The 5 Dumbest Gifts for Your Girl

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Shopping for that special someone, guys? Everybody is different, but if you don't know how to shop for women, here are five things you might want to cross off your list.

When it comes to gift-giving, the thought does count – but think twice before you shop for the special lady on your list.

Although we pick presents with good intentions, let’s not forget that good intentions also pave the road to hell.  So if you’re a guy without much experience in gifting, or if your special someone has ever found your “perfect gift” perfectly offensive, read on – today we talk about the worst things you can give a girl and why. On Friday, it’s the guys turn.

Guys generally like practical gifts and gadgets – which is why we’re confused that girls don’t.  Sometimes they do, but problems pop up when a gift seems too practical, comes with expectations or implies something lacking in your relationship. To flesh out the ideas presented in the video above, here are five categories of gifts the untrained guy might want to avoid.

1. Virtually anything that belongs in a kitchen or is even remotely associated with housework

Dinnerware, utensils, pots and pans, and especially anything that plugs in – these are bad. They might be OK for your mom or grandma, but not for your girlfriend or wife. Why? Let me count the ways. If it’s kitchen-related, the implication is that she should cook for you. Even if your intention is to cut down on the time she spends cooking or to make things easier for her, it’ll come across as the gift of being your personal cook and waitress. Ouch. Likewise things like vacuum cleaners or anything that suggests housework. In fact, to be on the safe side, just avoid electrical cords entirely: there’s nothing that plugs in that she’ll find romantic in any way.  And lest you forget, guys, romance is what this entire exchange is about.

2. Clothes

Even if you know her size and favorite colors, this is still risky territory. Fashion is personal, and for many guys, a complete and utter mystery.  Do you understand the cuts, fits, and fabrics she likes? Do you know if she cares about the latest trends or the popular labels, and what those are? It’s late in the game to start watching Project Runway. If you pick wrong, the best-case scenario is she’ll feel obligated to wear your gift a few times and gradually move it toward the back of the closet. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll buy her something a size too large and she’ll think you’re saying she’s fat – the equivalent of her buying a magnifying hat to accentuate your bald spot. But worse – much worse. And lingerie? That’s a gift for you, not her.

Does that mean you should never choose clothes? I won’t go that far – after all, you have to buy her something that doesn’t plug in. But recognize that you’re entering a minefield. If you insist on stepping into it, there are two ways to go. The first is to take one of her girlfriends shopping with you – then if it blows up in your face, blame the entire outcome – from idea to execution – on her friend: she won’t be there on Christmas morning to defend herself.  But the absolute best way to approach to clothes? Make a nice card that promises her a shopping spree on your dime, maybe during after-Christmas sales, with you in attendance. Love is about sacrifice, guys.

3. Restaurant gift certificates

Based on number one, this might seem like a good idea. Get her out of the kitchen – date night and all that, right? Wrong. This is  essentially giving her money and asking her to buy you a meal – at a restaurant you picked. It also comes across as a thoughtless gift, because it’s something you could have picked up at the last minute at the local grocery store. Give her a bottle of champagne with a card attached promising her a night on the town taking her wherever she wants, whenever she wants.

4. Anything remotely related to losing weight or becoming a better person

Gym memberships, exercise equipment, scales, self-help books and videos, cookbooks: bad. Seriously bad. Even if she mentions wanting any of these things, that doesn’t mean she wants them from you. You might as well tell her that yes, now that you think about it, her butt does look fat in those jeans after all.

5. Anything related to cars

I know: it’s hard to imagine that a set of new tires isn’t the perfect gift.  But for some reason, women seem attracted to  accessories for what they wear, not what they drive. There’s really nothing romantic about car repairs, either. There is one notable exception to this rule, however: an actual, brand-new car. I’m not sure why this is an exception, but I think it has something to do with the price.

So what’s left?

Diamonds, obviously. Seriously though, while jewelry can be a good gift, this isn’t about money. The best gifts you can give (or receive, for that matter) are personal. They’re things that show you actually know and care about what she values both physically and emotionally. Anything that involves spending more time with her is a good bet. Instead of giving gift cards or picking the wrong clothes, make a card and write a nice, romantic note promising to take her out, cook her dinner or do some task for her.  Take her on a vacation, take her dancing, take her somewhere she’s talked about and thinks you’ve forgotten about. In short, give her a memory – but don’t forget to follow through, and the sooner the better.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t buy things. But when you do, use your imagination before you use your money. One day a couple of years ago, my girlfriend casually mentioned that she’d always wanted a star tattooed on her ankle.  When her birthday rolled around six months later, I gave her a gift certificate for a tattoo.  It was completely unexpected, because I rarely remember stuff like that – plus it was adventurous, permanent, and therefore, romantic – definitely not something I’d give my mom.

While a tattoo might not be the perfect gift for the woman who makes your heart skip a beat, the point is to find something that reminds her that she makes your heart skip a beat.

Now ladies, what about you: ever get a really horrible gift? Enter our Worst Gift Ever contest. You’ll laugh at some of the dozens of entries we’ve already gotten – tell us yours and you might win a Flip Mino HD video camera.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 50 Ways to Make a Fast $50

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,001 more deals!