Money-Saving Tips: How to Regift Successfully

sadsantaLet’s face it:  With the holiday shopping period upon us, ’tis the season not only to be jolly, but to be creative and frugal, too.  The number of millionaires and billionaires in the U.S. may be rising, but unless you’re part of the Fortunate 3,500,000 (in the U.S.) or the Ridiculously Fortunate 2,170 (globally), you probably need to make a holiday budget — and stick to it.  One sure way to stretch your budget is to regift items you’ve accumulated but never used over the years.  Here are a few tips on how to regift successfully this holiday season.

(And if you’re worried about perceptions, don’t be:  Emily Post, etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, and a vast majority of consumers consider regifting acceptable, provided it’s done properly.)

Only regift brand-new items.  Be sure they’re still in their original boxes, too; packing a cracked salad bowl in a microwave box will undoubtedly raise suspicions about your sincerity.  You’ll also need to include any and all instruction manuals, spare parts, and other accessories, lest the recipient question the gift’s provenance.3giftsDon’t pass along sentimental items.  You may never wear that monogrammed tie clip your uncle gave you, but regifting it, even to someone who shares your initials, is socially unacceptable (to say nothing of the bad karma it might incur).

Ensure a clean break.  Make certain there’s absolutely no connection — now or ever — between the original gift-giver and the next recipient of the item in question.  The second-to-last thing you want to deal with is the awkward pause that occurs when the person who gave you a hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind sweater suddenly sees another friend of yours wearing it.  (The last thing you want to deal with is the resulting conversation — with either person.)  Regifting is best done with distant relatives (assuming the gift came from a friend rather than a family member) or casual acquaintances (as long as the present originated from a far-off relative whom you never see).

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Make sure the recipient will appreciate the gift.  Always consider the interests of the person to whom you’re regifting.  You probably shouldn’t give Grandma a pair of football shoulder pads under any circumstances, but it’s particularly bad form if she’s not a fan of the game.  “It’s the thought that counts” may sound clichéd, but it’s true.  Unless those shoulder pads were signed or worn by Grandma’s favorite player of all time, go in a different direction.

Dress it up.  It’s common courtesy to wrap holiday gifts, but it’s especially important when regifting.  A nice presentation adds a thoughtful, personal element to the act of giving, and it can distract from the gift itself (which might also quell any residual guilt you might be feeling over regifting).

The holiday season is often a busy, high-pressure time, but done properly, regifting can help relieve the stress on both your finances and your social psyche.  FreeShipping.com can help, too, with 5% cash back, free shipping, and low-price guarantees on your purchases.  Happy holiday shopping (and giving)!

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