How to Register for Gifts the Smart Way

May 29, 2012

Weddings, baby showers– even divorce parties– are all events that people create gift registries for. If you’ve ever been armed with the scanner and tasked with creating a gift registry then you know it can be overwhelming. This could be your only shot to get exactly what you want from family and friends. Before you end up asking guests for one bowl, 17 plates and a breast pump consider these expert tips for creating the best gift registry.

Take Inventory of What You Needgift registry

Despite the fact that your mom says you must register for fancy china, there are really no rules to registering. And if you’ve got a baby on the way but your older sister gave you lots of secondhand supplies there’s no need to register for repeats. Take inventory of your belongings to figure out what gifts will be most useful. Don’t let a high-pressure salesperson push you into registering for items you don’t need or want.

Register Beyond Big Box Stores

In the past registrants were forced to settle on one or two retailers for their registry. Setting it up meant visiting the big box store and walking around while aimlessly scanning products to add to their list. Now you don’t have to request everything from one store. With services like Knack you can create a registry that’s as dynamic as you are. Compile your favorite items from independent stores or even Etsy shops. “We believe that the things people love are not found exclusively at Macys, Target and other big box stores,” says founder Fred McFerran. “We are building a registry that allows couples to register for the things they love, so they can start their new life together with gifts as unique as their personalities.” This sample registry shows how you can mix standard registry items with more unique things.

Use Your Smartphone to Register

If you decide to go modern with your registry and choose gifts from a wide variety of retailers then check out the free Giftopia app. With services like Giftopia, you can simply swipe a bar code with your smartphone, allowing you to register for items virtually anywhere– even boutique stores and antique dealers. “We take the guesswork out of wedding gift giving,” explains Randall Bird, President and CEO of Giftopia. “Giftopia gets rid of the stress and anxiety associated with traditional gift giving and receiving while creating a fun social networking experience for all the guests at your Wedding of any age or computer skill set.” This app is available for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Ask for Cash Politelybaby shower

Maybe all you really want is cash instead of dish towels and a shower curtain. But asking for money can seem a little desperate. That’s where sites like can help. You set up a registry on the site, including products or honeymoon excursions at a variety of price points. Guests log on and buy you items off your registry. But instead of being stuck with the actual item you get the cash. Then once all the gifts arrive you’ll be able to decide what is highest on your list of priorities. Keep in mind that Zankyou does have a service fee of 2.85%.

Shop for a Variety of Price Points

Your wedding and shower guests all have different budgets so make sure you register for gifts at a variety of price points. Experts suggest sticking to the 30-50-20 rule which means thirty percent of your gifts should be more affordable, half of gifts should be in the median price range. That leaves twenty percent for splurge-worthy gifts. By giving guests more options they’re less likely to feel forced into spending more or less than they originally wanted. And you’ll still get the items you want most.

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