Ah, you've finally reached that fun age where you're hitting the wedding circuit super hard and your savings are sadly taking a hard hit as a result. Welcome to adulthood, y'all! Life is expensive and so are weddings, yep, even if you are just a guest at them. While you don't want to be that friend who shows up empty-handed (or, you know, never sends something in the mail), you do want to be smart about how you spend your money, which means saving wherever you can. So without further adieu, here are our favorite savvy ways to save on wedding gifts.
1. Try the gift by association trick
One thrifty way to buy the couple something they want without blowing your budget or looking cheap is to choose an item off the registry that is about two thirds worth the amount you'd like to spend and then use what's left to buy smaller, accompanying items that go with it, advises Kristen Ley Green, owner of Something New for I Do. "Some of the gifts we loved most from our own wedding were gifted by association," she says. "Along with the glass rolling pin I registered for, we also got some beautiful measuring cups and baking accessories from Anthropologie."
2. Don't wait until the last minute
As soon as you know where the couple is registered, log online or hit up the store and pick out a wedding present to purchase stat, suggests consumer finance expert Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations with Freedom Financial Network. "Shopping early not only assures the best selection, but one that fits your budget too." Otherwise, you might find yourself overspending or having to go off registry just to get something at the right price point.
3. Offer your services
Think outside the gift box and consider what talents or services you can offer, instructs Jon Lal, founder and CEO of BeFrugal. "If you're savvy on the web, offer to design the couple's wedding website or if you have special skills with video editing, propose to make a slideshow for viewing at the reception."
4. Do a little comparison-shopping
Who says you have to purchase your present straight off the registry? Browse it first to find something you'd like to gift, such as an appliance that many stores would carry, then try searching for the same product at a lower price on other websites, recommends Gallegos. "If you buy your gift this way, do contact the store where the couple registered ASAP and ask them to make a note that the item has already been purchased." This way, you save and the couple doesn't receive a duplicate.
If you're attending the wedding with other friends or family members, see if they might be interested in pitching in on one large gift off the engaged couple's registry, advises Lal. "This way they're receiving a bigger wish list item (that would otherwise likely go unbought) while you save money by spending a little less."
6. Cash in on credit card reward points
Okay, you're not exactly saving per say, but it does feel like free money because, well, it kind of is! If your card offers these rewards, do a quick check to see what your balance is, offers Gallegos. Be it big or small, you can redeem those points for cash to use toward a wedding gift purchase.