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to think that children should buy presents out of their own money?

(217 Posts)
Dromedary Thu 14-Mar-13 01:10:10

My DCs are 10 and 8. They receive very little pocket money, and small amounts of cash at birthdays and Christmas if they're lucky. If it is a family birthday, or Christmas, I expect them to use some of their own money to buy presents, and to really give some thought to the gift. If they had no money (but they should really hold enough back), they could make something. They sometimes also buy little presents for friends' birthdays, eg a packet of sweets. This makes the giving and the receiving really mean something. I have been really put off by seeing my, much older, nieces give no presents, or give presents which they have at best chosen at speed, with their mum doing the buying. They simply prefer to keep their money for themselves, and their mum goes along with this. At the same time, they don't bother to say thank you if you give them a present. It just feels like take take take.

Moominlandmidwinter Thu 14-Mar-13 09:11:56


From the age of around 8, I earned 50p per week pocket money, by washing the car. I was expected to buy a Christmas present for most of the members of my family, plus some friends. This amounted to about 20 people. I used to really worry about not having enough money to buy a nice enough present, so I saved my pocket money all year to do it. The only money I could actually spend on myself was when we saw my Grandparents a couple of times a year, and they would give us a few pounds.

Things didn't improve much when I did an apprenticeship. Out of the £40 per week that I got paid, I had to pay half for board. After bus fares, and clothing, toiletries etc, there wasn't much left. I never had the opportunity to save anything for when I left home.

MortifiedAdams Thu 14-Mar-13 09:13:09

So if its their money they are spending, then you would be ok with them.not buying a gift at all then? Seeing as it would be unfair of you to dictate what they spend on.

Bananasinfadedpjs Thu 14-Mar-13 09:18:58

I used to save my pocket money all year just to buy presents for birthdays and Christmas - I think I started when I was about 8.

It was my own idea, and I loved doing it - I think the motivation for it has to come from the child. My parents didn't expect me to buy gifts (and probably would have been relieved to have been spared being presented with cheap aftershave and pot pourri grin), I just really wanted to buy presents myself! I don't like the idea of dictating how a child spends their pocket money. You've given it to them, and so it's theirs to spend as they wish imo.

Ipp3 Thu 14-Mar-13 09:19:08

Idon't think you are being unreasonable. I used to get a little pocket money and I enjoyed saving it in my money box and using it to buy presses for family and the teacher at end of year (can't remember what was done for friends). I was definitely junior school age when I did this. We were poor as piss and my dad used to borrow money from me when they ran out and give me an I.o.u. Promising compound interest! As a result I am pretty good now with budgeting and financial planning! I genuinely did enjoy all that as a kid and I don't really see why some posters regard this as antithetical to childhood, tbh.

Theas18 Thu 14-Mar-13 09:28:29

Don't do it. My 19yr old DDs best mate had this, infact she had huge rules about what she had to do with " her" money. She got very resentful about having to spend a set amount for presents etc.

My kids are 19/17/13 and always make a card. (the eldests cards are amazing !) other gifts vary. DD2 for instance at Xmas gave every one a bookmark that she'd made out of her stash of birthday /Xmas cards , with a wooly plaited tail through a hole punched on and something nice written on the back.

I don't expect my kids to spend their money on me- especially if I've given them that money. It feels wrong.

HorribleMother Thu 14-Mar-13 09:32:49


orangeandlemons Thu 14-Mar-13 09:41:46

So they have to spend their birthday and Christmas present money on other people's presents? That's nice. I would make sure they weren't given any money at all for these, but given presents instead. how would they spend them on other people

My ds has a birthday near Christmas. I used to go mad if he tried to spend his birthday money on Christmas presents. It was his present, and not to be spent on other people. My number one rule.

Talk about tight!

mrsjay Thu 14-Mar-13 09:43:11

I think them spending present money is shocking it is for them because it is well a present, I wouldnt dream of making my dc spend birthday money on others presents it is really tight and a bit weird

Squitten Thu 14-Mar-13 09:45:05


Whilst I think that teaching the principle of money management is a good thing, frankly I would be embarrased if I knew that a small child had used their pocket/birthday/Xmas money to buy me something!

I think it teaches the same point to have them make cards or small gifts so that they understand about the effort and thought that should be put into gift giving. Spending money is really not important

HousewifeFromHeaven Thu 14-Mar-13 09:46:47

Yes mrs I agree it is their money. If I gave my niece cash I would want it to be spent on her.

kelda Thu 14-Mar-13 09:47:43

YABU. Any money my children are given gets put into a bank account, and they are allowed to spend a small amount on themselves.

They make cards for family/freinds' birthdays, and I buy the present.

kelda Thu 14-Mar-13 09:48:21

When I say a bank account, I mean their bank account. For when they are older.

seeker Thu 14-Mar-13 09:51:46

Why do they have to wait til they are older? If I send a child money I expect them to be allowed to spend it. If I sent a present I wouldn't expect it to be sold and the money put in the bank "til they were older". Why is a gift of money any different?

mrsminiverscharlady Thu 14-Mar-13 09:54:09

YANBU. We do something similar. They don't get a huge amount of pocket money, but they do get enough to save up to buy themselves some things throughout the year and spend a very small amount on siblings and parents' presents. My mum used to just buy something 'from me' and it was a bit pointless (she has a tendency to do that now given the chance!) They really enjoy finding something the recipient will like and since we expected them to pay for it they seem to get more enjoyment out of the giving.

I don't get some of the responses on here about letting children be children as long as possible - it's hardly sending them down t'pit grin

ArbitraryUsername Thu 14-Mar-13 10:10:59

DS1 always puts birthday and Christmas money into his bank account. Then, when he has enough, he uses it to buy something big and expensive. E.g. He bought a 3DS and he might buy a PS4 when they come out.

Floggingmolly Thu 14-Mar-13 10:17:57

No. Especially as you say they receive "very little" pocket money, and imagine they'd be selfish if they actually wanted to spend it on themselves?

bamboobutton Thu 14-Mar-13 10:21:27

I bet you squeak when you walk op.

How tight fisted are you making them spend their birthday money on presents for other people!


imnotmymum Thu 14-Mar-13 10:22:38

YABU let the kids spend their pocket money on what like -you cannot give it with conditions they are still young. We do not do pocket money just pay for everything then at bday, Father's day etc we give them some money to spend. They earn bits for this and that. OP if you get 20 in a card or whatever for bday do you think "oh must put this away to x pressie" No I think you think yippie I can treat myself.

ArbitraryUsername Thu 14-Mar-13 10:26:01

It isn't teaching them to manage money if you refuse to let them make actual choices about how the want to spend their pocket money. Or if you don't let them make mistakes in spending it and leave themselves short for stuff they really want.

shewhowines Thu 14-Mar-13 10:28:00

It is if they are aware that they get extra purely for that reason.

ArbitraryUsername Thu 14-Mar-13 10:36:11

But the OP's point seems to be that her dictating that they must spend all their meagre pocket money and any money they receive as gifts on presents (for occasions that she deems present-worthy) is the way to teach financial responsibility. In reality, it would be depriving them of any choice at all. Much better to let them learn to manage their own pocket money for things they want.

Giving them a set budget to choose presents for others from is a completely different situation.

WireCatWhore Thu 14-Mar-13 10:38:42

I think you're mean.

Dromedary Thu 14-Mar-13 12:10:47

I'm not mean. It has nothing to do with me trying to avoid spending my own money. And they only spend a small percentage of their money on others. For instance, they generally each receive cash of around £25 for Christmas and again for birthday, sometimes more. They usually keep some of this (for sweets etc) and buy themselves a present out of the rest. Their weekly pocket money is linked to them doing the music practices that they are supposed to do anyway - the more often they practise the more they get. They are also both able to earn the odd fiver by an occasional fun job they have. Out of this I expect them to buy a present for me (birthday and Xmas), and the same for their sibling. When buying for me, they often pool their money. So they might spend £1 on a little toy for the sibling, and £2.50 each to buy a £5 present for me. If they're invited to friends' birthday parties, I buy the gift and card. But they sometimes choose to buy extra little presents for friends - eg DD1 bought sweets for several of her (female) friends on Valentine's Day. That is voluntary. If they want to give a present to their teacher, they should make the effort to make a card or some biscuits (I don't charge them for the ingredients, and help with the cooking). They also sometimes make biscuits or sweets for uncles etc, with me paying for the ingredients. Homemade biscuits are a really nice gift to receive, and show that the child has made the effort.
The idea is that they spend their own money on presents for family, they choose or help choose the present, they buy it, they wrap it. They have the excitement of seeing how well the present is received by the recipient.
This in my view is what it means to give someone else a present - it comes from you, not from your parent.
What my nieces do is not my business, as people mention, but I am allowed to have a view on it. I have literally handed a (nice) birthday present to a teenage niece and watched her open it, and she has not thanked me. They have never once sent a thank you letter. They have never given me a present that they have bought or made themselves. Much worse than that, they think that it is ok not to give each other a birthday present, even at an age when they have plenty of money through baby sitting etc, which they happily spend on going out with friends, etc. I don't want my DDs to behave like that - it's selfish and spoilt. But their mum thinks that it's ok for them to want to keep all their money for themselves.
It's interesting that the posters who were encouraged to buy presents themsleves when children feel it was a good thing, apart from the one who was expected to spend all her earnings on others.

I don't charge them for the ingredients

OP, you sound like a loon.

orangeandlemons Thu 14-Mar-13 12:18:37

Don't charge for the ingredientshmm.....right...

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