Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What do you spend on gifts?

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A great follow up question from Tricia


Also, what do you think is the appropriate amount of money to spend on gifts?
- wedding you attend locally 
- wedding you attend but must travel 
- wedding you don't attend 
- bridal and/or baby shower you attend locally 
- bridal and/or baby shower you don't attend locally 
- bridal and/or baby shower you don't attend b/c out of town but were invited to
- birthday no event required
- birthday with an event you attend (ie. dinner, drinks, etc) 

I know each situation is different but just a ballpark number. What is your rule of thumb?

Here goes:


- wedding you attend locally 
I'd try to get something off the registry (they made it for a reason!), probably between $50-$100 depending on how well I know the couple. Sometimes I get something inexpensive and clear, like a pitcher or vase, and fill it with crumpled up one dollar bills. It seems silly, but twice I've been effusively thanked for providing the happy couple with spending cash for their after-wedding run to a fast-food place because they were STARVING. 

- wedding you attend but must travel 
Also between $50-$100 depending on my relationship to the couple. If I have to fly I'm probably ordering something from the registry to be delivered right to them, so I don't get to do my clever gift trick above. (I'd try to get free shipping.)

- wedding you don't attend 
I have only turned down a wedding invitation once in my life, when it was utterly impossible for me to attend and I was flat broke. I sent them a very pretty $10 candle. I felt small about it, but it was truly all I could afford at the time. If it were to come up now, I'd probably stick with $50-$100.
 
- bridal and/or baby shower you attend locally 
I go a little smaller on shower gifts -- maybe $25-$30. And if there's a theme, I try to stick with it! 
 
- bridal and/or baby shower you don't attend locally  and
- bridal and/or baby shower you don't attend b/c out of town but were invited to
I don't usually give a gift for a shower I don't attend. (It's not required.) If I'm not attending, I'm probably not that close to them, particularly if it's local, and if I'm traveling for the wedding, I'll bring or send a gift for that.

- birthday no event required
I do not exchange birthday gifts with my friends, the majority of my family, or my husband. The exceptions are my youngest sister who is still a kid and my mother who gets flowers. I do send cards to the rest of my parents/in-laws and siblings. (I also no longer exchange gifts with my adult siblings for Christmas, at least if we're not in the same state at the holiday.)
 
In my opinion, birthday gifts are for children (who I am happy to buy for) but for grown-ups it seems superfluous. My friends can buy themselves whatever they need and want and they'll do a better job of picking it out for themselves anyway. 

- birthday with an event you attend (ie. dinner, drinks, etc)
If there's a birthday outing, I will happily chip in to cover the birthday person's dinner or buy them a drink or whatever. But I don't bring cards or presents.
 
 
Of course, all of these stances are my opinion. What do YOU do in the situations above?

4 comments:

  1. Oh interesting question. I'll go:

    1 - All weddings, travel required or not, I keep my gift to around $100 or $150.

    2 - Showers of all kinds somewhere around $25 or so, and like you said, try to stick to the registry/theme of the shower. If I don't attend, I don't buy a gift.

    3 - Birthdays. My sweetie and I exchange gifts and I get his kids gifts on their b-day. Neither of us have parents left, so that's a non-issue. Siblings we usually do a dinner over at someone's house, grill out, make cake, etc. Cards, yes - gifts, no. I do cards but not gifts for friends although I do have two girlfriends who we each take the other out to lunch on our birthdays (or sometime around then).

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  2. This is really interesting!

    I'm very similar to you in regards to what I give. For local weddings we usually give a gift from the registry valued around $50, and a card with a thoughtful message. Ditto for weddings requiring travel, since we don't travel for weddings unless we're quite close to the couple.

    We don't get invited to a lot of weddings so it's rare that we don't attend, but if we're not attending it's usually because we're not very close to the couple or the wedding requires expensive travel. If we don't know the couple well, we send a gift and nice card, but the gift isn't super expensive--maybe $25. If the wedding is just too expensive then we spend $50 or so as we would with a wedding we attended.

    I don't really go to bridal showers, but for baby showers I like to put together little baskets of necessary baby items. We usually spend about $30 on that. I don't give gifts for showers I don't attend except in the case of showers I wanted to go to but had scheduling conflicts with (like the time my stepsister scheduled my sister-in-law's baby shower on my 21st birthday, for example. Of course I still gave my sister-in-law a gift!)

    My friends and I don't really exchange birthday gifts anymore, but I do give gifts to my sister, my husband, my parents, and my daughter (obviously). I will happily chip in for food for the birthday person on outings, and there are a couple friends who I do exchange gifts with, but that's usually something small like a book or a scarf.

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  3. I'm rather socially broken so really, really hate going to weddings. That saves a lot on dresses/travel but isn't exactly an easy option - but easier for me than actually going ;). My partner sometimes goes alone if he knows the couple better than I do. Gifts of about £50 ($80) when I/he goes.

    One of my closest friends had a baby 18 months ago - I probably spent about £50 ($80) on things for her/him -- clothes for a variety of age ranges and a buggy blanket that again can be used for years. Other friends who've had babies tend to get a toy from a beautiful but surprisingly inexpensive range - about £10-15 ($15-20).

    I don't really exchange birthday gifts with anyone at the moment - I'll probably give some of the babies birthday presents when they're a little older - but for everyone else, I just buy things for them when I see them, not waiting for birthdays/Christmas - or give homegrown gifts when they're in season. I will chip in for food/drinks at an event though. Definitely no cards.

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  4. I'm a big gift-giver and so, I always buy birthday gifts for my BF (and vice versa), my mom, my brother and his girlfriend, and my five closest friends. (I REALLY go crazy at the holidays!) For weddings I generally spend $100 or slightly more for a close friend, $50 or so for everyone else, and $25 or $30 if it's a coworker or someone I hardly know.

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Thanks for commenting!