7 Ways to Save Money on Wedding Gifts (Without Being Cheap)

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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When did other people’s weddings become so expensive?

According to The Knot 2016 Wedding Guest Study, the average wedding guest spent $118 per gift for weddings they attended in the previous three years. Those going to an out-of-state wedding spent an additional $643 on travel and accommodations.

That price tag is enough to turn a happy day into a stressful one. But rest assured, you don’t have to skip the celebration to save your finances.

Instead of breaking the bank to toast the happy couple, consider these seven ways to save money on wedding gifts without being cheap.

1. Shop early and scoop up low-priced items on the registry

If the engaged couple put together a wedding registry, make sure you’re the first in line (or rather, online) to order.

“Don’t procrastinate on choosing a gift,” warned Janessa White, co-founder of Simply Eloped. “Check out the registry as soon as you can and select an affordable present before other guests fulfill the less-pricey registry items.”

Most couples include a range of items on their registry, from low-cost salt and pepper shakers to big-ticket items such as, say, a $390 Breville BBL910XL Superblender. If you wait too long to choose a gift, expensive blenders might be all that are left on the list.

Ivy Jacobson, a senior digital editor for the Knot, recommends combining a few small items in a unique way. “Put together a curated gift of multiple items, like a bartending kit filled with a martini shaker, jumbo cube tray, corkscrew, and coasters,” she suggested.

You also could add homemade gifts to the mix to personalize your gift. That way, you’d give the couple something they want from their registry, but you won’t blow past your budget.

2. Search for discounts at different stores

Even if a couple is registered at a pricey store such Williams Sonoma, that doesn’t mean you have to buy your gift there.

“There is no requirement to purchase gifts from the registry,” said consumer finance expert Kevin Gallegos of Freedom Financial Network. “If you find an item on the registry you would like to give the couple, you may find the same (or similar) product at a lower price either online or at other stores.”

Of course, you want to make sure other guests don’t duplicate the gift. But Gallegos has a solution.

“If you purchase your gift this way, contact the store where the couple registered and ask them to note that the item has been purchased,” he advised. That way, the store can remove the item from the registry and the newlyweds won’t get the same gift twice.

3. Reduce costs with discounted gift cards

Besides shopping around for the best price, you could further lower your costs by using discounted gift cards. Websites such as CardPool and Gift Card Granny sell gift cards for various merchants at a discounted price.

Gift Card Granny, for instance, was selling a $350 Target gift card for about $277 in May, which would save 7.5% on your purchase.

Abaigeal Duda, a justice of the peace for Pioneer Valley Weddings, suggests using the strategy. However, make sure you do due diligence.

“Be sure to check out reviews before giving it a try,” Duda said. “You’ll want a credible site that offers guarantees of authenticity.”

By sticking to reputable sites, you could get savings on cards from major retailers such as Amazon, Costco, or Sephora.

4. Chip in on a group gift with other guests

Instead of shouldering the entire cost of a gift on your own, consider splitting it with other guests. If you’re attending the event with friends, ask if they want to go in on a present together.

Wedding gift marketplace Zola makes it easy to give a group gift. If a couple registers on the site, they can enable its “group gifting” feature on any items on their wish list.

“I always suggest going in on joint gifts with other attendees,” said White. “With this approach, the couple will still receive an amazing gift from their registry and you — as well as a few other guests — can trim costs.”

5. Skip the registry and give a personalized gift

You don’t have to buy a wedding gift from a registry. Instead, you could tap your own talents to make a gift.

“Find creative ways to gift the couple by using your own skills,” said Lilia Karimi, the co-founder of wedwell. “If you’re a photographer or good at documenting, you could offer those services for their wedding or a prewedding shoot. If you’re great at crafts, you can offer to help with wedding decoration.”

Duda took this approach when her sister got married.

“I baked and decorated cookies for my sister’s wedding to give away as favors as my ‘gift’ to her,” she said. “For another wedding, I took photos and gifted the couple a wedding album that I ordered online.”

Even though you might not spend much money, the couple will remember your efforts.

“Any item becomes priceless when you put a lot of thought and effort into it and make it personal,” said Sarah Ntouskas, the CEO of wedding planning company Make It Posh.

6. Make the most of credit card rewards

Credit card rewards can help you save money on wedding gifts, but there’s a caveat. Going into high-interest credit card debt is never a good idea, so avoid this route if you tend to overspend.

But if you can pay off your balance each month, earning credit card reward points could be a great way to save money during the wedding season.

You might earn points for shopping at certain retailers with a particular card. Or you could score a sign-up bonus on a new card for spending a certain amount within the first few months of opening an account.

Of course, you have to be careful not to ding your credit score by opening too many new accounts at once. But if you can use credit cards responsibly, the rewards earned could help you cover wedding gift costs.

7. Use extensions and promo codes to save on online purchases

Cash-back browser extensions and discount promo codes are some of the internet’s best-kept secrets. Kelli Bhattacharjee of Freebie Finding Mom uses two go-to tools to save money when shopping online.

The first is cash-back site Ebates. “Use Ebates when making online purchases and you can get paid back a percentage, which you can put toward gift-giving or something else,” Bhattacharjee suggested.

You can download the Ebates browser extension, which will notify you if you’ll get cash back when you’re on a retailer website. If you make purchases through those sites, you’ll receive your cash back by check or Paypal each month.

RetailMeNot is her second recommendation for finding cash-back offers or discount codes.

“Before making an online purchase, look to see if there’s a coupon code you can use to save money,” she said.

You also can find promo codes by doing a Google search. Not all of them will work, but you might find a discount that you didn’t see advertised on a store’s website.

Wedding gifts don’t have to break the bank

The average guest might spend hundreds of dollars attending a wedding, but you don’t have to be average.

By thinking outside the box, you can come up with memorable gifts that don’t drain your bank account. Then like the savvy wedding guest you are, you can enjoy the celebration knowing your finances are in order.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 6.990% APR to 14.865% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.255% APR to 12.555% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 1, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.255% APR assumes current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 4.425% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

    To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.See Consumer Licenses.
  2. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  3. SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.
  4. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 4.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 4.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan of $15,000 with a term of 24 months, and qualify for at least two of the following discounts: (1) add a co-borrower who has sufficient income; (2) use at least fifty percent of the loan proceeds to directly pay off existing debt; or (3) show proof of having at least forty-thousand dollars in retirement savings – contact FreedomPlus for further details.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

  • Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint’s final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $25,000, at rates ranging from a low of 15.49% APR to a high of 34.49% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months. The loan offer(s) shown reflect a 28 day payment cycle which is being offered as a courtesy as many of our customers are paid on a biweekly schedule and thus this may better align the loan payment dates with your actual income receipt schedule.

6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.16% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% and the average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.


7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Earnest does not lend in Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, or Rhode Island.

8 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33


* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
6.26% – 14.87%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
6.99% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%2$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
4.99% – 29.99%3$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%4$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%5$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
6.16% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
6.99% – 18.24%7$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%8$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.