Author Topic: Can't afford to spend more on gifts  (Read 3109 times)

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lilblu

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Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« on: January 12, 2013, 05:37:13 PM »
I haven't yet exchanged Christmas presents with two of my older relatives (they're married) because they were on vacation during Christmas, then they got sick, and I got sick. So we're supposed to exchange gifts within the the next day or two.

The problem is that they usually spend a combined total of about $100 to $200 on me and I can only afford to spend maybe $15 each on them. I usually go in with another relative so that allows us to spend about $30 on each of them.

So I feel really crappy about the gifts we got for them this year. I did really good at finding discounted items (I got two items for 62% off), but I still feel crappy. I can probably afford to spend more, but where does it stop? Money is tight and I don't want to ever be in debt, so I live very frugally. They used to only spend maybe $75 on me, and now they're spending between $100 to $200. I shouldn't have to keep increasing what I'm spending on them just because they have a spending disorder. Yes, they actually have a shopping/spending addiction. I know that in the last month they spent $5,000 on Christmas presents and other stuff, and they owe at least $10,000 on one of their credit cards.

Someone please make me feel better. I've literally spent 12 hrs per day for 7 days searching the internet for something else to get them and I can't find a thing in my price range. Well, I did find something but it won't get here in time. I drive myself crazy every year over this, but this year has been the worst.  :-[ :(  I'd say something to them about not spending so much, but I'm afraid I might hurt their feelings.

Coruscation

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 05:43:23 PM »
Are they nice people? Because if they are, they won't care. We had a good year this year and got an enormous bonus. I sneaked in a bit of extra money over the agreed upon spending limit to 'share the wealth', so to speak. (I also lied through my teeth and claimed to have gotten items on special when asked.) I would hate to think that a gift intended to give them pleasure caused them stress.

sevenday

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 07:34:39 PM »
My older brother rarely, if ever, gives gifts for birthdays/Christmases.  This is mostly because he has a fairly low paying job and a family to support, house to upkeep, etc.  He's said before not to get him big/expensive things because he can't reciprocate. I still get him something for Christmas so he has something to open.  This last Christmas it was a $20 board game that he'd wanted - he could play with us, or with others.   He was happy with that.  Yes, I know I won't get anything, but I like to give, so I give.  In case of your relatives, the amount they spend on you  - as painful as it is to admit - should probably be put aside.  Give them what you can within your budget.  Because you have little to work with you no doubt think long and hard on what to get - what they'd like, etc.  That should be what matters to them (and appears to be, because you haven't indicated that they complain about the price disparity).  If they DO complain about the disparate prices, don't give to them anymore.  Ingrates get nothing. 

Peregrine

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 07:48:54 PM »
This sounds very similar to a dilemma in my husbands side of the family.  I have a sibling-in-law who is chronically underemployed, single, and childless.  We have always had a budget per family unit for each of his siblings families (6 of them)....this in-law is always getting after us for gifting them because they can't reciprocate.
 
 However, we cannot in good conscience continue to gift the others and leave this one sibling out!  We have spoken to the other siblings this past Christmas about dropping the gifts among the adults, and just gifting the children, but the same sibling is now going to get the short end of the stick, because they still insist upon gifting the children.....

Gift giving is hard sometimes  :P    Sorry about all the "theys and thems"  I want to make sure this isn't stumbled upon.

Jelaza

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 08:48:16 PM »
It most absolutely does not matter how much money the gift(s) cost.  If you have put forth the time, effort and thoughtfulness to give a gift that that you genuinely believe that they will enjoy, that is what matters.

That's the sort of thing that is (or at least should be) the meaning behind the saying "It's the thought that counts."

MOM21SON

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 09:13:11 PM »
I think you are just fine with what you can afford.

That being said, since it is bothering you, please do not say, "I wish it could be more."   Just a tip, because I think you are overthinking this.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 09:20:15 PM »
Did you buy them something that you think they'll enjoy/appreciate?  Then you're good.  That's all you can do.

I'm in your relative's position.  My brother is going through a divorce so money is tight.  I spent more on my nephews and brother than they spent on me.  But we had a lovely couple of days together; they got me things I wanted and appreciate.  It's all good.  (Youngest nephew went above and beyond, searching for one item that was hard to find.  It was a cheaper thing to buy but took some searching.  That counts for extra, too.   :))
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kudeebee

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2013, 09:25:11 PM »
I think you are just fine with what you can afford.

That being said, since it is bothering you, please do not say, "I wish it could be more."   Just a tip, because I think you are overthinking this.

Totally agree with this. Give what you can afford and stop worrying.

Sharnita

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2013, 09:35:25 PM »
I also think that if you want to do more then maybe you can look for some options that don't cost in terms of money.  Could you babysit some evening for them if they have kids?  Or maybe offer to help with ________ project when it comes up?  I don't think there is an obligation but I do think that if you ever wish to "do more" but can't afford it in dollars there canbe other options.

yokozbornak

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2013, 09:35:54 PM »
I agree with the others that if you can't afford to give more, you can't afford it.  If they are older, more financially stable, and enjoy shopping, they probably don't mind that you can't give a more extravangant gift.

If you feel that you should give more, could you make them a favorite dessert or treat?  That's not expensive, but it is a very thoughtful gift.  Another idea is a gift certificateto do an activity together like taking Uncle Bob to a movie or spending the day shopping with Aunt Sue.

Deetee

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2013, 09:48:00 PM »
Totally, totally, totally stop stressing over this. Like yesterday. Actually a few years ago would have been better.

While we are at it, stop speculating on their finances and whether they can afford this. If they aren't hitting you up for a loan their credit card is none of your business.

Did you get a gift? great.
Is it something you think they will like? even better.

End of story.

If they are upset over the disparity, they can spend less. Or nothing.

I think (if anyone is disgruntled) the onus is on the generous gifter to cut back, not the lesser gifter to step up.

(For the record, I have a very large family that is actually a collection of smaller families. So I have a large number of people that I "need" to buy gifts for and even larger number of people I could buy gifts for. I buy NOTHING for the optional people. And there are some people that buy me gifts every single year and get nothing in exchange. And I feel a small twinge of guilt, but not enough to bankrupt myself. If people feel that unfair, they can stop buying me stuff)

joraemi

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 10:01:35 AM »
POD to the PPs.  Also - I always say something homemade/handmade goes a long way.  A box of muffin mix or quick bread mix is only a couple of dollars if you don't have the ingredients on hand.  For some reason, when I see something that someone *made for me* - no matter what it is - it trumps all other gifts.




Courage is the price life  exacts for granting peace.  ~Amelia Earhart~

White Lotus

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 04:37:01 PM »
Jams, jellies and marmalade are gifts that keep on giving all year long.  A batch of someone's favorite is a wonderful gift.  Inexpensive, homemade, and people love it.  It is possible to make sugar free or all fruit products for those who prefer them, too. 
Gifts are gifts -- they aren't trade-offs.  Give when you want to, and what you can afford. If your all-fruit organic strawberry jam recipient wants to give you a cashmere lounging outfit, well, great.  But it is no reflection on you or your gift that theirs to you cost more.  Go for thoughtful and kind, something they will like, something you can afford, and no one could or should ask more. 

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 05:12:14 PM »
I understand you bought your gifts for 62% off - perhaps they got a great bargain also. 

Do not stress over this, it truly is the thought that counts. 

(this year I asked for and received a box of premium teabags under $3 - still thrilled to get them)

WillyNilly

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Re: Can't afford to spend more on gifts
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 05:42:29 PM »
You say in your OP these are older relatives.  You also say the amount is increasing.  Think about these two statements and what they mean.  What they really mean.  Its extraordinarily unlikely they mean "we hope we gt more expensive gifts in return".  When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras. 

So what do they mean?  They mean these people are giving you what they can afford.  So yes be equal in giving back - give back what you can afford.  And someday, when you are the older, financially better off relative - then you give the next generation what you can afford.

This is how a family becomes rich.