Was I being tight? So embarrassed!

(127 Posts)
InsertBoringName Thu 10-Oct-13 15:14:47

The other day DD1 (3) was invited to a birthday party by one on her friends at nursery and I've been a bit bothered and wanted to know if IWBU!

We haven't done any nursery birthday parties before (DD not been there long) so didn't know what to expect! Before the party I took DD to choose a present for her friend. We went to the pound shop and she chose a jigsaw (DD has several of them, they're great value, and a colouring book with crayons) We went to the poundshop for two reasons, partly because I don't have masses of money, but admittedly a good part of it is because I don't believe in spending a lot on pre-schoolers.

I'm honestly not a smug 'my kids get a lump of coal for Christmas and they're grateful for it!' kind of parent! It's just that, at 3, DD can't discern between expensive gifts and cheap so I may as well save some money! I know she'll realise soon enough!

I also got DD to draw a birthday card for her friend rather than buy one. This is because DD asked if she could make one.

After going to the party, I am mortified! All the other parents brought in these massive wrapped boxes! I don't know what was in them but I can only assume they spent a heck of a lot more than mine! And the party bags that were given out at the end had masses of stuff in. Easily £15 worth of things.

A few things are bothering me. Firstly, the birthday boy's mum mentioned in conversation that she works in the pound shop. So she's going to know straight away that I spend precisely £2 on her son blush

And the other thing is I'm massively torn. My principles are that small children don't need lots of money spent on them. They have no concept and are usually happy with 'toys' in general, regardless of where they come from.

But on the other hand, I don't want to be known as the tight wad. I'm utterly paranoid about the fact that all the other parents will have spent so much more than me. I feel pressured that I should be getting a grander gift for people's kids, even though it's money I could do with spending on my own family.

We are not poor, in that we can pay the bills. But theirs very little money left for frivolous stuff (about £20 a week left, after bills but before new shoes etc) and to be perfectly honest I'd rather spend it on a trip to the swimming pool with my own kids rather than a present for a kid I've never heard of and has no concept of who's bought them it of what they've spent.

Give it to me straight, am I a tightwad cow? If it was your three year old would you be pissed off at that as a present? Especially if you'd spent circa £25 per child for the party?

InsertBoringName Thu 10-Oct-13 15:16:50

Oh, I should add, I'm not 'against' expensive toys. I realise sometimes spending more on some things is a decent investment!!

Shlurpbop Thu 10-Oct-13 15:18:22

Nope, I love the pound shop! All I'd be bothered about as the parent of the birthday child is that they had a great birthday!

fairylightsintheautumn Thu 10-Oct-13 15:19:54

DS is 4 and has started going to a lot of parties. Wilkinsons do really good crafty type stuff for about £3-4 so I usually get one of those. When you have 4 parties in two weeks, even £5 each on a present adds up, plus cards. Not tight at all. If anyone was to be so rude as to say something about it I'd think they were unhinged and not people about whose opinion I would care.

DoudousDoor Thu 10-Oct-13 15:21:38

The mum chose to spend that amount. That does not mean you have to give an equal amount as a present!

To be honest, we just had DS' 2nd birthday and I was embarassed at how much some mums spent on him! Especially as the party bags were cheap and cheerful (although we're not in the UK and the kids weren't used to party bags so somehow we ended up looking really generous confused blush)

tiggerpigger Thu 10-Oct-13 15:21:40

You're not tight at all. Makes sense to me. If the other kids parents think you're tight not spending loads of money on their kid then they can fuck off I reckon.

PlayedThePinkOboe Thu 10-Oct-13 15:21:52

Presumably as she works in the pound shop and not an investment bank, she lives in the real world and won't give a hoot! smile

Snoopingforsoup Thu 10-Oct-13 15:21:56

No, you were not being a tightwad. You took a gift and a card and you took the time to go.
Stop worrying.

phantomnamechanger Thu 10-Oct-13 15:22:25

£15 worth in party bags? that's insane!

YANBU - and anyone who judges you on the price tag of your gift is not worth knowing.

xuntitledx Thu 10-Oct-13 15:22:40

When DH and I threw a birthday party for his kids, we weren't thinking about what presents they would receive in return and it wouldn't have crossed my mind to question (or be bothered) about how much the presents cost. It was just nice that they received anything at all!

ARoundSoundLikeGround Thu 10-Oct-13 15:23:42

What Played said!

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 10-Oct-13 15:23:53

You aren't stingy. Totally normal!

Crinkle77 Thu 10-Oct-13 15:24:16

I don't think you are tight at all.

sleepyhead Thu 10-Oct-13 15:25:27

I never spend much more than £5 on a party present/card. I'd also not expect anyone to spend more than that on the ds's.

There have been a few times that ds1 has got a present for his birthday from a friend that looked like it cost considerably more, but it was the exception rather than the rule and I've always assumed that either they had more money than us so had a higher budget present threshold or it was a re-gift - tbh I don't waste time worrying about the value of one present compared to another though, that would be very rude!

InsertBoringName Thu 10-Oct-13 15:25:44

Thank you! To be fair, the mum was lovely and hopefully wouldn't say anything! She just happened to mention in passing where she worked, the presents hadn't been opened so she certainly wasn't having a dig.

I really love the pound shop (and Wilko's are great too!) and certainly wouldn't be bothered at my own child being bought poundshop stuff for her birthday! The jigsaws in particular are great!

ShoeWhore Thu 10-Oct-13 15:25:48

I'd be absolutely mortified to think that someone had felt pressured into spending a certain amount on my child's present that they didn't feel they could really afford.

Your presents sound really lovely OP and were chosen with care. That's what counts. You are absolutely right that the birthday boy or girl won't give 2 hoots as well grin

This reminds me of that saying "Those that mind don't matter and those that matter won't mind"

phantomnamechanger Thu 10-Oct-13 15:25:53

it's the price of cards that gets me - total waste of money IMO - the number of cards the DC have had from their mates that I KNOW have come from Tesco at £2.50 or more a pop - when you can buy really nice cards 10 for £1 in the card shop in town. Or a pack for £1 in the supermarket. I always have a drawer full of cards for all ages, so never need to buy a specific one at the last minute.

Dahlen Thu 10-Oct-13 15:26:49

This is so hard isn't it. It's one of those issues that most agree with the OP about in principle, but when it comes to practice... no one wants to be thought of as tight or the pitied poor.

I remember my first DC's birthday party. I was horrified at the amount of money some people had spent on my DC's presents. Way more than I would spend on their DC or even my own!

tracypenisbeaker Thu 10-Oct-13 15:29:42

I'm doing this for the adults in my family this year, getting them photo frames and the like from the pound shop as I usually get nothing decent back. half used Body Shop shower gel anyone? So, IMO, you are fine. I see kids sometimes begging their mum to take them to Poundland for a toy. Sure, its cheap and nasty garish shite, but as long as the toy lasts as long as their interest in it you'll be fine ;)
And who cares what the mother spent per head? Fools and their money...

WhatTheRainKnows Thu 10-Oct-13 15:30:57

£15 on someone else's kid who's not a relative? No. I'd have done the same as you. Heck, I try to only spent £15-£20 on directly family for birthdays/christmas! It really is the thought that counts. I would say those other parents were showing off and trying to buy friends (either for them or their child) with gifts. I would have done the same as you. In fact as a kid I loved going in to swag shop and getting cheap toys from there to play with. No need to worry about breaking something if it's cheap.

CoffeeTea103 Thu 10-Oct-13 15:31:21

Yanbu, you bought what you could afford and more important the time and effort you and your dd made counts for more.
If the mum chose to spend that much then it doesn't mean you should feel any less.
And if you only have 20 pounds left to spend definitely spend it doing quality activities with your kids. As long as all the kids had fun smile

tracypenisbeaker Thu 10-Oct-13 15:33:28

Just to clarify folks, I'm not buying cheaply this Christmas because I'm bitter that people aren't spending tonnes of money on me. I don't give to get and have been generous for years. But my baby is due in December and I don't have money to flit away on ingrates for the sake of it, just in case I get flamed.

Howstricks Thu 10-Oct-13 15:36:08

I wouldn't have given two hoots...if, for example, someone bought my ds a homemade collage of minecraft screen shots that cost them pennies he and I would be delighted as they would have taken the trouble to think about his likes and hobbies...it really is the thought that counts not the price.

Howstricks Thu 10-Oct-13 15:37:30

Tracy..in view of your name, I think the original beaker was a pound shop buy..maybe an original gift idea?

Pinupgirl Thu 10-Oct-13 15:39:31

Yanbu op-I never spend more than £5 on party presents and often recycle things the dcs have received.

I think the tide is turning on this though-dc2 last year got a lots of middling to expensive presents and some clothes too. Dc3 this year got slightly cheaper things-colouring books,a small car etc and a couple of friends bunged a fiver in the card. So hopefully the trend of spending a bomb has passed.

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