Personal Concierge Shopping Tips





Gift hampers are suitable for any occasion and making them yourself will add a personal touch that will certainly impress the receiver. Creating a clever hamper can be surprisingly easy with a few simple tips:

1. Set a budget. Purchasing all your little goodies for your hamper can add up so set yourself a budget and don’t forget to include the cost of delivering it.

2. Think of a theme and brainstorm ideas of what to include. This is where the fun begins. Here are some suggestions:

Wine Lovers Basket – bottle of wine, fancy cheeses, bottle opener, glasses, a wine journal.

Coffee Lovers Hamper – assorted coffees, plunger, chocolate coated coffee beans, biscotti, coffee appreciation book.

Car Care Hamper – car wash, polish, chamois, sponge, tyre gauge, car magazine subscription, toy matchbox car.

Movie Hamper – vouchers to a cinema or DVD rental store, popcorn, jaffas, book – ‘1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.’

Chocolate Addicts Hamper – anything and everything chocolate! Include chocolate sauce, hot chocolate and a chocolate cookbook.

3. Chose your basket or container. You can use anything – a terracotta pot, wrapped box, colander, ice bucket or wicker basket.  The more imagination you use the better the gift will look.

4. Lay out some cellophane, place the empty basket on top and line with tissue paper.

5. Assemble the items in the basket so that they are pleasing to the eye.  Make sure that the labels can be seen, too.

6. Gather the corners of cellophane, tie together with a big ribbon and add a gift card.

7. Deliver your item personally, by your favourite courier or carefully packed in a big box and sent in by Australia Post.

I love to give gift hampers and watch the look on the recipients face as they dig into the treasure trove to see what other goodies are stashed inside.

If you find you haven’t the time to assemble these yourself, contact your personal concierge to do it, she might just deliver it for you too!

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Sometimes the amount you spend at the grocery store can vastly differ from one week to the next, which makes accurate budgeting very difficult. With a few simple points and a bit of practice you can perfect the art of shopping on a budget.

  • Unit pricing – recently introduced in all supermarkets, this means the cost of all items are now broken down into one base unit price, making it easier to work out most cost-effective brand to buy.
  • Plan Ahead – planning your menu for the week and writing a list will not only avoid buying items you don’t need, it will also mean you don’t forget anything. You won’t impulse buy and if you plan really carefully you can ensure no food goes to waste.
  • Buy in bulk – items such as meat (to freeze), flour, cereals, nuts and dried fruit.
  • Buy seasonal – visit your local growers or farmers market where you will not only notice a significant difference in the cost of fresh fruit and veg, the quality and freshness is far better as well.
  • Try alternatives – instead of using meat for every dish, which is the most expensive item on the grocery bill, try using lentils, beans, tofu or just add more vegetables.
  • Take advantages of specials from weekly catalogues – stock up on staples when they are on special. Once you get into this practice you will never pay full price for any of these items.
  • Shop around – get to know where certain items you buy a lot are always cheapest eg baby formula.
  • A healthy diet is usually low in processed items.  Take pre-made biscuits and packaged goods off your menu and replace them with fresh foods and you will notice a big saving.
  • If you have a busy lifestyle make sure that you stock your fridge and pantry with food that is fast to prepare.  Pasta and stir fries are fast to make and you won’t have to resort to takeaways.
  • Pay attention at the register.  Make sure you are getting your purchases at the advertised price.
  • Just because it is ‘home brand’ doesn’t mean it is bad.  Some of the staple items are actually quite good.
  • Shop towards the end of the week.  All the specials will be marked and often there are discount items beginning to appear.
  • Shop towards the end of the day (or very early in the morning depending on the way your store works) and you’ll find things which are getting close to sell by date which have been marked down.  Most items can be frozen for later use.
  • If you find that you can’t resist the treats that you see whenever you shop, think about having someone like a Personal Concierge do your shopping for you.  You’ll save on stress, time and kilojoules.

If you follow these tips and make a few adjustments to your purchasing, the amount you pay at the checkout will leave you pleasantly surprised!

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This week Debbie Alford from Day 2 Day Personal Concierge shows you some handy products to have in the home or packed in your suitcase when travelling.

If you would like more information, please contact Debbie

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Well it’s about that time of year already – you know the time when you really should start thinking about Christmas. What? Surely not; but as the management of department stores will tell you, Christmas planning starts in October – well the decorations are out already, so it must be!

Whether you are happy about it or not, now is the time to get the thinking caps on and explore ways of letting your clients know exactly how much you appreciate them. You might do this at other times of the year but for now we will concentrate on the festive season.

According to research a handwritten Christmas card and envelope are the most appreciated items received by clients and customers. This is something your staff could help you with too.

A donation to charity on a client’s behalf is not often viewed favourably. According to Flying Solo “Some people who receive this sort of gift think that you are too busy and they are not important enough for you to spend the time selecting an appropriate gift.” Of course this isn’t to say that it wouldn’t be appreciated by some – maybe make further enquiries about your client’s favourite charity if you wish to pursue this.

What about a hamper? Rather than a “Christmas hamper”, often full of little packets of shortbread and jams, why not source a hamper with goods supplied or produced by a local business. For others there are websites who will produce personalised labels for beer or wine. Perhaps you have a photo of your client or their logo that can be used (rather than your logo) – a thoughtful touch.

Another idea is to organise a local massage therapist for a seated massage session for your client and staff in their office. Perhaps a gift certificate for a champagne breakfast or a wine tour or even a package of time from a personal concierge would be appropriate for some clients.

Perhaps you have thought of some interesting gift ideas – would love to hear about them.

Remember, that if it starts to get ‘all too hard’ or you find yourself running out of time – give me a call, I’ll help you!

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Further to yesterday’s post about travel tips, here is one of my favourite stores where you will find many items of women’s clothing suitable for your next holiday.

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