Don't waste your cash on presents people don't want

How to make sure you don't waste your cash on presents people don't want

Whether buying for your work Secret Santa or a searching for something for your close family, it's not always easy to buy the perfect gift.

And even if you think you've found one, it doesn't mean the person you give it to will feel the same.

See also: Are your Christmas presents a gift to cyber-criminals?

See also: The average person spends £1,500 on Christmas - how can we afford it?

Get it wrong and your gift could end up resold, unused or even in the bin – a total waste of money.

One in four people say they sell or regift presents they don't want or need according to Aviva, while another survey by WatchShop has found 40% of Brits have returned and swapped a gift they didn't like.

Five ways to avoid wasting money on unwanted gifts

So how do you manage to get a gift someone actually wants? We've five ways you can help avoid wasting your money on gifts this Christmas and be #XmasReady.

Ask them what they want

This is the easiest option to guarantee your money will be well spent and your gift gratefully received. Of course doing this properly means you ne​​​ed to let them know your budget and your gift won't be a surprise.

Savings Calculator

Make the thought really count

If you're struggling to think of something to buy but don't want to ask, the temptation will be to just grab something – often a novelty or 'boring' gift. And this increases the chance of it not being used.

Why not give to charity instead? At least then you know your money will make a difference somewhere.

You might not want to choose between a gift or a donation yourself, but you can let the person you are buying for decide. The UK Money Blogger community and BT are running #GiveOrGift to make it easier for you to ask for a donation instead of a Secret Santa gift – though you can use it for any present.

Let them choose by giving them cash

One hassle-free option is to give some cash or a cheque. Yes, it might seem impersonal, but you can always suggest how it's used. Perhaps you want the money to go towards clothes, or maybe a meal out.

Get a gift receipt

If you still want to buy something but really don't know if it's wanted, you can ask for a gift receipt which doesn't show the price of the item. Include this with your present and it's down to the recipient to swap it for something they will use.

Don't buy anything

It's amazing how often people exchange gifts by post with extended family members they haven't seen in years. Or keep buying for friends' kids even though those children are now fully grown adults.

Have a chat and see if they'll agree to not buying presents this year. You could even suggest spending the cash on meeting up for a catch up meal instead!

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.



10 PHOTOS
Budget Christmas presents for family and friends
See Gallery
Budget Christmas presents for family and friends
Is your man the back-to-nature type? This firestick from Hunter Gatherer will mean he can dump the lighter. Just strike the blade down the firestick, and a shower of sparks will start his camp fire - with a bit of patience and the right kindling, that is. It costs £14 from Not On The High Street; and for another £16 you could add a chestnut roasting pan for a romantic evening by the fire.
From Not On The High Street comes this selection of four of the world's hottest chilli powders - including the current world champion, Scorpion Moruga. Each comes in a tiny corked glass bottle, all contained in a standard sized matchbox. The quantities may be tiny - but with this level of heat, that's all you'll need. £6.
So you can't stretch to a day at a luxury spa? Never mind. These pretty lights will turn bathtime into a real pampering experience. Attach the waterproof spa lights to the side of the bath, or simply float them on the surface; add bubble bath, put on some relaxing music - and ask if there's room for two. Spa lights £6.95 from Prezzybox.
Bath bombs can cost a fortune to buy, but they're cheap and very easy to make. Just mix together three parts sodium bicarbonate, one part each of citric acid and Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oil such as rose or lavender. Add a little almond oil drop by drop until the mixture is still a bit powdery but clumps together when squeezed. Use a plastic mould to shape your bombs. Or buy a kit - Bee Beautiful's includes everything needed to make a dozen bath bombs for £19.99.
It's too late to gather your own this year, but dried lavender is widely available online. And turning it into a scented sachet or even pillow couldn't be easier. Just sew a little bag from any scrap of pretty material - vintage handkerchiefs look stunning and don't need hemming - and pop the lavender inside. It's easy to personalise the bag with a little embroidery.
From just £10, Photobox will help you create a personalised calendar with a different happy memory for each month. Just upload a dozen family photos and some captions, and the company will get the finished calendar to you in as little as four days. There are plenty of different formats to choose from.

Even a simple wooden doll's house can cost well over £100 - and that's before you've bought the furniture and the dolls themselves. But this charming two-storey castle dolls house from Tesco comes with 5 pieces of furniture & the princess' vanity set two dolls, two sets of stairs and eleven pieces of furniture for just £36.99 - even less using Clubcard Boost.

Small boys everywhere love ice cream and space, so this Astronaut Ice Cream should go down a storm. Originally developed for the Apollo space missions, it's made by the same company that still supplies NASA. Freeze dried and vacuum packed, it comes in three flavours and literally melts in the mouth. It costs £5 from the Great Gift Company.
These plastic animal toys are perfect for the little ones this Christmas. They're very durable and perfect for encouraging mobility and learning with animals sounds and music included. The set costs £19.97.
Drawn your worst enemy in the Secret Santa? Here's how to put the boot in while maintaining the moral high ground. Oxfam's gifts of goats and sheep - which of course actually go to a worthy recipient in the developing world - have been very popular in recent years. But did you know the charity also offers £9 loads of manure for farmers? Just hand over the gift card to the recipient, and smirk.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS