Saturday, May 3, 2008

Going Frugal: Gifts for Graduations and Weddings

Evelyn, who posted a comment today, had this great question within her comment:

This is an expensive month for me. I have lots of graduation and weddings. How much is reasonable to spend? I have 10 invitations sitting on my table now. I guess the people in the blog sphere are young and have not run into this problem. Everyone gives money. So how do you be frugal?

May and June are busy months for weddings, graduations, Mother's Day and Father's Day.

I wish I had an easy answer for you on this, Evelyn, but we've run into this issue ourselves over the years.

You have to decide which events you can feasibly attend. Ten invitations means ten events to fit into your busy schedule, a difficult task unto itself. And with rising costs of for gasoline, which affects both travel by car and air, you need to factor in your travel cost for attending, too.

First, you need to decide which events you absolutely must attend and which you can politely decline.

Then, you need to be honest with yourself about how much you can afford to give as gifts. And, as callous as this might sound, you need to create a gifting hierarchy; for example, a gift for your daughter on her wedding day is likely to be far more expensive than a gift for your co-worker Susie's son's graduation.

Don't feel guilty about making such discernments; and if you feel you received an invitation to an event just for whatever gift you might bring, absolutely do not feel guilty about deciding to send a congratulatory card with no gift.

Once you know which events you'll attend, who will receive gifts and who will receive cards, and just how you want to allocate whatever money you have in your budget for gifts, you'll have a clearer picture of what you can realistically do.

Whatever you do, don't let all those invitations create a weight of guilt on your shoulders, making you feel "obligated" to gift beyond your financial capacity.

The people who love you best, you family and friends, know that your presence at those important life moments is the real gift you bring to the party.

Kind Readers: how do you deal with our over-gifting society? Does guilt win out, or do you stand your frugal ground and find creative ways to gift without breaking the bank? Comment and share your stories and strategies.


Melissa said...

A lot of times the gifts on someone's registry are available elsewhere for 10-20% cheaper. I always try and pick something that it doesn't look like the couple will get all of the sets that they requested so they aren't getting multiples. Hope this helps!

Kyle said...

Great advice Marianne!