Timeline: When to Schedule a Gift Plan

Choosing a gift at the last moment is the worse thing to do. Giving something in a hurry which is not well thought about can lead to disasters. The person might not like the gift, and moreover he / she might feel that you are not willing to think about them as well. Therefore it is best to schedule a plan for a gift much earlier than the final day of the gifting. The following timeline will give you an approximate idea of what is the latest you should start thinking about the gift.

The figure below gives an outline of the various stages of gift buying. It is completely upon you to determine when to schedule each stage as it would vary from person-to-person and gift-to-gift.

Gift Plan

Gift Plan for Budget Gift

To Begin: Plan Ahead – But Not Too Ahead

As the proverb goes “the early bird catches the worm”. It is never to early to begin planning a gift. A gift plan can be implemented within 1 month or even 6 months ahead. It really depends on how much time you want to spend to research your loved ones or find the appropriate gift for them.

Planning Ahead: Lets you get a better idea of what the person wants / needs so that you can get a good gift.It also gives you time to get the particular gift within your budget- How? Its simple, you can probably buy the object at weekend/holiday sales which might sell the object at a lower price. Keep in mind to read our basic budget shopping guide to plan and stick to your budget.

Not to Ahead: Keep in mind that there are certain things which get old or outdated with time, especially electronics and toys. For example, a person might want one camera or phone 6 months from their birthday, but a better one might release just before their birthday and that would change their opinions of what they want. Also keep in mind that certain objects are useful for a particular season. For example, if gifting a sweater, it is best to give the gift in or before winter when the person might use it before it goes out of style.

 Spend Time Researching

Spend at least a few weeks or even months to find out what the person wants. People always give out hints as to what they want or need. Keep your ears open to your loved ones to find out what they like/dislike. Read our guide on gathering information on your loved ones and gifts to get ideas on how to research your loved ones as well as find a great gift for them. The research time you spend will help you narrow down the best gift for your loved one. A well-thought of gift would make a memory in the minds of your loved ones and therefore, this period is crucial. It is therefore best to think about it well in advance and keep your eyes and ears open to suggestions from the gift recipient itself.

Buying the Gift

When buying a gift do your research as to where you are getting the cheapest price for the gift. Remember you are on a budget. Finding the cheapest price will let you spend the extra money on enhancing the gift, with better wrapping or creating an ambiance for the gift. Read our budget shopping guide on tips to stick to your budget. You can buy the gift from a store or online. Both these scenarios are different:

If buying in a store:

  1. Check the product well.
  2. Keep an eye for printable coupons which will lower the prices in store.
  3. Ask the people in the store if there are any discounts for the item.
  4. Buy on weekends and holidays where there is a greater possibility of sales.

If buying online:

  1. Check the product in a store if possible. This will give you an idea of what the product looks and feels like in real life.
  2. Find the product online from a reliable source.
  3. Check for online coupon codes which will reduce the price further or offer free shipping.
  4. Account for time for shipping (generally count it as 10 days to be safe, unless you do expedited shipping). Try to go for the cheapest and fastest shipping method.
  5. Try to order such that the return policy is valid to the maximum time, in case your gift receiver would like to get it exchanged.

In either case, try to obtain the gift at least one week before the day of gifting giving you ample time to decorate and wrap the gift. Also if you plan a long time ahead, keep in mind the return policy on the gift in case you need to exchange it or return it to get something else.

Decorate / Wrap the Gift

Although many stores will do it for you, it is better to personalize the gift wrapping and decorations for the gift by yourself. Planning ahead will give you the luxury of taking time to wrap the gift well. Remember to target the senses with the gift wrapping as well. Wrapping the gift on your own will also save you a few extra dollars and add a personalized touch which your relative would appreciate better.

Giving the Gift

When actually giving the gift (depending on your remaining budget) you should try to create a special environment. Creating an ambiance can be as elaborate as planning a dinner to give the gift, or as simple as playing the person’s favorite song while giving it. Remember to stick to your gift budget when planning this.

Watch Your Loved Ones Reaction

The last step of the gifting is to watch your loved ones reaction. If the gift was well thought about, then for sure they will have a smile on their face. Remember plan ahead and well to create and implement a gift idea that would stamp a memory in the hearts of your loved one.


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