June 28, 2015

Pre-Buying Gifts - Frugal or Not?

Whenever I go shopping, I always check the clearance section of whatever store I am at.  I do this even when I'm ordering something online.  I find some amazing deals to set aside for gifts.  The problem is about 50% of the time I forget that I already purchased a gift for someone and then end up finding them later after purchasing another gift for that person.

My great-nephews first birthday is today. His Gift:

  • A really cute dress up outfit including corduroy pants, a long sleeve dress shirt and a mickey mouse vest, size 18 months.  - $3 (90% off regular price)
  • 2 super hero board books from Ollies using a 15% off coupon -  $3

Problem with this gift?  Well, today I just found out my great-nephew is already wearing 18 months.  So will the outfit still fit him in a few months when it starts to get cooler out and he could actually wear the outfit?  Since we only spent $6 on this gift, I told Mr. R to go ahead and stop on the way to the party and pick out something else to go with the gift as long as it's $10 or less.

Then when I was pulling out the gifts for today I found a bag of gifts that I forgot to hand out:

  • A bag of black jelly beans (my mom's favorite kind) I bought on clearance for $.50 to add to my mom's Mother's Day Gift 
  • A container that looked like a beer keg of sweet and salty peanuts that I purchased for Mr. R's Father's Day Gift - $3.88
  • A necklace that Mr. R bought for our niece for her birthday - $2
None of these gifts were expensive but still we forgot to use them so we might as well have saved the money.  I ended up giving Mr. R the peanuts and told him to hand out the rest of the gifts today when he saw everyone. 

I probably won't stop pre-buying gifts.  I can't pass up good deals even when they turn out not to be such good deals when I forget to use them.  I just need to be a bit more organized.

My solution: Start a gift spread sheet to keep track of everything I've purchased.  That way I at least can do a quick check before an event to see if I've already got the gifts purchased or if I need to pick something up.  I'll keep this on my phone so that it will be with me at all times when I'm out shopping.


  1. When I was heavily into pre-buying gifts(now that most family has passed or older and the kids are mostly grown I don't do this as much)I kept everything in a box in my closet(and another box under the bed when it all wouldn't fit in the closet box)marked "gifts". I didn't worry about spreadsheets and such as a quick look in there told me what I had on hand already.
    But that being said, I have forgotten gifts bought ahead over the years....not much but it happens.

    I'd suggest not pre-buying clothing in the future unless it's something the recipient can wear during any season....or if the possible recipient has stopped growing(is an adult).
    Having something in hand(paper or on the phone)to remind you when shopping what you already have is a GREAT idea!

    1. Keeping everything in one place would help. Right now I have 3 different places where I store pre-bought gifts. Silly me. I don't usually forget unless it's something I buy more than a month or two in advance.

      From now on if I find a cute outfit for a great price for either of our great-nephews (the only babies in the family right now), I'm just going to buy it and give it to their mom right away instead of saving it for a birthday or Christmas. Our niece has 2 boys about 10 months apart so I know the outfits will get worn at some point.