Do you spend the same amount on all dcs?

(71 Posts)
Clandy Wed 30-Oct-13 15:30:33

I want to spend the same amount on both dd's but im finding it really hard to do without buying things for he sake if it. But then I feel guilty for not spending the same. This is a really 'thing' for me as growing up I was very aware of how things were not equal for us in my family. I know I could just put money in the bank, but I wanted to give both dd's the same amount when they turn 18. Am I over thinking this?

siblingrevelry Wed 30-Oct-13 15:53:42

Depends how old. Mine are 6,5 & 2, so although they'll roughly get the same, they're too young to know the value of things. I don't just buy for the sake of making up the values, but once they're old enough to notice I'll make sure it's (pretty) equal.

JinnyShantihAndFinmory Wed 30-Oct-13 15:56:37

I'll aim for a similar budget but no way am I buying things just to make up the money. I try to go on how valuable it is to them rather than monetary value. I so want to be a fair parent but more in an overall sense rather than in an arbitrary buying way.

farrowandballs Wed 30-Oct-13 15:58:17

Aghhh I have this! I'm afraid I have no advice but I'm watching with interest as I am in the same situation. It's so frustrating!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Wed 30-Oct-13 16:02:43

I don't consciously make sure I spend the same but I have a large ( 6 year) gap between my two. For example my son was 7 last Christmas and wanted a tablet. My youngest was 9 months and wanted something to chew on. My thinking is it will all balance out over time. My oldest is moving into small but expensive present territory whereas my youngest is in the less expensive but huge zone.

They will be treated equally but I am not spending £150 on plastic rubbish just to bulk out the spend on my youngest when £50 gives him a huge pile of stuff he'll love. When DS1 was that age we didn't spend a lot on him.

Mckayz Wed 30-Oct-13 16:04:48

We try too. But we would rather they had the same amount. They tend to get 1 big present and then smaller things like DVDs, games, books.

Floralnomad Wed 30-Oct-13 16:06:24

I have a 6 yr gap and mine are now 20 and 14 ,I've never matched money at Christmas . I do try to match the number of presents although not exactly . I have always figured that the costs will even out over the years . That said I generally spend a lot on both of them .

ShouldBeaWorking Wed 30-Oct-13 16:26:56

I try to, though it is pointless because mine are still to young to understand the cost of different things so it doesn't matter yet anyway.

As they get older I will try to balance out Christmas and birthday, so if one gets a big birthday present, I will make sure it is balanced out at Christmas for the other. Whilst I don't think it always need to be the same I think I'll try to be careful that it doesn't always seem to fall in the same ones favour IYSWIM?

MirandaWest Wed 30-Oct-13 16:28:54

I don't think about it. My DC are 9 and 8 and they get things that are right for them. I wouldn't get one of them loads and one of them hardly anything but I don't sit there balancing the books.

OVOntToSuckYourBlood Wed 30-Oct-13 16:30:07

No, I just make sure the piles are a similar size. They have no idea what stuff costs but will notice if 1 pile is bigger than the other. They're 5 and 8 so this is important. wink

wonderingsoul Wed 30-Oct-13 16:32:38

mine roughly get the same.. but its easier as theres only 3 years between them.

depending on ages 7 plus child should be able to understand that if they want something expensive then they dont get loads.

if they are younger. could you bulk the younger ones out with stuff that they need like clothes?

LynetteScavo Wed 30-Oct-13 16:34:02

I spend a lot less on DS1...I ofer to buy him things, and he says "but I don't need any shoes" or "I already have a pair of jeans". He really doesn't care about material things.

DD is constantly asking for little things, and I do give in sometimes. She would always say yes if I offered to buy her something.

DS1 didn't want a party or an outing on his birthda, and the other DC had parties, so 9 months after his birthday DH bought him an "experience day" to even things out a little. But mostly I don't keep score as to who has what.

LynetteScavo Wed 30-Oct-13 16:35:45

I always make Christmas presents an equal amount, if not value, after the year DS2 was a baby, and I didn't give him much compared to DS1(who was nearly 5).

"You haven't been very good this year, DS2, have you?" DS1 observed.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 30-Oct-13 16:36:31

I have 3 DCs 14 12 8 my 12 DD Is so easy to buy for I could spend a fortune on her. Her older brother is only interested in X Box games though.

AngelsLieToKeepControl Wed 30-Oct-13 16:39:20

No, but they all have the same amount of parcels. My youngest is 3 so she is easier to buy for, my oldest is 12 so his things tend to be more expensive. It will even out as they all get older though.

Littleredsquirrel Wed 30-Oct-13 16:39:59

roughly the same but on the basis of value rather than cost. Mine are quite close in age and if for example I bought the large lego set DS1 wanted and then the large lego set DS2 wanted was half price I wouldn't then spend extra on DS2 IYSWIM.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 30-Oct-13 17:05:01

Only have one but my siblings have more. They always treat their children equally, unfair to do otherwise. Children remember as they get older if they are treated differently.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Wed 30-Oct-13 17:10:40

6yo needs a new bike - she has had a growth spurt and looks like one of those circus clown riding a teeny weeny bike for comic effect

3yo's birthday was yesterday, and so she is pretty well-stocked for clothes and toys. I'm not spending £200 quid on her just to "make things fair"

there will be years when it's the other way round, I'm sure.

ELR Wed 30-Oct-13 17:25:24

We just generally buy them what they ask for within reason. A few years ago ds wanted the lego Death Star it was around £270 dd wanted an iPod touch around £150 so we got them. I didn't spend an extra £120 on dd just because I had spent that on ds. Both were pleased as both got what they wanted.
This year dd wants an ipad mini the new one is £319 ds wants an xbox or 2ds both are less than £200. It's swings and roundabouts!

2anddone Wed 30-Oct-13 17:40:38

I grew up with my mother making a huge deal over the fact we had both been given the same amount of money spent on us (right down to one year her wrapping a tube of sweets with 28p stuck to it hmm) she also made sure we had the same number of gifts under the tree and in the stocking (I mean from everyone she would count gifts on Christmas eve and split multi packs of socks and knickers to 'make up' the numbers) as a child growing up I found this exhausting to be told after every gift that was opened that you and your sister have had exactly the same!! My dc are 5 and 8 I do the same number of gifts in their small stocking and under the tree they get one from Santa, one from me, one from dog and one from each other. They also get a table gift. I don't count how many gifts are under tree from others and i don't count money i get them what they ask for within reason. This year i would say there is probably a £75ish difference.

Maryann1975 Wed 30-Oct-13 17:41:21

I have 3dc, age 7,5 and 3. I don't count up how much I have spent on them all, if one asked for something more expensive and we can afford it, I would get that and not feel guilty that I had brought another dc something cheaper that they had asked for. If the cheaper present makes them happy, that is what is important and having more tat doesn't make them happy. Over their whole childhood it will balance out I'm sure.

fuzzpig Wed 30-Oct-13 17:51:28

No I'm not bothered at all right now (4 and 6) they don't know what things cost anyway. There is no need to draw attention to it (2anddone that does indeed sound exhausting!) - to me that'd just make it more about the money, when I want the point of the presents to be the thought that went into it.

only 13 months between my two so we spend roughly the same.....although this year No2 son is getting a laptop and No1 son an x-box which was far cheaper - I've bulked his up with things like an extra controller and headphones etc but I like them to have roughly the same amount of gifts so No2 son will maybe get a mouse mat which is far cheaper than the headphones iyswim?

or things like they will got get books, but I don't differentiate between getting an annual in a sale for £3 or getting one not in the sale for the other that was say £6. They both get an annual end of.

Pagwatch Wed 30-Oct-13 18:14:38

God no.
They shouldn't be working out the monetary value of their gifts - nor adding up how many parcels they get.
They would get nothing next time if they started that sort of crap.

TheBuskersDog Wed 30-Oct-13 18:46:30

So glad to see most people saying no, I have seen previous threads like this where lots of posters have said they always spend the same on each child, regardless of age. As someone else said even if you spend more on older children now, it evens out over time as you will keep buying lots of presents for the younger children for longer.

Marne Wed 30-Oct-13 18:51:02

Not really,I have got dd2 quite a lot this year for not that much money but dd1 has a small pile which cost almost twice as much. I do try and make sure they have roughly the same amount of gifts to open.

zzzzz Wed 30-Oct-13 18:55:38

Nope, I'm more focused on what they want than how much it costs. I go, a doing thing, a looking at thing, a snacking thing, a keeping thing etc and they all get on in each section.

mrsravelstein Wed 30-Oct-13 18:58:44

i tend to try to go for equal numbers of presents (usually works out at 10-12 each) so they can open things together without feeling like one's got more than the others. they're 12, 5, and 3, i don't think even the oldest one would think about how much each present costs.

MrsPnut Wed 30-Oct-13 19:10:09

No, nowhere near. Last year DD1 (16) had a £500 phone and another maybe £100 worth of stuff and DD2 (7) had maybe £200 in total spent on her but DD1 got £50 for her birthday and DD2 got a galaxy tablet.

It will even out because there are only a few more years of us buying DD1 big presents and by then DD2 will be into expensive present territory.
It does help that there is a big age gap.

Isildur Wed 30-Oct-13 19:11:24

We don't even try to spend equal amounts.

Each child can ask for 3 things they really want. Cost doesn't enter their heads, they have never gone too mad, and usually end up pooling their gifts anyway.

Clandy Wed 30-Oct-13 19:13:25

Mine are only 1 and 3 so I guess they won't notice then! I hadn't thought about numbers of gifts though. I wouldn't quibble over a few pounds but dd2 is getting lots less as she has dd1 hand me downs etc and I guess I just felt guilty that she isn't getting as much, but she has all the things dd1 had and more! Thanks, knew mumsnet would help grin

eggsandwich Wed 30-Oct-13 19:27:14

I spend the same on both my children though in different way's, my son is 13 years old and is severely autistic so gift buying is always a challenge, but the last few years I buy him things that I know he will really like such as dvd's, books, cd's, novelty bubble bath some branded track bottoms and chocolate also a toy if he has shown a particular interest in one, I don't now buy to match the value that his sister gets, I put the remainder of his money in his bank account which makes us feel better knowing they get the same.

MuffCakes Wed 30-Oct-13 19:28:46

No I don't I do get equal amount of presents and about the same sort of value for each two I buy but apart from that no. I also don't have a budget and would hate to even think the amount I have wasted over the years of plastic crap.

HappyAsEyeAm Wed 30-Oct-13 19:34:33

Gosh, no.

DS1 is nearly 6 yo and DS2 is nearly 2 yo. DS1 is getting lots of playmobil, and DS2 is getting lots of DS1's old toys out of the attic plus a couple of new vtech things which haven't stood the test of time stashed away in the attic for 4 or so years. Neither of them have any conception of money/cost, and DS1 is sure to be completely overwhelmed just by his stocking anyway.

lade Wed 30-Oct-13 21:00:40

Definitely not, as I believe it sends the wrong message.

My two get the same number of presents (because they take turns opening them, so it would be very noticeable if we didn't.

However, I don't add up the cost at all. Sometimes one costs more, sometimes the other.

I think if you ensure the cost adds up, then it becomes noticeable in the other presents the child gets, so would be obvious. And I don't think children should be thinking about adding up the cost of their presents. Somehow it seems grabby to be encouraging children to think this way.

Growing up, my mother never spent the same on me and my brother, and it never occurred to us to think about the costs of our presents. Unless pointed out, I don't think it is something you consider really.

ShoeWhore Wed 30-Oct-13 21:11:02

No we buy what they will love/want/need. I totally agree with pps about not making it about the money.

Also dc3 gets tons of handmedowns from dc1&2 so in a way if we matched everything on new gifts he'd actually get loads more than dc1 confused

We do aim for similar number of presents to unwrap though - usually 1 big present, some books, maybe a smaller present and stocking fillers.

Purple2012 Wed 30-Oct-13 21:15:32

My mum has always tried to spend the same on all the kids so will spend exactly the same on my 2 nephews and sd.

She also does this with me and my brother. We are 38 and 40! We tell her constantly we don't add up gift costs but she likes to be fair. Bless her.

CeliaLytton Wed 30-Oct-13 21:19:27

Agree with the poster who said that it is not the monetary value that matters, rather the value of the present to the DC. So if one child really really really wants a yoyo (yes, DS, looking at you) then they will love it and not care (or know) how much money was spent on other DC as they got what they really wanted.

I will get him a couple of other presents though grin

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 30-Oct-13 21:41:07

I spend pretty much the same amount on each - there are 4 (3 teenagers), quite close together. I have a budget for Christmas, so I try to share it out fairly. Sometimes they get the same amount of presents, sometimes not.

I don't understand why it's ok for the kids to be counting up the number of presents and seeing if they get the same, but not to be thinking about the cost! Surely just as materialistic!

lade Thu 31-Oct-13 01:24:42


Certainly from my perspective, my children are completely unaware that they have the same number of presents. It's just not something they've ever thought about, or had drawn to their attention.

Sometimes, one child gets a much more expensive present, and if we matched costs, this would mean that the other child would have to get a pile of extra presents to make up the cost. However, you couldn't give one child 3 presents say (because it included something very expensive like a laptop or ipad) and the other child 10 presents (to make up the other £300) Without raising the topic to them. This is something my 10 year old has never even thought of.

As far as my children are concerned, they get what they want and they don't think about whether I've spent more on one child or the other. They don't even think about how many presents they've got, that's not something I would encourage either (yes, for them to count the number of presents, that would also be grabby). They naturally get about the same number, they've never commented on cost or number, they're just happy with their presents, and I wouldn't want to encourage them to start comparing, or even thinking about it. To me, that's the wrong message at Christmas.

fuzzpig Thu 31-Oct-13 07:54:21

Somehow it seems grabby to be encouraging children to think this way.

I agree.

DalmationDots Thu 31-Oct-13 09:51:14

No it really depends.
When DD was 5 all she wanted was a stuffed toy dog. We got her one. It is the most valuable and love present she has ever got.
The same year DS got a much costlier Gameboy. It was heavily used for a few years and then given to a charity shop as it was replaced by the playstation.
Other years DS has had smaller things that he wanted and DD has had bigger things. It all evens out eventually and lots of items you can't put monetary values on because their sentimental value is so much more.

Both DC were just as happy with their gifts and if they ever moan 'my dog only cost X amount and theirs cost X more'

If either did moan they would both be given a £1 coin the next year.

purplepippin Thu 31-Oct-13 10:48:02

I have 5 dc and we don't spend the same amount on each of them but they all get the same amount of presents, we take turns opening them . Ds1 has ASD and it's important to him that everything is equal and it works well for us as there can be no bickering that someone has more.

Babyunom6 Thu 31-Oct-13 11:45:38

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 31-Oct-13 11:51:25

We do same amount as well. There is a structure so that it's all pretty equal atm, but honestly I will probably never give any of them high value things at,Christmas.

We save the more expensive landmark gifts for birthdays instead so that when they get to teenage years it's easier to be equal about what age they get certain techy things.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 31-Oct-13 11:52:21

Sorry, same amount of gifts that was meant to say.

NaiveWoman Thu 31-Oct-13 12:07:05

Actually I am trying to look more at the number of gifts rTher than the cost.
Oldest dc is 11yo now so I expect that soon the cost will also have an influence.

My dcs are also close in age and I found that the first couple years I bought stuff for dc2 and dc3 not because they needed it but because dc1 needed to see thatSanta was taking care of his siblings as much as he was taking care of him.
What I found is that as they were getting older they had different tastes so needed different toys anyway.

The important thing is to make it fair in their eyes rather than fair on price or number of gifts etc... And that will change as they are growing up.

AbiRoad Thu 31-Oct-13 12:52:40

No, they each get a main present from us (and possibly one or two others) and smaller pressies from FC. If one needs a new bike one year, it is likely to cost more and I am not going to make a point of finding something for the other one that costs the same particularly when they have asked for something else, and I am not going to buy them "extra" presents as I think that would be seen as more unfair. Smaller pressies, they get roughtly the same amount. Cost might be different (I would lose track as I tend to start picking things up from Sept) but I would try to make sure it looks roughly fair. It all comes out in the wash though, the next year the other one might be the one that needs the new bike. It might change when they are teens and are more aware of cost of things (and more selfish!), but I will def try to discourage that way of thinking.

SpookedMackerel Thu 31-Oct-13 14:57:37

I don't spend the same amount.

For their stockings I will get the same number of presents each, and they will be the same sort of thing eg, book each, DVD each, crafty set each, small toy each. But within that I'll get things that I think are best for each individual, so I might spend more on on than the other - I won't keep track though! I imagine it will all even up in the end anyway. But to a younger child, who doesn't know how much things cost, it is size and number of presents that I think it is important to seem even, not price.

fuzzpig Thu 31-Oct-13 16:38:43

Yes I get roughly the same number for their stockings too, mostly as they are mostly items that appear year after year - both get a magic flannel, a toothbrush, undies, socks etc, then a couple of surprise bits

OurMrsReynolds Thu 31-Oct-13 16:47:39

No I don't but it evens out.

They do have the same number ocd of presents though

CreamyCooler Thu 31-Oct-13 18:48:54

I don't. Last year DS2 got a laptop which was way more than his

brothers. This year DS3 is getting a PlayStation 4 so his will be the most expensive. DS1 gets less because he's left home and at work. DC are 25, 15 and 13.

cheesypastaplease Thu 31-Oct-13 19:19:20

My dcs are 5 and almost 2. I will end up spending more on eldest dc this year, but I assume it will balance out throughout the years.

I like to try and keep it even, as there have been years where I got much less than my sister, and it felt awful. However, it's ds's third Christmas and dd's first so we'll see in the next few years how it goes.

FreakoidOrganisoid Fri 01-Nov-13 08:38:01

I don't think about the money. Both my dc get one or two presents from me at Christmas so it's usually a biggish present anyway. As long as they get what they want then it's fair imo (my boyfriend and I greatly disagree on this though)

FreakoidOrganisoid Fri 01-Nov-13 08:40:06

Oh with the stockings I usually try to keep the number the same as they usually open them together in my bed and compare what they've got. ..

ILoveAFullFridge Fri 01-Nov-13 08:49:28

The value if the gift to the child is far more important than the value of the gift to you. They don't know how much you've spent. And unless you tell them, they won't care.

We try to keep stockings to a similar number of items, and not to give one child 15 tree presents and the others 2 each (I am exaggerating!), but if the numbers of presents are not equal, or the money expended is different, it really does not matter.

Once they are older, say teens/pre-teens, and have some idea of the value of money, we give them the option of getting one major thing and therefore getting far fewer things overall. Eg dc1 wanted an expensive gadget when he was 11 or 12, so he got it and a couple of books, while the othersstillgot their pile of gifts. No idea whether respect the same on each of them. It was irrelevant. They were each happy.

ILoveAFullFridge Fri 01-Nov-13 08:50:53


"whether we spent the same"

hallowisitmeyourelookingfor Fri 01-Nov-13 09:24:01

No, we don't. They have different numbers of stocking presents and different numbers of tree presents. I'd be pretty annoyed if they sat and counted how many they had and whinged that one had 2 more than the other. Lots of thought goes into every present, regardless of what its cost. The Dds are 8 and 9 and got tablets for their birthdays this year and their main present from us this year will be a joint one. Ds is 2 and will be happy with 1 football. They get absolutely loads for Christmas though, from us and our huge families. I imagine if money was tight I would be more regimented about it. Say if I had 200 to spend altogether I would split it so there was equal between all the dc.

Lilicat1013 Fri 01-Nov-13 12:35:28

I do the same number for each of them, they are too young to care but I don't want to be sorting it out on Christmas Eve and finding one has loads and the other has a lot less. It also helps curb my tendency to go over board! I tend to buy to much without a limit to stick to.

I don't worry about matching cost, I try to match how valuable it will be to the child rather than the actual money cost.

I don't plan to mention comparing gifts with their sibling in any way either in cost or amount, I wouldn't encourage that at all.

I spend the same on dd1&2 (10&8) as they usually want the same things so usually around £600/700 each. dd3 though is only 20 months so we've only spent around £350 on her and it look about 10x as much in presents compared to her sisters. once she gets to around 4 we will up her budget to about £500 and then up to the same as the older two around the age of 6.

wamabama Sat 02-Nov-13 15:09:26

My DM used to buy shite just to make the prices up so I'd end up with a load of tat I didn't want or need just because she felt guilty not spending as much on me as my DB. It was only because there was a six year gap between us so when he was wanting a million expensive toys, I only wanted one expensive electrical item and then the rest was stuff like CD's and videos which didn't amount to the same in £ but I would not have noticed. As long as you get what they have asked for they really won't care less about price differences.

WantAnOrange Sat 02-Nov-13 20:23:11

I agree, what's important is the personal value to the child not the cost. Mine will be getting roughly the same number of gifts but that's because I follow the "one thing to read, one thing to wear, one thing to eat etc..." formula so I can come up with ideas! DS is 7 and DD will be 15 months at Christmas, they want and need very different things.

For their birthdays, DS got a Lego city kit that cost £80 but DD got a large soft Peppa Pig that cost £13. They both get a great deal of enjoyment out of their gifts though.

dementedmumof6 Sat 02-Nov-13 20:30:40

No I try and give them one big thing off their xmas list each then some of the smaller things, this year ds (15) is only getting one thing but that's because his one thing is about £500 on its own the others probably won't get that much spent on them but will get most of the things they ask for.

We don't spend the same amount either, nor do I make sure they have the same number.

Some years DS1 (13) will have more spent on him and some years DS2 (9) will.

Last year DS1 wanted a new mobile phone and DS2 wanted a towel with his name on and an electronic pencil sharpener! This year DS1 wants the new Cherub book and DS2 a new road bike.

I think over the course of their childhood it all works itself out. If I started spending the same on DS2 as we spent on DS1 it would actually be unfair as he would get more spent on him earlier (if that makes sense).

milk Sun 03-Nov-13 19:05:54

Similar, but definitely not the same.

MadgeBishop Sun 03-Nov-13 19:08:21

They get similar amounts spent on them.

princesscupcakemummyb Sun 03-Nov-13 19:14:09

i dont tend to look at the cost as in same amount i just buy what i know the children will love i try to keep to a similar sized pile though if possible

RhondaJean Sun 03-Nov-13 19:17:20

No, I don't even keep a note really of what I spend, they get what they want and what I think they will use. They do both get a lot but I've never had any sibling rivalry over what the other gets, although now dd2 is getting older I'm taking note of when dd1 got things like iPods, iPads, phones so that I can make sure she gets them at similar ages.

I try and match the same amount of presents but not in money terms.

For example DD3 could open the cherry cat I have bought for £18 instead of £50 whilst DD1 opens her camper van hard backed note pad with matching folder and pen bought for £2.50 instead of £10.

Both will be grin at their fab presents but wouldn't think about how much they should have cost or think of their mum trawling bargin threads every night since July both gifts I would never pay full price for so they won't be expecting them.

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