6 Common Gift Buying Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Gift Buying Mistakes

Published on May 18th, 2022

Research shows that in recent years, the average American spent over $1000 on holiday gift-giving alone.

Choosing the perfect gift for someone can be tricky. Plenty of factors influence what will be the ideal gift for any given person and situation, not the least of which include your budget.

Not to worry! We’ve got you covered with this list of 6 common gift buying mistakes and how to avoid them so you can find the perfect gift for your loved one.

1. Choosing An Inappropriate Gift

Always consider what kind of gift is appropriate for the occasion. For example, you should probably avoid giving sexy lingerie to a bride if the bridal shower includes her soon-to-be mother-in-law.


When in doubt, err on the side of classy, especially for wedding events. It doesn’t matter how “funny” you may think a gift will be…

Odds are you’ll embarrass yourself. Instead, choose something the receiver will appreciate and save the jokes for later.

2. Getting The Wrong Size

Knowing the right sizes for clothes and shoes can be tricky when you’re buying gifts online. Avoid gifting something the receiver can never use by making sure you have their correct measurements.

When buying clothes, sometimes number-sizes varies by manufacturer. A size 6 from one seller may fit more like a size 4 from another.

Avoid getting your loved one an ill-fitting gift by using their actual measurements to select your items.

3. Buying Cheap

Gifting is no time to be a bargain hunter. If you buy too cheap, your receiver will be able to tell.

This can be especially important when choosing a gift for a major occasion. First communion gift etiquette, wedding etiquette, and other major event etiquette require you avoid being skimpy.

It looks tacky to bring something chosen from the clearance aisle. The only time you might get away with this is when buying gifts for children.

4. Spending Too Much

On the flip side, spending too much on a gift can sometimes be just as awkward as spending too little. Remember Michael Scott and the iPod for Ryan.

Doing too much for a receiver can put them in an uncomfortable position. This is especially true if you’re both giving gifts to one another and your loved one doesn’t spend as much as you did.

Consider the occasion and select something tasteful but modest. Having a budget for your gift is always a good idea.

5. Poor Timing

This one is easy. The “happy belated birthday” wishes are just that, they’re late.

Giving a gift after the birthday, anniversary, or holiday just tells the receiver, “Getting this to you on time wasn’t worth my time.” Or worse, “I forgot.”

There are some exceptions to late giving. For example, it’s typically within proper etiquette to give a wedding gift up to one year after the nuptials take place.

6. Buying For Yourself

Got a significant other? Wanna keep them?

Don’t buy gifts that are really for you. Your loved one will be able to tell if you bought that paddleboard for them, or for you to take out on the lake in your new truck this weekend.

When choosing a thoughtful gift, set yourself aside.

Consider what your receiver would genuinely be happy to receive. Consider their preferences, interests, and tastes.

Avoid The Worst Gift Buying Mistakes

At the end of the day, avoiding gift buying mistakes may be as simple as asking someone what they’d like. If that’s neither possible nor appropriate, given the occasion, try not to stress.

There’s a reason gift receipts exist.

For more helpful life hacks and fun ideas, browse our Lifestyle section.

Relevant Resources On Perfect Gifts