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To review my spending on birthday and christmas presents for family and friends

(24 Posts)
pingu2209 Tue 04-Dec-12 17:21:00

Under financial pressure I have sat down and started my forensic evaluation of our accounts. Not including the cost of my own children's birthday parties and presents, I have worked out that on purely friends and wider family members (brother, sister, neice, nephews, mother, father etc) we spend on average £95 per month on presents for other people:

£20 on average per person on Christmas presents for 22 family members
£25 on average per person for 18 family birthdays
£15 on average per person for 15 friend's birthdays (that would be 5 birthday parties each of my 3 children attend on average each year).

Bloody hell! That is a lot of money each month.

My sister asked about 5 years ago to stop buying presents for adults and only the children. Considering I have 3 children and she has only 1, I thought that was pretty fair. But my brother and father said that she was being mean, that we all know when Christmas is and when the birthdays are, so we can budget for them throughout the year.

However, nearly £100 a month on gifts for other people!!!!!!!!

pingu2209 Tue 04-Dec-12 17:22:17

I spend about £300 on a party for each child and a further £100 on average on each child's birthday present. As for Christmas, well I must spend about £300 on each child. Gulp! No wonder my husband thinks our spending is out of control.

mumeeee Tue 04-Dec-12 17:24:52

We only buy for adults in our family and have done this for years. The only exception is that we buy for my parents and MIL.

whoneedssleepanyway Tue 04-Dec-12 17:25:46

For the 8 adults my side of the family we all draw a name each out of a a hat and buy one present at Christmas for that person. We get presents for all the little ones.

i don't spend £15 on presents for children's parties, I try to get away with under £10 (more like £8) and if you buy when there aer offers on etc you can get good deals.

It does sound a lot when you break it out like that.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Tue 04-Dec-12 17:31:22

Yes I am a big fan of the Argos "two for £15" deals and if you keep your eyes open you can get some stuff that is passable and not just ugly plastic tat. For DD2's friends, I stock up at the beginning of each term or whenever I see something cheap good. I've started giving £10 vouchers (amazon or those high street ones) to DD1's friends as they are getting a bit harder to buy for. I make it a rule to never spend more than £10 unless it is a best friend whom I know well.

Thank goodness they are now almost past the age where they get invited to Every. Single. Jeffing. Party. Up until about the end of Year 2, that was 24 birthday girls per year for each DD, not counting friends from outside school!

ChristmasCountdown Tue 04-Dec-12 17:35:46

When I sat down and reviewed all the people we usually buy at Christmas for this year, I got a shock when I realised just how much we were spending. Easily £150 on friends' children. I agreed with siblings that we would only buy for children (we only have the one, while all our siblings have two) and explained to all our friends that we were cutting back this year, so would only be buying for children in our family. They were all mostly relieved I think. I easily cut our Christmas spending by over £200.

Re: birthday presents for parties that DS goes to, I usually keep it to under £10 and have been known to re-gift duplicate stuff DS has been given blush. I do watch out for things on offer to build up a 'present drawer'. I will spend more on close friends' children if we're going to their though - this is just really for the nursery parties.

In terms of our own friends, I only really buy a present if we're going to a party/dinner etc to celebrate their birthday and tbh, that's what everyone else does too.


NatashaBee Tue 04-Dec-12 17:35:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pingu2209 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:47:43

My dad suggested a secret Santa idea where each couple pick 2 names. This would save us 4 people to buy for. However, the idea was that instead of spending £20 on each person, you spent £50 on each of the people you picked, so no money is saved, just time. This was also my brother's preference because he felt that you couldn't buy anything for £20 that was really nice and wanted, but you could get something really good for £50 that would be a great present.

abitcoldupnorth Tue 04-Dec-12 20:19:10

We only do presents for children at Christmas, and budget about £20 per child. (None of them are in any way deprived, but I think the general feeling is that 'big' presents are for the parents to buy).

nokidshere Tue 04-Dec-12 20:23:46

We have stopped buying presents for each other now. There are sooo many of us it got a bit ridiculous. Some of us were high earners and the ones that weren't were feeling pressured (imagined not real)

There are 7 families within my immediate family

My mum buys for everyone - 41 people!!!! (her choice)

Everyone buys our mum & dad (so they get 6 pressies)

and then we all just buy our own families gifts - in my case a husband and two children. For one of my sisters that means a husband, 2 children, 7 grandchildren.

I always aim to spend under a tenner for other peoples parties and shop for bargains throughout the year. And regift where appropriate.

festivelyfocussed Tue 04-Dec-12 20:25:46

Yanbu, neither is your sister.
Cut back. You'll be happier and no one will actually mind at all.

twolittlemonkeys Tue 04-Dec-12 20:26:54

YANBU. We stopped buying for the DH's brothers and their partners years ago as well as my siblings/ stepsiblings and partners, just do the kids and spend about £10 on each, ditto for birthdays. Although I buy presents for my mum, her DP, FIL and my grandmother, I just make something for most of the other adults, eg some nice biscuits/ truffles etc. There are a couple of friends for whom I buy something small but that's it. The vast majority of adults have all that they need, and if there's something they really want, they will get it themselves/ save up for it!

I never spend more than a tenner on the children's friends' birthday presents - less if I can find something that looks decent grin

nananaps Tue 04-Dec-12 20:31:26

I have 17 children to buy for at Christmas alone.

I have began asking family memebrs if they mind NOT buying for each other this year as we are expecting a baby in January and we cant afford it.

So far, no stroppiness, but im expecting it.

I feel very awkward about this i have to say as i know that they will all get us something for the baby when it arrives and feel mean. But really, we cant afford it.

Kundry Tue 04-Dec-12 20:35:12

I take it your dad and brother earn more than you and your brother doesn't have kids yet?

Join in with your sister - the pair of you can announce what you are doing and everyone else can lump it. Either presents for kids only, or a massively reduced budget, or both. Surely there's a point at which all those presents stop looking like the magic of Christmas and start looking like the magic of commercialism.

And since when did someone else get to decide how much you spend on a present? Do your DF and DB know exactly how much you earn, your expenses, spending priorities -no? So how do they get to decide? (Can you tell I'm currently looking at SIL's Christmas list for her, BIL and their kids - all the items cost more than we had intended to spend on them. Grrrr)

Rudolphstolemycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 20:40:21

Thats far to expensive!!

I used to spend about 10 or 5 pounds per person on about 35 family members (adults and children but excluding my own immediate family) - so 280 on extended family gifts. Then another 100 on top for Xmas gifts for friends children/friends.

We now do secret santa at Xmas for grown ups and kids. So each person gets 40 pounds spent on them but each person only buys one gift. Each person makes an amazon wish list. It's simplified everything and has worked a treat.

Misty9 Tue 04-Dec-12 20:40:52

We stopped buying presents for adults in my family a couple years ago, just buying for the children (now two of them). However, my dh still buys for all his family members (granted there aren't many of them at 8, and our ds is the only little one) and tbh the whole 'buy me this please' doesn't sit well with me. I'd rather get something I've thought about than something I've been told/asked to buy. No surprise and no thought.

Secret Santa is what I'd do if we were actually seeing my family on the day, but no, YANBU to want to save money.

As for parties, well we've got all that to come with ds only being 14mo smile though we spend enough on flipping birthday cards already (my cousins etc being of the opinion that to forget one of their children's birthdays is tantamount to treason).

jojane Tue 04-Dec-12 20:42:30

You could cut down on the amount spent without cutting down on who you buy for
For example dd is going to a party on Sunday so she is giving a lego minifigure sticker book which cost £4, lots of the boys in ds1s year had these last year and they all loved them, ds got 4 for his birthday so I regifted some! She went to a party last week and gave an electronic secret princess diary I got from home bargains for £5, ds1 went to a party ad gave a lego board game I managed to get in asda reduced to £4 from £25! I stick to around a fiver for a school friends party and about £10 for friends children. Netpricedirect is also good for getting things at less than rrp just did an Xmas shop with them and got a waterproof video camera for £5, rrp £50. Got 3 skylanders from for £1.97 as a result of some being on offer and using a £10 voucher o2 had sent me!

Use things like groupon etc for adult presents,

Narrowboat Tue 04-Dec-12 20:56:24

try this

I got round to adding up how much we spent on presents two years ago. It was a shocking amount (over a grand - wtaf!). I used the excuse of having a small baby and being too busy to get presents for adults (kids still get prezzies). No one appeared to be worried at all. No one has asked where their present is now the baby is grown. grin

Being ballsy saved us a fortune and now I look forward to Christmas! No buying presents for people where you never know where they like it or not. No faking a 'oh how lovely, you bought me a necklace that looks like cat puke'.

There is no downside. Plus the bloody grasping marketeers and shops don't get my hard earned money for things to sit and get dusty.


ivykaty44 Tue 04-Dec-12 21:10:05

YBH I find it strange that your dad and brother are dictating who and how much you spend on presents - just tell them after this year we will not be buying presents for adults in the family so please don't buy presents for us either - just the children if you would like. Don't let them spend your money for you...

1200 pounds a year on Birthday presents then 900 on parties and another 900 on childrens presents.

presents go to the January sales and stock up, Boots are great as they do 2 for 3 offers (which are cheaper after christmas) and get points - then buy some more using the points the next day - saves a fortune as not only are they reduced boots points add up really quickly. Then pop in the cubbiard ready for the birthdays.

openerofjars Tue 04-Dec-12 21:15:05

I am the only one from my family of origin (as opposed to DH's side) with children and am on maternity leave. Everyone else is earning ace money and has no childcare parents.

Add to that 8 parents and step parents (two divorces and four remarriages in the 80s) and at least 11 children of other side of family and friends to get for and I am not exactly flush at this time of year. Especially when you consider that we also have ten birthdays to get for between 19th and 27th of this month.

And then I get a text dreamily listing the lovely things that an adult relative would like to receive (in case we need ideas) including clothing from French Connection and a Dyptique candle. So would I, love. So would I. Might as well dream here as in bed.

So sod it, I'm going to get princessy:

I would actually like 200 Marlborough lights (what? It's a fantasy list, bugger off with your judgy pants) a night out somewhere with poor mobile phone reception with my best mates (which would include paying for a babysitter for one of them and a taxi there and back for her), my teeth whitening and some clothes that don't cost a fiver from the sale rail in ASDA.

What I am going to get is a lot of things with fucking cupcakes or handbags on.

Because I have tried to say that we cannot afford presents for adults and people had a strop because it isn't fair on the adults that don't have DC yet.

Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhh. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.


openerofjars Tue 04-Dec-12 21:15:44

Childcare costs, sorry, got carried away with shouty ranting.

Narrowboat Tue 04-Dec-12 21:34:31

openerofjars CHANGE IT! Get them rubbish presents this year then in January say 'no more presents for adults'. Buy them all the same thing. Let them strop. They need to grow up anyway.

If you are an adult (with a job) and you are expecting expensive presents from other adults who are not your parents then you ARE A LUNATIC. Buy it yourself and fuck off my Christmas list.

say your arms have fallen off and you can't buy presents next year.

Kundry Tue 04-Dec-12 21:43:24

'it isn't fair on the adults that don't have DC yet.'

What a load of bollocks - I am the adult that hasn't had DC yet and I'm fed up of buying a load of crap for adults I barely know but think they can ask me for £25 worth of gifts each for them and their offspring.

Noticeably they've all told me what they want but none of them have asked what I want so I am going to get a pile of meaningless crap which I will only end up regifting.

Next year I am going to e-mail in November asking what the kids want and saying 'we don't want anything as we think it's for the children'. Hopefully they'll realise they look a bit grabby if they then give me their lists.

TwitchyTail Tue 04-Dec-12 21:50:17

I still don't understand presents. I simply cannot see the point in (to quote Sheldon Cooper grin) reciprocal gift-giving.

WHY doesn't everyone in your family just keep their money and indulge themselves in £100 worth of gifts each month? As in, things they really actually want and have chosen themselves? Wouldn't that just be so much better all round?

Oh, and YANBU.

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