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present buying out of control - is it ok to just send a card?

(17 Posts)
emily05 Tue 31-May-05 12:13:44

Now that I am SAHM our income has drastically been slashed, we also have debts.

I worked out that on birthdays (friends and family), christmas and mothers/fathers day we end up spending about £500 - £600 on presents and cards a year. This doesnt include our ds or each other.

It is just too much. I think it steams from everybody else buying us loads of presents (most of our friends and family are loaded!) so we buy trying to keep up. Christmas I dont mind spending a bit on, and I dont mind getting pressies for my neices.

Is it ok to just send cards from now on? Would you be offended to just get a card for your birthday and not a present?

The worst offender is my brother who about a month before his birthday says "right just to let you know for my birthday I want vouchers" or whatever it is he wants.

Also - would it be ok to just send a card to my dad for fathers day? No present?

Please let me know if this sounds reasonable. thanks

Xena Tue 31-May-05 12:16:24

We only buy for the children and my Sisters, brother, sils etc only buy for our children not us

acnebride Tue 31-May-05 12:55:28

Present buying seems in general to be on the up - absolutely no need for most of it IMO. I'd give a bit of notice if you bought presents in the past - decide on a policy and let people know as you see them, e.g. cards only except for children under 18 or whatever. You may feel a bit weird telling people but then they know what's going on.

I give presents only to immediate family, plus one friend I have known all my life, plus to children for birthday parties we are going to. We are likely to have less and less money so there's going to be a lot of homemade cakes and second-hand books for the adults. they'll be fine with it.

Sponge Tue 31-May-05 13:00:32

We have agreed with dh's brother that we only do presents for the kids not each other. But for his sister and my brother, who have no kids, we still do adult presents otherwise seems a bit unfair.
I wouldn't send a father's day present or if I did it would be a token something as a bit of a joke.
I think a kids only rule is quite common but you do ahve to be explicit or it can lead to embarrassment.

flobbleflobble Tue 31-May-05 13:02:38

It's fine to just send a card, but might be best to let everyone know this is what you will be doing and to ask them not to give you presents either.

I think you have to take presents to kids parties though

acnebride Tue 31-May-05 13:05:50

Just to add, I give presents at birthdays and Christmas only, and guest gifts when I go to stay with someone - would now make biscuits or something for this. The only exception is that I have sometimes bought something on holiday for my two nieces.

I'm mean but I'm a lot less broke! Used to be that I gave a lot of presents to prove that I wasn't as broke as I actually am...

Xena Tue 31-May-05 17:25:39

I must say though that I was embarassed at Easter we went to my MIL's house with 4 easter eggs for the DC's cousins and they came home with 12 between them as there was 4 familys there (inc us) and they got one from their nan and grandad as well.

Xena Tue 31-May-05 17:26:17

sorry we have 3 DC's. My MIL has 7 grandchildren in total

jessicasmummy Tue 31-May-05 17:30:02

we buy for all kids, parents and my brother and his wife only.

We only buy for my brother and wife as they have no kids yet.

SIL/BIL get cards. Their kids get presents. An arrangement we made at xmas with them and it makes it so much easier... especially as they have 2 little ones now.

my dad always tells me he would be happy with a card and a mars bar and im tempted to do it one year for a laugh!

Donbean Tue 31-May-05 17:32:34

We made an agreement with the families when we had ds that we would buy cards only and a small present for the children of the family for christmas and birthdays.
Luckily every one sighed a sigh of relief when we told them all and said in a relieved manner "what a great idea".
Now i buy through the year for Christmas and birthdays and limit my spend to less than £10 each. I trawl the sale items and have got some gorgeous stuff.

Tommy Tue 31-May-05 17:38:41

I have 4 brothers and sisters and 11 nephews and nieces plus numerous god children so I know how you feel! We tend to buy only for the children (max £10)and I might get something for my closest sister (birthday a week after mine!)but TBH it's only if I see something I know she'll really like or I'll take her a small bunch of flowers on the day - just depends on what we're doing.
Your brother sounds a bit cheeky IMO emily!

MarsLady Tue 31-May-05 17:39:43

This is what we do (or what I have trained my family to do).

I set a budget on pressies. For the children's friends etc £5 max. This includes everything. The kids make cards for their friends (and I'm a fiend for recycling paper).
For family it's £10 for singles and £15 for a couple. That's Christmas and birthdays.
For my friends it's about £10.
For teachers it's £5.

I have a present box. If I see some good things on bogof or drastically reduced I buy them and pop them in my box. I have a box for kids pressies and one for grownup pressies. Because I set a strict budget I have to look for more creative pressies. I don't like the pressies to look cheap so I shop well. If I don't spend the entire budget I do not make it up. Eg if I have a £10 budget and I spend £6 then I won't spend the extra £4 I congratulate myself on a job well done.

I bought my sister some silver plated salad servers at The Country Living Fair. The guy was just selling off old stock. They cost £1. My sister said, "I can tell you live in the posh part of town. You always get the best pressies".

So, that's my secret shared. Hope it helps.

Failing that, then just send the card cos it's supposed to be the thought that counts.

oooggs Tue 31-May-05 18:15:10

Marslady - thanks for that. I am very impressed and will try and follow suit

MarsLady Tue 31-May-05 18:21:49

let me know if it works for you. I've been doing this for years. It all started cos I worked out that with 3 kids (pre twins) if they went to 10 parties each I was spending £150 on pressies. I decided that it was more than enough. I don't buy cards for kids anymore cos they don't appreciate them. My kids can make them. I took one of my sisters Christmas shopping. She was spending over £300 on friends and family. I got it down to £94.76 one year. Oh yeah!

tallulah Tue 31-May-05 18:26:06

Marslady, that's our budget too. From other threads on MN I thought we must be really mean. Glad someone else does it as well!

We have had a "children only" rule in place all the way along. The only thing that put my back up was that having bought presents for my 4 nephews since they were born, when we stopped the presents because they were over 18 (18th present being bigger than usual and the last) the BILs then stopped buying for our kids, who were considerably younger..

MarsLady Tue 31-May-05 18:28:44

The only reason I couldn't do a kids only rule is cos I love getting pressies. That said 2 of my sisters have 1 child each and I have 5 so there's a method in my madness lol

emily05 Tue 31-May-05 19:34:26

Thanks for replying. I think that I will have to say something. If we werent in debt then it wouldnt be a problem, but we have huge debts so I have to be more careful with our money.

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