Manners & Money: Gift Registries

by Mike on March 12, 2010

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Manners & Money is a mini-series about etiquette, social norms, manners, and how it effects our financial decisions. Have you ever spent more than you wanted in order to avoid “social awkwardness”. Are some of your frugal habits frowned upon by others in your social circle? Let’s discuss!

The topic for today is Gift Registries

A gift registry is an “enhanced wish list”. Unlike an ordinary wish list, a registry is attached to a certain retailer. They manage the list and remove items as they are purchased. Gift registries were once exclusive to weddings. However, now registries are created for other events such as birthdays, house warmings, retirements, graduations etc. When done with class, registries can take the guess work out of giving by selecting something the recipient has already shown interest in. Consequently, some use that same reason to avoid registies…stating it puts the focus on receiving material gift as opposed to celebrating the event. Here are some of the common arguments for and against registries

Pros

- Eliminate the guess work
– Cuts down on the chance of multiple gifts since the retailer updates the list
– Decreases chance of receiving unwanted or unnecessary gifts (that you’ll probably end up regifting)

Cons

– Impersonal
– The recipient knows how much was spent on the gift
– Limited to certain stores

When celebrating major life events, your friends and family members want to be a part of the festivity. Some will welcome the idea of a registry, while others will be turned off. If you’re the recipient and you choose to use a registry, remember your guests are not obligated to use it. Receive every gift with appreciation. It is still the thought that counts! Also, take care not to offend guests with your registry by following these guidelines (from Giftypedia)

– Make the registry items relevant to the event
– List items in various price ranges (i.e. don’t list all expensive items)
– Limit your registry to one or two stores
– Do not print registry information on your invitations. Instead place on event website, insert, or inform family and friends
(Note: I’ve received invitations with registry information, I wasn’t turned off by it)

What about you? Have you set up a gift registry for an event? Have you shopped for someone else from a registry?

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