Family members often said things like, “How dare someone be so greedy that they actually tell people ahead of time what they want for their wedding/baby/birthday! They should be thankful that they even get a gift!”
I used to think the same way too, but over time my view on the subject has swung to the exact opposite.
Yes, I hope I’m still just as grateful for any gifts I get, but in today’s culture, registries have become so accepted that I don’t think there is much danger of people being offended when you do point them to a registry. People have even asked me, “Where’s your registry?” when they want to get me something.
My husband also came from a culture where registries weren’t very popular, but for a different reason: they just didn’t exist! 🙂
Both of us were initiated into the world of registries through our wedding. We also created one for our first baby. I’m sure we still have much more to learn about making registries, but here are some of my favorite ways in which to save money by using this service to the fullest:
- Get (or give) a friend referral whenever possible. Both Bed Bath & Beyond and Buy Buy Baby have referral programs where you get money off your next purchase if you refer a friend when starting your registry. So even though my sister knew she wanted a wedding registry at Bed Bath & Beyond independent of my telling her, she still put me down as her referral. It sure helped when I was picking out a gift for her! 😉
- Be realistic about the number of gifts. Some people go overboard and fill their registries with hundreds of items, way beyond their guest list. A good rule of thumb is to start your registry with 1-2 items for every guest you’re inviting. Keep monitoring your registry as the countdown to your big event continues, and add more items if needed. But too much just overwhelms any well-wisher.
- Choose a range of items and prices. Add a range of little items (anything $20 and lower), a goodly amount of mid-price items ($50-100 for a wedding registry, $20-50 for any other registry) as well as a few high-price items (in my view, anything $100 and up for a wedding registry or $50 and up for any other registry).
Choose practical over cute or fancy. If you put down 3+ sets of formal flatware on your wedding registry because you think they’re all gorgeous, you may get bits and pieces from all three and nothing for everyday use. Same goes for baby registries. Add diapers, bibs, changing pad liners, etc. – things you’ll actually use – as a priority. Pretty dresses (or handsome overalls) and expensive toys should be last and fewest on your list.
- Hold onto your gift receipts! Don’t open the packaging off a gift if you think you may not use it. Maybe someone got you a better vacuum model that wasn’t on your wedding registry, or you think you may not use that baby monitor after all. Whatever it is, we found it helpful to save all the receipts in one place (noting the expiration dates) and then return any items once we decided we didn’t need them.
- Wait before closing the registry. Stores often send you discounts and coupons once they have your mailing information, and you can apply those to individual items on your mailing list and also make use of any “registry closing” percentage discounts they send your way. Just remember to do the math first. Which will save you more money: percentage discounts (e.g. 10% off all items on your registry, or 20% off any one item), or a dollar amount off a purchase at a specific level ($5 off a purchase of $15 or more)?
Any registry tips you’d care to add? Let me know in the comments!