This and That

Budgeting for Gifts

Posted on: September 19, 2011

The gift category always trips up my budget and sends me to overspend. My bad month is August when there are like four friend’s birthdays including my own. In the past I would stress over what to get each person, search the stores for the perfect gift, and pay whatever the cost to bring them birthday joy. I have since learned that joy, particularly birthday joy, doesn’t come in a box. Your gift is truly you being there for their party, dinner, or calling them and having time for a meaningful conversation (and not in a cheesy greeting card kind of way). As adults, we have everything we already need and we are completely capable for buying things we want for ourselves. So stop spending your money on buying gifts for your friends, they don’t need anything but your friendship!

Kid’s birthdays are a different matter. I love buying gifts for kids because they truly love new toys and it really makes their day. But kids are excited about anything new, no matter the size. For a recent birthday party, we got this little girl two small My Little Ponies which I believe were on clearance sale. This girl got tons of presents, many of them huge in size, but it was our little clearance sale ponies that won her heart. In fact her mom sent me a picture of the girl with the ponies at a restaurant for her special dinner….apparently she just HAD to bring them along.

Another interesting development with kid’s birthdays is many parents don’t want you to give their kids presents at all. There is a enough toys in their house and they don’t want anymore more clutter. My one good friend actually asks guests instead of bringing a gift to bring lightly used clothes or shoes to donate to charity. Her kids have no idea they aren’t getting gifts, trust me they have TONS of toys at home to play with.

When it comes to your own family I think the same rule should apply for all adults, they don’t need anything from you except your presence at their birthday celebration. There is no gift giving among adults in my family, just hugs and well wishes. Of course, as parents we want to spoil our children but I have noticed that my boys don’t notice if hubby and I give them a gift at all. They are just happy to have a party and most importantly to have cake. We LOVE cake in our house!

So, I think I have made my point. Keep gifts simple if you give any gifts at all. A photo frame with a cute picture is great and homemade treats are wonderful. In fact, I just baked some cookies for a friend’s birthday and let me tell you, he was thrilled. Another friend is a candy addict so we always go to a candy shop and fill up one bag of various candies. It’s always a huge hit.

For your budget, to give you a monetary example; hubby and I budget $30/month for gifts and we do let it roll over each month just in case. I have found this is more than enough, even in August.

1 Response to "Budgeting for Gifts"

Very well said. I think that the advertising companies have made us all feel guilty if we don’t give the perfect gift to that perfect/special person – and with adults it is the gift of time that is so very important.

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