There is no natural law that says men must buy presents for women. The time and effort you put in is a gift in itself. But presents or talk of presents can be used strategically to help push things along. There may be some situations where a cheap or thoughtful gift can bypass certain dynamics or obstacles. There is also the concept of using the idea you 'might' buy a girl a gift to gauge a reaction, maintain interest or lure a girl closer. Best of all many times in my life I've had girls buy me gifts so we can also help engineer situations where girls buy us gifts!*
I wanted to share some advice on these different dynamics and welcome input.
The first principle is the easiest - that is don't buy gifts. Make your stories entertaining, make her excited with who you are and your confidence, make her have a great date and be a good lover - that is all she needs and all you need to provide initially.*
The second principle is never buy or make a gift for someone that you have no guarantee of being with. It's a turbo boost, not first gear.
The third principle is to spend no or little money. It is the thought that counts. Emotional connections. If it is valentines, Christmas or her birthday around the time you are tuning a girl it may be strategic to buy a present. *Don't spend much money or excessive time making something, procure a present that is thoughtful or strategic. An example of thoughtful could be quickly drawing your own card up for a birthday or buying something cheap that relates to her like a tiny dolphin keyring from a toy store if she likes dolphins (whatever you have found out about her) or bringing her a single hersheys kiss if she likes chocolate. This leads into strategic gifts. A small bag of Hershey kisses will cost you nothing, will not be decadently indulging for her, is easy to accept and eat in front of you (bring yourself one too) and strategically programs that you are 'sharing a kiss together'. Another strategic example that works well for younger girls or long distance relationships is to buy a small, cheap but soft and cuddly Teddy bear thing. Each time she sleeps she will remember you (induces sexual and companionship feelings). With a little bit of cash you can be instantly and even permanently in her bed. The dolphin or rabbit keyring permanently in her possession. She is thinking about you. These sorts of presents are really easy, don't really show you are trying to 'buy love' but make you different and 'memorable' or even permanent in the girls eye. If a girl has many guys buying her presents refer back to principle 1.
The fourth principal is to use the illusion of gifts to signify yourself as a 'provider' or to create some push pull. Here are some examples and you can also put the whole gift thing back onto her, similar to asking a girl to buy you a drink or dinner.
'will you buy me a present on my birthday?' (shit tests her, positions you as the catch, indicates you are potentially a present buying guy, but forces her to decide if she likes you enough to buy you a gift)
'have you you got an iPad or tablet? Would you like to have this model if you could? Do you like black or white?' (ambiguous question that may give you additional intel on her personality and give the illusion you might actually go and buy such an impressive gift)
'oh that's right, it's valentines day soon, Maybe I'll have to search out a good flower shop...hmmm' Say it in a way where she will be encouraged to chase YOU, seducing you to like her enough to actually buy her flowers...refrain from saying you WILL buy her something or if you do say it is 'secret' so she still has to work hard for her 'reward' and you also elevate mystery. The goal is to control the dynamic of her chasing you.*
Some other potential gift strategies:
Valentines day. If you have just started chasing a girl or haven't met yet there is not really any need to buy anything for valentines. A quick text message or wish is all that is needed. If you say something too soppy and long you risk coming across as AFC, if you don't say anything you risk coming across as unthoughtful or potentially a partner that forgets important dates or emotional connections. Just text 'happy valentines day' with a wink symbol. If you have not slept with a girl but are out on a date on valentines she will probably sleep with you because she has accepted to spend valentines day with you. You do not need a gift. Just say happy valentines and cheers drinks. *A small Hershey kiss or rose later if you must. *It is a first or early date so you are positioning yourself as the alpha who is still deciding whether the girl meets his standards. She will not have brought you along a Bosch drill so there is no need to turn up with anything more than your own confidence. If you are in a relationship the best valentines day gift IMO is flowers and all you need is a single cheap rose. You do not need a huge bunch of flowers, a fancy card, chocolates, expensive dinners, a CD made up of your favorite tunes. A single rose (cheap!) is all you need. Flowers beat all other gifts for valentines. It could even be some flower you picked from a garden for free. The flower taps into a myriad of evolutionary and cultural connections.
Perfume and jewelry. Good for LTR to enhance attraction and commitment but otherwise don't even think about spending loads of cash like this.
Don't even think about becoming a bank for a girl. I've watched a couple of guys I know lend money to girls before or during dating and they were always used, ripped off and spat out. Avoid gold diggers and test girls attitudes to money and men during the pick up process. You could do this by 'role playing' you are extremely rich or poor.*
Holiday/travel gift. You meet a girl but have to go away before any escalation has happened or there is going to be scheduling complexity. If you can, reverse the present thing back on her 'its my birthday soon, have you got me a present yet?' said with a cocky smile. 'you are going away? Oh that's a shame. You'll have to bring me back some _______ from there, I heard they are delicious/good'. You can gauge her feelings for you by her reaction or endeavour to get you a gift. If you are going to buy something tell her you will bring her a 'surprise' gift from your travels (whether that location is exotic or not is irrelevant). Women go nuts at 'surprise' gifts and it can be a strategic approach to keeping a girl interested during schedule clashes or long distances. Again do not spend much money, if any, and focus the present towards things that will help make you unique, a catch, thoughtful, creative, dhv, alpha etc. You are not trying to come across as a hopeless AFC romantic but you are using the gift dynamic to encourage HER to always be thinking of YOU. It has to be emphasized that you need to give the girl the impression that she has to work for your attention - in this case she has to work for the lure of a gift (she doesn't know what the gift is). So again the gift might be a cheap Hershey kiss or a $2 trinket. Or it's flipped so she has to decide/work to get you a present for your approval.
Workplace fruit. I discovered an interesting thing a number of years ago. At work I started bringing in a weeks supply of fruit to the work fridge as I was on a health kick. Id have apples, oranges, bannanas, a mango or two, strawberries. Whatever. A few times I wanted a selection in one go so I chopped up a few different fruits and because I couldn't eat it all, I handed it around the department in the afternoon. Everybody likes fruit, especially when it's freshly chopped and easy to have a nibble. I didn't do this every day of course, it was just random kindness and a good chance to go and have a gossip with a few people. A bit like Dexter buying donuts. A lot of the girls however saw this as incredibly attractive. It is certainly a 'sweet' thing to do but it taps into you being different, you being a catch (provider/potentially healthy mate) and you improve your diet in the process! On a primal level you are the leader - the prophet - the robin hood - handing around exotic nutritious food for the 'clan'. The monkey king who finds an abundant fruit tree. You have a way to impress and meet girls from your office/group and can even help moral by such a simple act. Giving things away by sharing often attracts people towards you. Leaders give rewards as well as orders.
Cooking. Girls like a guy that can cook. It's a pretty strong and potentially expensive gift to a girl but also one that can bypass many stages of seduction. A good second date could be to invite a girl to your place to cook her dinner. To say yes to that she is basically saying yes to having sex because she is also accepting to enter your apartment and return the favor of dinner in flesh. Or be invited to a girls apartment for her to cook or to your apartment where she cooks 'oh you say you are a good cook? Well I'd like to try!' you bypass straight to being together as a couple and into each others places. A girl accepting such offers will usually sleep with you. You can even use talking about cooking a meal to test women 'do you cook? I've been getting better at cooking _____ at the moment' she may instigate 'ooh I'd like to try' or you can 'perhaps you might be lucky to try sometime'. *If a girl says 'yes' she is practically saying yes to having sex with you. You can bring food or cooking up in a text, on a first date, with a co-worker friend you like. The gift of food can be used advantageously even without picking up a saucepan.
Home made. Girls obviously like guys who are talented. If you have any arts and crafts skills that is a good way to position yourself as unique. You don't have to craft a masterpiece for a girl - your gift might be simply showing your artwork and the stories behind it or giving her something you have already done and don't mind parting with or a quick piece that shows your talent or is unique to her. Most guys are not very creative so it's easy to boost yourself upwards with simple imaginative gestures even if it's funny stick figures. The goal is to distill whole pick up stages into a little easy to make but potent packages.
Words. If you have good conversational skills you wont need to make or buy anything except construct magic with words. Consider vocabulary the best gift of all.