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Birthday Gifts

Finding birthday gifts shouldn't be too challenging if you pay attention to what the person you're giving the gift to likes and appreciates.

Finding the perfect gift

First of all, there's really no such thing as the perfect birthday gift, so take a little pressure off yourself and shoot for a good birthday gift. The easiest way to find birthday gifts that the recipient will like is by paying attention to what they like. Does you wife like to cook? Has she been talking about learning how to make new recipes? Maybe you should think about getting her a new cookbook or a subscription to a cooking magazine.

If you're not quite sure what the person wants, ask them to give you some suggestions. Sometimes when you ask for suggestions, the person will name three specific things they want for birthday gifts. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for them to guess what you bought them when their birthday rolls around. Instead, ask them what stores they like and, if necessary, ask what size they wear. This should get you pointed in the right direction.

Set a budget

Before you set out on your shopping trip, set a budget for yourself. Do not overextend yourself just to buy someone birthday gifts. If you can only afford a gift that's $50 or less, that's fine, but stick to your budget. Keeping a budget will make you feel better about buying the gift.

Give yourself some time

Sometimes you can find a great last minute birthday score, but it doesn't happen very often. Start thinking about what to get the birthday person a month before their birthday. This will give you plenty of time to ask questions, compare prices and find the gift. Going in last minute puts you at risk of night finding the right gift or having to order a gift. It never looks good when you show up to someone's birthday and then have to tell them that you ordered it, but…

Basic suggestions

For those of you who are having trouble figuring out what to buy, here's some popular birthday gifts for men, women and children. All three love technology and are into the iPod shuffle (about $79), CDs, cell phone and computer accessories. Don't want to dive into the techie world? That's fine. Common gifts for women include flowers, spa and bathroom accessories, clothing gift certificates, gardening tools, stationary and chocolate. Gifts for men can include golf balls, shaving sets, tools, books about sports and sports equipment. Kids like board games, computer games, movies and gift certificates to toy stores and movie theatres.

Whatever you do, keep the receipt. There's an off chance that no matter how hard you try to find the perfect birthday gifts, your birthday boy or girl might need to return them.

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