What's the secret to giving the perfect present every time? It's all about taking some time to consider the personality of the person you're shopping for. Follow these five tips, and you can be a good gift-giver -- while saving money, too.
Take notes throughout the year when people express interest in something. It may be a luxury that they wouldn't buy for themselves, or it may just be an area of interest that they like to talk about. Someone who loves to camp and hike will appreciate outdoorsy gifts, like new gear to replace outdated items. Your friend who loves to talk about recipes and shop at specialty food stores will love a foodie gift. Look for gifts that support their hobbies and you'll show how well you've been paying attention to them.
Make sure to notice if they have a need that isn't being met. Have they complained about always needing a better pair of gloves? Do they borrow a kitchen tool from a neighbor? Do they spend a lot of money renting athletic equipment, like skis or golf carts? Filling that need is a good way to make sure your gift is appreciated and not stuck in a closet, never to be used.
The biggest gift-giving mistake is to give people something you love and would love receiving without considering if the recipient would enjoy it the same way. One exception: If you're buying a baby gift for a new parent, and you've had kids, feel free to give the new mom and dad something that made your life easier. If you have no idea where to start, try using our gift finder, which will walk you through the decision process.
Shop with a goal in mind, but give yourself some leeway, too. Unless you're shopping for children's toys, you can probably get something from a general category. That way, instead of giving someone exactly what they wanted, you can surprise them something they didn't know they wanted yet. If you're shopping for a child, especially for Christmas, you'll want to search for the exact toy they asked for.
Watch for the big holiday shopping days, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and stock up when there are the best deals on gifts. Even if you're buying a gift for Mother's Day, you can store it with a sticky note to remind you to give it when the day gets closer.