Tuesday, December 10, 2013

20 Ways with Small Gifts You Can Afford

Small gift buying is easy.
Not only is it easy of you have gobs of money, its also easy of you have little money. Everything in this post is less than $20.

Small gift buying is easy because a similar version of every single one of these gifts is available at your local $2 shop, your local discount store, your local department store to online Barneys NY and everything in between. The choices are limitless.

If choice in the shopping space scares you - outsource the process. Get someone to shop for you. 

The only difficult thing is finding something that the recipient will love. Not just a gift to say thank you, but a gift to say "I am demonstrating my appreciation by buying you something that matches your interests and likes". 

Its all about the planning. 
You need to think about what the person likes & select accordingly. 

Take your cues from:

* the way they dress, 
* what they talk about, 
* how their desk looks, 
* what their home looks like, 
* what movies they see,
* what books they read
* sneak a look at the Apps on their phone 
* look at their Likes on Facebook & what they talk about

Are they sporty? Bookish? a homebody? a foodie? what sort of food? girlie? sweet tooth? wicked sense of humour? love pampering? eco aware? love animals? which animals? learning a new hobby? sentimental? modern?

Its not 100% easy, but it sure beats a vanilla gift or a random Kris Kringle.

Lastly,I have an album on the Style into Action Facebook page which is called "Today's Pick". It has over a year's worth of affordable gift ideas. Feel free to scroll though.

1. Notebooks

Maybe a notebook whose cover reminds them of a trip they have taken?

I stuff lots of things into my notebooks, business cards, receipts etc - so the elastic band is a must. I also like the round corners so the books dont get dog eared flying around in my handbag for a few months at a time. 

2. Serviettes

Again, its key to match the design to the person. 

3. Fridge magnets

Magnetic bottle opener for the fridge door

From Jim & Jane in Annandale & the Strand Arcade

Wicked sense of humour?

4. Soaps

If they are modern, dont buy the floral soaps.
If they like a particular scent (yes, pay particular notice when you use their bathroom), then give them more of the same or a similar scent in another equally nice brand. 

Do they have kids? Do they decorate in bright primary colours?  Then try these & add some coloured lollypops in the gift, wrap in clear cellophane & give....

Italian soaps...mmmm...

5. Hankies

Liberty has $15 cotton hankies in a million designs and they are available in David Jones and many gift stores. 

They are distributed by Rosdale, which has the market cornered in hankies even before the Liberty deal.

6. Coin purse


Funky from Fossil

This one is over $20

Silicone products are so easy to clean and super cheap. Available at Target & many gift stores.

7. Sticky notes

8. Trinket bowls or boxes



If they love Wedgwood, go to ebay & get them a trinket dish in the jasper range. Totally under the $20 limit, even in perfect condition. 

Retro girl (or boy)?

From Yay Yoi in Sydney's Annandale
OK, OK, this is $35, but it has sooooo many layers for soooo many things....


Movie star lover? Something Audrey, Marilyn, James Dean, Brad Pitt or George Clooney...

Penchant for silver & intricate sculptured patterns?


Marimekko? But only of thats their style.

9. Pill box

This is $5 and available at alot of gift stores.

People love it when you customise a product they use with Fido's or their children's photos.

10. Drawer sachets

Sussan or DJs

11. Eco friendly bag(s)


12. Make up organiser
 13. Handbag mirror

14. Pretty tree ornaments

These are all from Sussan.

The moo cow pony skin is from Deer Willow in Dural.


15. Hand made food in a jar

Anything hand mad can be special. But if its not something they eat, then dont go there, no matter how handmade & no matter how "special. 

16. Handmade food in a box or cellophane

17. A waterbottle

From Sussan

18. Tea towels

The key here is that the recipient uses the kitchen (or its a pi** take present where you want them to use the kitchen) AND that the pattern reflects their interests.

19. A mouse mat

Great if they are just learning to use the computer and they have an interest in the picture on the mat. 

More traditional? Try a Persian rug


20. Tea anyone?

This isnt about tea. Its about finding their drink of choice, and then feeding their habit.

Tea bags at Jim & Jane in Annandale & The Strand

NOTE #1: Still stumped? Buy them a donation to their favourite charity. That's a win-win because you get to keep the benefit of the tax deduction!

NOTE #2: You may notice that I didnt put candles on this list. 
That's because I dont generally find candles with scents that last well in the under $20 range. 
Diffusers tend to be cheaper, but I find they dont last as well either. So rather than give you an idea of something which looks good but doesnt last well, I'd rather give you my reason for excluding so you can make your own choices.

PS: If you do find affordable candles, by all means let us know via the Facebook page.


A very important PS:

In my travels I hear the following phrases alot:

"I have alot of clothes but nothing to wear." 
"Nothing looks good."
"I dont know where to find things that I like."
"I dont know where to find things that  flatter me." 

It is my experience again & again & again that these women put too much emphasis on the buying & nowhere near enough emphasis on the planning. 

The planning is things like:

1. Get rid of anything that doesnt make you feel good about yourself.  

Sell, donate, send to alterations, store away from your dressing area if you cant bear to part with it. Out of season stuff that makes you feel good about you should also be stored away.

2. What is my lifestyle about?
At home with kids? At home working? Work at an office/school etc? Evening functions? Out & about with friends on the weekend? Sport? Other? etc

3. Allocate my waking hours to each of these types of events.

This is never going to be exact & it will vary, but it is still the BEST guide you can have. 
eg: Office work = 60%, Out & about= 15%, At home doing domestics=20%, Other=5%

4. Are the clothes that are left over (roughly) aligning to these lifestyle %?

You will find getting dressed to be quite easy if 60% of your left over closet happens to be your work clothes and say 15% is your out & about clothes.

ie: If your life % line up with your closet %, you're doing well.

If not, its time to see where you have gaps based on your lifestyle & where you have an overload based on your lifestyle. 

The way to fix an overload is to cull further. I can guarantee you, that you dont wear 80% of the overload even 20% of the time. Think about it. The only answer is to cull.

The way to fit the shortfall is to shop - but you need to PLAN what you are looking for. 

Never buy more than 3 things per trip - unless I am with you. Those stylists who take you shopping & where you have multiple bags to take home in one session are setting you up to fail. Your wardrobe. You may feel like Pretty Woman on the day, but you'll regret it later. More on this later. 

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