Monday, 28 September 2015

How To: Buy Gifts On A Budget

Alongside travel, for us long distance couples, gift buying can be one of the hardest things to budget. Especially if you’re an international couple and you’re trying to save money for visits or closing the distance.

With gifts, you have to think about a range of things. Is the postage going to be expensive to send from one country to the other? Is it too big or too small to send in the mail? Is it going to arrive on time? Is it a restricted or prohibited item? Etc. That’s why in a long distance relationship, you generally have to plan gift buying weeks - maybe months - in advance.

I’ve come up with some pointers on how I go about gift buying when it comes to a special milestone in our relationship - whether it’s an anniversary, birthday or a special holiday like Christmas or Valentines Day.


STICKING TO YOUR BUDGET

There’s no use having a budget if you’re just going to end up splashing out and going over it anyway. Decide on what you can realistically spend on your SO and then stick to it, ideally a few weeks before hand. Of course, if it’s just a few pounds either side of your budget it shouldn’t make much difference. For example, if like me your budget is under £20 due to finances and you find the perfect gift that’s about £2 over your budget, then it won’t hurt your bank account too much. But just be aware, that £2 could’ve gone towards postage.

Make sure to also have a budget for postage. It’s best to work out what the postage could effectively cost before buying a gift, that way there’s no surprises in store for you when you are at the post office and find yourself not having enough money when attempting to send it.

I recommend using sites like Etsy to find personalised gifts for decent prices. When buying gifts, I will usually find Davy’s gifts on Not On The High Street whereas he will buy my gifts on Bol.com, which is basically the Dutch’s equivalent to Amazon. Always utilise a website’s price slider, so you don’t get tempted by shiny gifts that are far out of your price range and always filter products lowest to high.

GO SMALL OR LARGE?

Personally, I find small, thoughtful gifts more appealing than shiny expensive ones. I appreciate the thought behind the gifts.

Usually Davy buys me books that I’m interested in and there’s nothing more romantic than your love knowing what your taste in books is like right down to a T. Unfortunately, books come in all shapes and sizes so it can sometimes be difficult finding books that aren’t too big. That’s why when Davy buys books for me, he makes sure that they’re in paperback format or small enough to go into his luggage if he is bringing them over.

I try to buy gifts that relate to our relationship. The first time I bought him a gift was his birthday in 2013 (couldn’t afford to the year before that). I bought him a personalised keyring of a picture of us, which was taken on our second visit of April 2013, and a small message on the back. He has that keyring on him every time he goes out so there’s always a reminder of us with him.

The problem with large gifts is that the postage can be horrendously expensive. What may seem like a bargain can make you go horribly over-budget with the cost of how much it will cost sending it. Not to mention that some countries require the recipient to pay custom charges in order to receive the gift so just be wary of you and your SO’s countries postage fees. It will save both of you some money for the long term. Don’t forget to check what goods are restricted and prohibited too through their website.

FUSSING ABOUT THE PERFECT GIFT

We’re all guilty of this. Fussing, worrying and possibly even panicking over what to get for our other halves. But you needn’t! Regardless of your time frame or deadline to get the gift, you can and will find the perfect gift!

As people, we always tend to repeatedly ask our SO’s what they would like for their birthday, our anniversary and for Christmas etc and only to be told they don’t know or they don’t mind. It leaves us frustrated and feeling helpless! But it really isn’t that bad. The fact that they don’t know what they want or that they don’t mind, literally leaves all the creative freedom of choosing the gift to us! And that’s a good thing.

Why? Because it means regardless of what you buy your SO, as long as you’ve put thought into it - chances are your SO is bound to love it! Simply because it’s from you and they know how much effort has gone into it. If you’re stomped for gift ideas, we posted an article about this last year for our three year anniversary! Check them out and you may be even able to stick to your budget whilst being able to give a personalised gift straight from your heart!

Now we want you to tell us about your tips and tricks for buying gifts for loved ones. When searching for a gift for your SO, do you follow a strict budget? How do you make sure you stick to it and do you include your postage into your budget? Or maybe you even have some very special places you use to ensure you get the best possible gift! We’d love to know how you shop for your SO, so please leave them in the comments. It might even help a fellow long distance couple in the future sometime when they’re feeling stuck! <3


POSTED BY DAVY AND JANEY
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