Oh summertime, the time for bridal showers, engagement parties, weddings and even a few babies. Over the years I’ve attend a whole slew of weddings and showers where gift registries have run the gamut from ridiculously expensive to justifiably cheap.
One bride I know registered at both Bloomingdale’s and Target. She decided wealthier guests could purchase from the upscale registry, while less well-off friends and family could shop at Target. Interestingly enough, most of the bride’s wealthier guests presented monetary gifts. In the end the Target registry was half fulfilled while the Bloomingdale’s registry was barely touched.
Some people think you should always purchase off the registry, some think it’s okay to venture elsewhere, and others never pick something off the list. Some folks, like my grandmother, absolutely hate to purchase from a registry, because “it takes the fun out of shopping for someone you love.” Others simply don’t want the bride and groom or parents-to-be to know how much they paid for a gift.
I have a love-hate relationship with registries. On one hand I think registries are a great way to tell family and friends just what you want. On the other hand I think the major chain stores that offer registries often overcharge for merchandise.
An expecting friend recently registered for a whole host of baby furniture from a chain store. A simple google search revealed much cheaper prices at both brick-and-mortar and online shops. Within minutes I found cheaper prices for nine out of the first ten items on her list. In some cases I found the exact same item for less than 50% of the registry price.
My friend knows I’m a frugal fanatic so I sent her links to cribs, bassinets, high chairs and baby furniture. She was so excited to find cheaper alternatives that she removed the items from her original registry and created a whole new list.
So what do you think? Do you pay full price for an item on the registry or do you go off list and buy twice as much stuff for the very same price? Do you ever buy something that isn’t on the list and if so do you have rules for those purchases? In essence, do you think it’s ever okay to buy gifts that aren’t on the list?