinterest or purchase custom items from Etsy. Either way you go, you won't have to spend more than $30. The more effort and creativity you put in yourself, then the more you can lower the cost.

Post-Honeymoon Meals

The return back to real life after a couples' getaway can be rough. Make their transition easier by taking the meal prep off of their hands for a period of time. You can create a few freezer meals for little cost, especially if you know your way around the kitchen, or have access to a great recipe book (or just visit Think chicken enchiladas, jarred pasta sauces and pasta or casseroles. No matter what you make, your efforts will ensure that they're not coming home to the much-dreaded empty refrigerator and an immediate trip to the grocery store!

Wedding gifts should be fun and memorable. Pick items that will take their stress away, make them smile or bring them back to their special day. You don't have to spend a fortune to please the newlyweds, after all, since they already received the greatest gift of all... each other!

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

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How to save on wedding gifts


Gym or yoga studio memberships can become insanely costly. Giving up the expense, though, doesn’t mean you have to give up your workout routine. Check out for workouts that you can do at home via YouTube.

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Many people spend a ton of money on personal care. Although getting manicures, pedicures, massages and haircuts can be a relaxing way to feel pampered, these things are sucking up money that could be spent on travel. Besides, when you are backpacking through South America or sleeping in European hostels, you won’t have access to all of your usual comforts. Why not stop now?

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How about embracing cooking as a new hobby? You will simultaneously be eating healthier, saving money on take-out and maybe even exercising your creative side. Following food blogs is a great, inexpensive way to find recipes and inspiration. One of my favorites,, factors cost into the equation too.

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Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO and others end up tacking extra costs onto your monthly bills. Even Kindle, while it may be convenient for when you are traveling, can make buying books and apps all too easy. Consider using your local library to check out books as well as DVDs. Most offer an extensive collection that will help you save over the course of the year.

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If it seems impossible for you to give up some things, or if you’re still in need of extra cash, look for a job where you can make some money without a huge commitment. Babysitting and nanny services connect caretakers with clients and aren’t just for people looking for full-timework. Catering companies are another great option since they always need servers and usually schedule staff on a week-to-week basis.

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No, this Mint won’t print more money for you to spend on a trip to Bali, but it will help you keep track of your spending. The app allows you to create a budget and set specific savings goals, making it easier to hold yourself accountable for saving that extra cash.

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