The holidays can put a real strain on your wallet. There’s pressure to spend money left and right. There’re parties, gifts, giant meals. It can all take its toll.
There is a way to save quite a bit of money this holiday season, but It is not for the faint of heart. It takes cunning, wile, timing, a questionable moral compass (it’s all above board, this is mostly a joke) and a little bit of luck. What is this magic money saving maneuver?
I suppose we should start with a definition for the uninitiated. Re-gifting is the practice of giving someone else a gift that was given to you. This practice is somewhat frowned upon in some (many (most)) circles. However, when done correctly, it can be a convenient, cost-effective technique, without all the social stigma. We’re going to teach you how.
When you get a gift that you don’t want it’s important to consider the feelings of the gift giver. If they put taught into the gift, being appreciative goes a long way. Then again, if they picked up something at the gas station on the way over, you don’t have to put on an Oscar-worthy performance or anything.
You also want to always remember who gave you what. The most successful re-gifters can operate clandestinely. Try not to re-gift a gift to anyone that saw you get the gift in the first place. This should go without saying, but never…ever…re-gift someone their own gift.
Lastly, don’t re-gift something that actually has sentimental value. It’s one thing to pass along a George Foreman grill, it’s something quite different to unload a pocket watch that’s been in the family for generations.
Know Your Marks
It’s rarely a good idea to re-gift things from someone particularly close to you. That means significant others, parents, and possibly siblings (depending on your relationship). A good rule of thumb to go by is “Would they be upset if they found out?” cross-referenced with “how upset will I be that they’re upset?” Tony in accounting will get over it. It might take a little longer for your mother.
Re-gifting shouldn’t just be about unloading something you don’t want. It’s most successful when you actually know someone who would want the thing that you don’t. It takes the sting out of getting a gift second hand even if they do find out.
We all have different circles in our lives. Friends, family, co-workers, we even have different circles within these circles. It’s a rookie mistake to re-gift a gift between people in the same circle. It will save you a bunch of uncomfortable questions and side-eye.
You don’t have to re-gift your gift exactly the way you received it. Adding something complementary to it is a great way to both jazz it up and assuage some of your guilt. It’s much less expensive than buying a full-on gift and it helps throw suspicion off your trail.
Don’t Be Sloppy
If you’re going to re-gift you want to make sure nothing gives away the fact that it’s a re-gift. The packaging has to look new. You don’t want to leave any identifying marks like to-from stickers. Basically, go over the gift thoroughly to make sure there’s no smoking gun. Also, you definitely have to rewrap it. But that’s a given. Personalizing the wrapping is a great misdirect as well.
If they catch you, they catch you. If you’ve followed these tips, it shouldn’t be a big deal either way. Enjoy that extra cash.