How Much Better is it to Give Than To Receive?

I’m not sure about you, but Spring seems to be the busiest time of year in my personal life.  Between the weddings (engagement parties, showers, bachelorette parties, and actual wedding), babies (showers and birthdays), graduation parties, and everything else that’s going on, I’m spending a small fortune between March and June.

So I wonder – how much is the “right” amount to spend in each case?  For me, it totally depends on who the person is in my life (and how much I like them at that moment), what the occasion is, what my bonus was that year J… a whole slew of factors.  I know plenty of people, though, that have a standard amount for each occasion.

So I did some searching to look at others opinions.  Here is some of what I found:


According to, the only event surrounding a wedding that actually requires a present is the bridal shower – because you are supposed to “shower” the person with gifts.  They have a complicated way to figure out how to spend on each gift which requires math (not complicated math but if you know anything about me I’m not very good at math, so looking at it made my head hurt.) recently did an article that said “nothing less than $50. While the average expected expense for a gift from a friend is $70, the newlyweds targeted $129 as the average cost of a gift from a family member.”  This is for the wedding gift – they didn’t include anything on the other events.

Fabulous and Frugal says the nationwide average is $75 (if I’m reading that correctly).  They say it depends on where you live (cities average $100 and smaller towns are around $50).


There is surprisingly less on this one.

The blog Someone Spoil Me says this one ranges from $15-100, and up to $500, depending on your budget and your relationship to the parents.

This site says while the average person spends $20-30, the average baby gift sale on websites is $60-120.  I’m not sure I agree with that statistic but I’m not here to debate average baby item prices.  I’m definitely not an expert in that area – ask me the cost of the average toy for small dogs and I will take you on any day of the week.

The net of it:  It seems like I’m following the rules, spending what I can afford depending on the person and the occasion.  Jen told me I need to just lose a few friends, and that would solve my problem.  🙂

What do you think?  Do you follow a ‘standard’ for each occasion or are your gift spending habits all over the place like mine?

– Erin


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