Frugal confession

I’ve become a master at regifting.

Did you know that once your preschooler gets to be a certain age, almost every weekend becomes a birthday party weekend?

The regifting started innocently enough.  We had a party to go to but no time to hit up Target or any similar store for the $10-15 toy and bag that would be required as party admission.  So I hit our “to go to goodwill” pile.  Took out a new still-in-packaging toy gun that we’d gotten as a present and confiscated (per DH’s decree).  It’s a super-hero party, this is a super-blaster… surely they won’t mind, I thought.  Then I added some books… a Thomas the Train engine book present that we’d confiscated because we’re horrible parents and hate Thomas (I have yet to meet another parent who denies Thomas so no guilt in passing those on, unlike the phaser), and a couple of great books that we had duplicates of because I’m addicted to buying sets from Scholastic.  Then I found a blank white paper bag with white handles, and stuffed it with buzz-lightyear-green tissue paper leftover from ancient baby-shower gifts (I’m a bit of a hoarder re:  gift packaging).  And done.

It was exhilarating.  So I did it again.  And again.

Next up… a princess party.  Luckily my mom has decided our blog is too boring to read (hi mom!) or she might be mildly upset that the (NWT) embroidered pillow she got matching versions of for my sister and me, “I’m not bossy, I just have better ideas” is being passed along (Point made, mom, I got it).  Adding in a phonics game and a couple of Scholastic books in a bag with tissue and we’re set.  I am still wavering on the pillow as it is kinda true for this particular child and her mom remarks on it all the time– I think she’d be cool with it.  We could just do the phonics game and books.

DC gets a LOT of toys as gifts, more than (s)he can handle, more than we can handle.  And some of them don’t fit our parenting philosophy.  In the past those have gone to Goodwill.  DC also gets a lot of books, and I used to send the Scholastic duplicates to daycare.  It has come to my attention that most kids don’t have as many books as our kid has, and that parents seem to welcome books as gifts.  (With us, we probably already own what you’re trying to give us, but that’s ok, we can regift.  We won’t tell you because I can still hear my mother’s mortified lecture from back when I was 6 about being a gracious gift recipient.)  Everything is new and unused except the gift bags.

So it seems like a win-win all around (except maybe goodwill and daycare).   Since it’s regifting, the value of the package is more than what we’d buy new, especially since most books are in the $10 to $15 range all by themselves (though they can be $3 when bought in sets from Scholastic.)

But maybe we’re delusional.

Are we going too far by passing off brand-new in packaging gifts to other unsuspecting parents?  Should we be heading out to Target at each birthday party?

Do you ever regift like this?  Would you be insulted if you found out we had?

21 Responses to “Frugal confession”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I feel bad. In hindsight I caught someone re-gifting a baby toy. I told her that I had the same toy already and instead of offering a receipt, she said to keep it and re-gift it. Oops.

    If I re-gift something I usually tell the person. Like “hey, my son already has 8 million car sets and here’s an extra one we don’t need. My friends and I are cool with that kind of stuff.

    For stranger people (like daycare or school friends) I will buy new and attach a gift receipt.

  2. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    What about buying new from places that don’t give gift receipts? Recently Scholastic had a good deal on Ferdinand (which we LOVE but alone generally costs $12-17 by itself), so I bought a couple of extra copies to add to the gift shelf. Also a word puzzle that DC loved that’s only available from Scholastic.

    What if we got new hand crafted toxin-free toys that came without receipts? (As we have done for baby toys for folks.)

    What if we were trying to save the planet and only bought used things?

  3. Molly On Money Says:

    I love re-gifting!
    I’m the friend in the group that is the anti-keep-up-with-the-Jones. My friends make fun of me how much I re-gift and how blatant I am about it.
    Every year about a month before Christmas I intend to have a toy swap with all my friends. It’s the ultimate in re-gifting. You get all your friends who have kids together with all the give-away toys and start swapping. It makes gift giving much cheaper! Hmmm….maybe this will be the year…..

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That sounds fun. Our friends that just moved were doing toy trading, so that they’d have someone else’s toys to play with for a little while, which was nice. It is crazy how much STUFF builds up, and how little they play with most of it.

  4. Roshawn @ Watson Inc Says:

    I’m not a regifter although I don’t have a problem with it as long as it is done with the receiver in mind. For example, don’t give someone junk and expect a smile of genuine gratitude. You’ll likely get that smile, but possibly hurt feelings. Crappy gifts reflect badly on the giver.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      No, never give junk! And the grandparents never give us junk… but they do sometimes give things that aren’t quite in line with where we are. And, we often get copies of books that we already have.

  5. Everyday Tips Says:

    Well, if the gift is suitable for the child, then why not? (Unless the person that gave your child the present will be at the party, then I wouldn’t do it.)

    My house could be a library, we have soooo many books. I can’t part with many of them, but I have donated a ton. Books are the one thing I will always spend money on.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      So far, DC hasn’t had a birthday party of hir own, so these are all gifts from grandparents or duplicates of things he already owns that I got with a set from Scholastic.

      Though with this last Scholastic order, DC grew out of a big set of the easy reader books I ordered between the time I ordered them and the time they came. (He leveled up… now begging for book 9 in the Magic Treehouse series, “Mommy, can we just buy it with money?” but he’s going to have to wait another month for the next Scholastic order… which will give us duplicates of #1-8 along with #9-30.) So a bunch of step 1 books are going to this weekend’s 3 year old birthday party, along with that word matching puzzle. The 5 year old party (2 hours after the 3 year old one) this weekend is getting Skippy Jon Jones, Frederick, and a bunch of step 2 books and a letter-tracing game. We’ll see how much they like those compared to the inevitable barbies they’ll be getting from other folks.

      Man, I LOVE books.

  6. Becky Says:

    I agree with Everyday Tips; as long as you are giving with the recipient in mind (and the gifts are new/in good shape) then I think it’s great. I believe most people would agree that they don’t need more junk around their houses, so if there is something you arent’ going to use you might as well give it to someone else. If it happens that that coincides with needing a gift for a party, great! Also, like you said, the kids are getting more than they normally would since you aren’t spending money on the gift at the time.
    In short, I say keep it up!

  7. Lindy Mint Says:

    I’m not organized enough to re-gift. I have a basket on the top shelf of my closet with potential re-gifts, but I always forget about it when the time comes.

    But I think there is nothing wrong with what you’re doing. It sounds win-win to me. And you don’t become resentful of all the preschool parties because you don’t have the $15 Target drop every time. I sometimes feel kind of bad buying presents for other kids because I know how much I dread when presents come in at my own kids’ parties (I guess I feel bad for their parents).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m a little anxious about the birthday party that DC now expects in the future precisely for that reason. (S)He already has so much stuff… Santa is definitely not coming this year except to fill stockings.

  8. Money Reasons Says:

    I’m not a regifter, but my wife has done that a few times…

    Why not? If the gift has value, then why not regift it to someone else, if your child (or even a gift for you) doesn’t provide the same level of value for your household…

    I say good for you, frugal, but more importantly, clever!!!

  9. Donna Freedman Says:

    I *love* regifting. It’s like somebody else buying my presents for me! ;-)
    Seriously: If the item is new or at least in pristine condition, no one will know. Kids, I’ve found, like multi-piece gifts so a bag with several things in it was probably received with great enthusiasm.
    Last year I regifted gift cards. Is there a word for that? There should be.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’re good with the multi-piece bags. :)

      After my kid was born, we regifted a lot of those gift cards… we just didn’t have time to keep track and we had baby friends who could use a $20 Target gift card a lot more than we could.

  10. eemusings Says:

    No. I might be irritated if it was a lame gift regifted – shows lack of effort. If it’s a decent gift, couldn’t care less where it came from!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t think our gifts are lame, but then, we’re not 3-5 year olds. I’m afraid any $10-15 gift we pick out is going to have a lack of effort because we don’t actually know any of these kids very well. We save up our thoughtful gift giving for relatives and Christmas.

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