Frugality runs in my family. My sister, also pretty frugal, reads my blog frequently and often calls me up, saying "Penny, you know, you should write about x." Or "Penny, why haven't you ever written about y?" The other day, my big sis called me up and said "Penny, you should write a post about gifting frugally for weddings."
Me? Write about that? That's not in my circle of reference. I go to weddings rarely. Maybe once every year or so? I live in a community of married couples and my social circle involves mostly my local pals. Not many singles here getting married.
My sister, on the other hand, is in college, and there are people getting married left and right. Weddings for her are a frequent occurrence, and she's managed to make sure that she gets a good gift for the bride and groom yet still manages to stay within her very tight budget.
And now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce my sister, Sister Penniless. Show us what you've got!
I started giving gifts that, while not of a high monetary value, were often treasured as one of the best gifts bride and groom have ever received. Here is a list of some gifts that I or friends of mine have given that didn't cost much, but were greatly appreciated by the bride and groom.
A friend of mine from college got married halfway through the semester and missed a week of school. Knowing that one can often feel overwhelmed and unable to concentrate in the weeks before the wedding, I decided that instead of a gift, I'd do something special for her. I tracked down students who took classes with her and photocopied their notes from the entire semester until the day she returned from her wedding break. I organized all of those notes in a binder by class and handed it to her on her first day back. She was thrilled by this gift.
A personalized homemade cook book. Write down your favorite recipes. Call up family members of the newlyweds and ask what their favorite foods are and add those recipes to it. This can be done in one of two ways- scrap book form, always a fun read with anecdotes of stories related to those recipes. My preference is to put write the recipes on index cards and put them in a photo album. This cookbook will be used in the kitchen, water resistant pages is ideal to prevent the cookbook from getting destroyed from spills.
A scrapbook. A close friend of mine gathers pictures of the entire high-school class with the bride/groom. Every page had a picture of the bride/groom with the classmate, and amusing anecdote about the two, plus updated contact information for that person. This does not only need to be done with a high school, but can also be done with a youth group, book club, forum friends, or members of one's congregation.
If you knows how to embroider or sew, you can take a large piece of cloth and cut it into cloth napkins. Once the edges are hemmed (you can also buy plain cloth napkins and skip this step), you embroider the couples last name onto each napkin. Another idea on the same note, was a gift we received and enjoyed very much. Two bath towels and two bath robes (one blue and one pink) with our names
embroidered on them. If you knows how to embroider, you can do it on your own without needing to pay someone to do it for you.
Often times, when getting married the newly weds couple will move into a new apartment. Before moving in, they hire a cleaning crew to scrub it from top to bottom. Offer to be that cleaning crew, and save them the cost of having to hire one.
When my husband's grandmother passed away, we inherited her antique dining room table and credenza. We already had a nice credenza and table in good condition, but with our new inheritence, we no longer had a need for our old furniture. I had a busy schedule at the time and did not want to have to deal with the hassles of selling it, having people look at it and reject it, then try to find another buyer… Throw away perfectly good furniture was also distateful to me. I called two friends of mine who were getting married in the upcoming months, and told them that if they arranged for transportation to their respective homes, they could have the furniture for free. This saved them the outlay to purchase this furniture on their own. You can also do this when downsizing apartments and getting rid of furniture.
Last but not least, there is the most common frugal gift- reusing old gifts. While many people will say 'always remember not to give it to the person who gave it to you,' I believe, in order to not hurt any feelings, additional precautions should be taken. When receivinggifts, keep a list of the givers for the future of what is from who. If you are someone, who has a tendency to lose lists, you can tape little notes on the gift to remind you of the identity of the gifter.Attempt to re-gift to a different circle of friends. If the gift was received rom relatives, pass it on to a high school classmate, etc.
I gave a close friend of mine a very nice wine set as a wedding gift. A year or two later, I went to a common mentor of ours for the weekend. The family was in the process of unwrapping a gift from the aforementioned friend. It was the exact wine set that I had given her as a wedding present! In retrospect I realized that my friend did not often entertain and really had no use for a wine set, while my mentor's family were leaders of the community and entertained often. Still it was a shock to see the gift being unwrapped. To avoid any embarrassment, regift only in different circles.
When wedding season comes around, one doesn't always have to dish out a fortune to pay for all the gifts, nor do you have to decline an invitation to a wedding because you cannot afford to buy the couple a gift. With these tips you can ensure that your friends will enjoy your unique gift, without your bank account complaining.
How frequently do you go to weddings? What is the standard wedding gift that you give? What was the best wedding gift you received?