10 Practical Baby Shower Gifts Every Mom Will Love

Ah, the baby shower.  The time to give all that’s cute for the new life about to enter the world.  While many gifts will draw ooh’s and ahh’s during the shower, there are some that will bring those later.  These are practical baby shower gifts that every parent will appreciate when it matters most.

Diapers (Size 1 and 2)

Diapers are a fairly common gift.  But, here’s the thing, most diapers for yet-to-be born babies are Newborn size.  This is great except that many babies are out of this size in a flash.  While you can usually exchange unopened diapers for a bigger size, make it easy on the mom to be.  Give them the next size or two up.  When that Newborn size diaper just won’t fit, your gift will be at the ready.

Baby Wipes

Babies get changed pretty regularly.  Sometimes it seems like a changing happens every hour!  Baby wipes are always a great gift, and they’re guaranteed to be used.  It’s not something that any parent wants to run out of.  Trust me, they will appreciate some baby wipes.

Portable Changing Pad

Babies get changed everywhere.  Most registries include a changing pad, which is great for the house.  But when baby needs to be changed on-the-go, a portable changing pad is just the thing.  They’re pretty handy nowadays as they have spots for just about everything. Well, maybe not the dirty diaper, but that’s just as well!

Burp Cloths / Bibs

If it’s not coming out one end, it’s coming out the other.  Don’t ever think that babies can have too many bibs or burp cloths.  They can’t.  My advice: Go for quantity.  Many people will buy fancy bibs or burp cloths, which is fine.  But, if you get a larger pack of the no-frills variety, it means mom will have more.  They’ll definitely get put to use!

Onesies

As many clothes as baby will get, the onesie is always in style.  Parents can never have too many of them.  Grab a pack or two of plain white onesies and I guarantee you’ll save the day at least once.  Don’t forget to get a couple in bigger sizes too!

Lightweight Blankets

Many people will get really special blankets.  Some will have monograms or really fancy designs.  These will definitely appreciated, but so will some lightweight blankets.  These are great for on-the-go.  They even work in the summer when baby needs to be kept warm from air conditioning.

Fingernail Kits

Start off good grooming habits at a  young age with a nice fingernail kit.  For bonus tips, make sure that mom uses it before the baby goes to see the doctor.  The doctor will be very impressed with a well clipped baby!

Bouncy Seat

A great gift is a bouncy seat.  These can be picked up and moved anywhere, giving baby a safe, comfortable spot.  Plus, you can soothe baby with the bouncing motion.

Clothing For The Next Season

If baby is due in the summer, guess what they’re going to get?  A whole closet of cute summer things.  This is great until cooler weather arrives.  You can save the day by getting clothes in a larger size for upcoming seasons.  Make sure to provide a gift receipt because sizing can be a little tricky.

Book

We actually requested this at our shower.  We asked for people to bring a small book and to sign it.  These will forever make great keepsakes.

Those were some practical baby shower gifts that I know moms will love.  Will the items above steal the show during the shower?  Maybe not, but these will definitely make life easier for parents when it matters most.  That right there is a great gift that will be long remembered.

Readers, what baby shower ideas do you love that are practical and thoughtful?  Share in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

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Best Places to Find Cheap Personalized Gifts

When it comes to giving gifts, we often hear that it’s not the amount of money spent but the thought that counts. This sentiment is what makes millions of people search for personalized gifts each year for birthdays and holidays. However, where is the best place to look for cheap personalized gifts? Below are some ideas.

Personalization Mall

The clue is in the title with this one. Personalization Mall offers a wide variety of personalized gifts, for nearly every occasion you can think of. Prices vary and some items aren’t as cheap as items in other stores. However, you can combat this by obtaining a Personalization Mall coupon code from one of the many online coupon sites. A Personalization Mall coupon code will give the user a discount off certain items. Each coupon is different so it’s important for coupon users to check exactly what the coupon is for before they try to use it.

Walmart

Walmart has a personalized gift section where you can look for that special gift that says the receiver is special to you. The gifts are well made and fairly priced. They’re great little tokens of affection for people of all ages.

CafePress.com

CaféPress.com is an online store that sells numerous personalized gifts. From buttons to funny coasters and key rings, customers can show their friends and loved ones just how well they know to shop on a budget, the gifts are organized by price range. So if you only have $5 to spend, just pop along to the “Under $5” section and get hunting.

Gifts for you now

Gifts for You Now offers a great range of personalized gifts for the whole family. There are personalized welcome flags and mats, printed clothing, personalized mugs, labels and anything else you can possibly think of that could be personalized in some way and given to somebody else. Again, prices vary but for the most part are very competitive.

Personal Creations

Personal Creations has an excellent kids section which even includes personalized story books. The prices at Personal Creations aren’t as favorable as some of the other stores, but the gifts go way past the standard printed mug (although you can get those too if you wish) and the quality of each item is high.

Digital Printers

Companies like Shutterfly and Snapfish offer members the chance to take their favorite photos and turn them into a piece of art for the home. Users can upload the photos to the site and then choose a layout for their print. Both companies offer to print high quality images on to cups, canvases, stationery and cards and a whole host of other surfaces. Again, the prices vary depending on the size of the print along with many other variables. Using photos that hold sentimental value to somebody can often be the best personalized present though and so the money spent with Shutterfly and Snapfish for personalized gifts is worthwhile.

What to Get

With so much on offer, it can be extremely difficult to choose a gift. Many stores try to help by organizing their gifts into sections such as gifts for women, men, girls or boys.

When choosing a gift for somebody, it’s always best to take some time getting to know their likes and interests. If they have a hobby then all the better but if not, take a look around at the possessions they already own. Asking about their likes and dislikes is one of the easiest ways to find out about them, but don’t be too obvious about it unless you want them to know you’re shopping for them!

The point about a personalized gift is that you know the person well enough to give them a gift that isn’t generic and be confident that they will like it. This is why the time taken to think about the gift is more valuable than the monetary worth.

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Holiday Gift Giving Is About Creativity, Not Made For TV Moments

Today I am proud to present a guest post by Brock, who writes at Clever Dude, one of my favorite personal finance blogs. Brock has done a great job of writing about clever ways to save, spend, and budget, all while keeping a personal spin on his topics.  I hope you enjoy his post.

If you haven’t seen one yet, I’m sure they’ll be popping up during commercial breaks everywhere before you know it.  You know what I mean, those commercials where a person opens their front door to find a luxury SUV sitting in their driveway with a big red bow draped across the hood.  Or how about the scene where a woman holds a hand over her mouth in complete surprise as she opens a jewelry box to find a ring with a diamond big enough to use as a piece of sidewalk chalk?

Do these things really happen?

If I were the receiver of one of those gifts I would be absolutely livid because there’s only a couple of ways that such a gift could have been paid for:

  • The giver just committed them to a hefty monthly payment for a significant amount of time.
  • The giver paid cash and drained a huge amount from the couple’s savings
  • The giver somehow accumulated and hid a large amount of money

The realization of any of these scenarios would ruin any made for commercial moment, don’t you think?

Couples who do their finances together, such as my wife and I, have to find an alternate way to accomplish holiday gift giving. We agree to a limit as to how much we can spend on each other for Christmas presents based upon our budget and the funds we have available.  It’s never a huge sum of money, last year it was $100.  For us it’s not about the amount of money spent, it’s about how creatively we can use the amount designated.

Here’s what my wife had waiting for her under the tree last year:

Electric blanket:  She LOVES to snuggle up under a blanket while watching TV.  She used to have one of these years ago, but it broke.  She mentioned on in passing on a cold November evening, so I picked one up for about $25.

Cooling Pillow:  We were walking through Costco and she saw a pillow that claimed to stay cool as you used it.  She thought it was the “coolest” thing ever.  I went back and got one for $20.

Head Phones:  Just prior to Thanksgiving we switched cell phone carriers and she got her iPhone.  She put her music library on it (she had an iPod touch previously) and began taking it to the gym.  She talks on her phone a lot while on the treadmill, so I bought her a new set of headphones with a built in microphone for $20.

Earrings:  My wife’s Jewelry box is a complete disaster area.  I’m constantly untangling necklaces and looking for earring matches.  She eventually concluded she had lost the mate to her favorite medium sized hoop earrings.  A new pair added about $15 to the total.

mb-201311giftsThe rest of my funds were spent on little trinkets and her favorite chocolate to go into her stocking.

My gifts weren’t as mindblowing as a brand new SUV parked in the driveway.  They weren’t as romantic as a sparkling new diamond.  But they were things my wife wanted, AND the best part was that she had no idea that I had really noticed she had these things on her wish list.

Have YOU ever had a commercial worthy gift opening moment? How do you and your significant other handle holiday gift exchanges?

Editors Note: I agree 100% with Brock, and the ones that make me really shake my head are the ‘brand new car’ gift commercials.  You know that most people who buy a car for a gift can afford a down payment at best, so it’s likely a gift that comes with years of car payments.  No thanks!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

How Much Do You Have Saved For Christmas Gift Spending?

I’m a huge advocate of setting money aside for bills or expenses that come due on an irregular basis.  Your cable bill is easy, you pay that every month, and it’s generally going to be the same amount for at least 6-12 months at a time.  Your electric bill might a little trickier since, even though you’ll have one payment per month, the payments will be uneven due to the varying usage that you’ll have because of air conditioning and the like.  Still, it’s manageable.

But what about expenses that come due on an irregular basis?  Like Christmas gift spending.

mb-201307giftToday is July 25th, so it’s about the closest you’ll come to ‘Christmas in July’ that I can think of.  Which, by the way, is there any basis for this phrase other than my guess, which I’d think ties to retailers trying to drum up sales during what are often excruciatingly slow summer sales months?  Well, since it’s ‘Christmas in July’ day, I thought it would be a great idea to focus on the expenses, and check to see if you’ve started saving yet, and let you know how we’re doing.

What’s The Big Deal?

The big reason for saving now is because of the sheer cost involved.  Let’s face it, Christmas and the holidays have grown in size to where many retailers count on making all of their profit for the year during the Christmas selling season.  Think about that, many places you visit on a regular basis are not making a single dime for nearly 11 months out of the year….and they’re OK with that.

But, with this comes the urge to spend more and more.  And we do.  Sales around the holidays have grown steadily for the last couple of years as the economy has improved, and this means that you’re probably spending more.  Spending around the holidays can add up to some big bucks, and it’s best to make sure you can afford your purchases, and what better way to ensure this than to have money specifically for these purchases.

Is It Too Late To Start?

The answer here is, no!  It’s never too late to start saving for Christmas.

What’s The Point?

The biggest reason for saving for Christmas is to avoid coming out of the season with credit card debt.  Let’s face it, there are a lot of purchases and the temptation is to swipe the card at every store.  Still, those purchases add up quickly with the number of gifts you might have so that Santa gets everything crossed off his list.  Many people find that their credit card balances swell around this time of year, something that the credit card companies are all too eager.

What’s The Impact?

The impact of letting this happen is that you’ll pay more for the gifts you’re buying than what you pay at the register.  That $40 sweater for your mom might turn into $60 or $70 by the time you pay it off and add in the associated interest charges.  As you shop, ask yourself, is this item worth double the cost on the tag?  Most times, the answer is ‘No’, so don’t get tricked into paying that anyways!

But I Know I Can’t Save Enough, Should I Bother?

If you’re in the middle of enjoying the hot summer temperatures, winter and Christmas shopping may seem forever away. That is, until you realize that even if you started saving $100 per month today, that’s not going to cover the $1,000 you plan on spending on Christmas gifts.

So, the temptation is not to bother.

Big mistake.  You should definitely bother! 

Even if you only save half of your planned spending between now and then, you’ll be cutting the amount of interest you pay in half.  It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing, because if you choose not to save it, chances are you’ll find something else to spend that money on instead, and you’ll be that much further behind.

In some cases, doing it halfway is better than not at all.  This is assuredly one of those cases!

Won’t This Make Me Just Spend More?

If you normally spend $1,000 on Christmas, and this year, for the first time, you set that aside, you’re going to feel pretty good about that.  So good that it might be tempting to increase your budget a bit.  After all, it’ll be easy to justify spending an extra $500.  After all, you’re so used to paying interest that this is going to mean you can spend more and only pay half the interest.

Don’t do it.  The whole point of saving for Christmas up front is to keep your money in your pocket.  As much as possible.

How Do I Make This Happen?

If you think you could fall into the trap I described above, then in addition to saving, you should start setting a budget.  Now.  List the people you need to buy gifts for, and set a budget.

Then, find a way to stick to it.  Hold yourself accountable when the time comes to spend that money.

How Am I Doing?

We stared saving for Christmas throughout the year several years back.  This has helped us out a lot.  We set aside around $70 per month, and we also allocate a portion of our tax return for our gift fund.  This definitely makes Christmas shopping a lot easier.  Let’s face it, the holidays are stressful enough without having the added stress of worrying about how you’re going to pay for those gifts.

So, do yourself a favor and start saving today.

Readers, do you save for your Christmas purchases throughout the year?  If so, what’s your strategy and how are you doing?   Happy Christmas in July!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.