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How Much Money Should I Spend on Gifts for Different Occasions?

General Gift Amount Recommendations

How much to spend will depend on three things: Your budget, the particular occasion, and your relationship with the recipient.

What are you comfortable giving? Don’t feel like you have to spend a set amount just because that’s how much others spend (or others have spent on you in the past). Gifts and etiquette author Leah Ingram says:

My advice has always been this: spend or give what you feel comfortable giving. For some folks $25 is more than enough for a high school or college graduation gift whereas others may feel that because of a close relationship or simply because they earn a higher salary, $75 or more might be a gift you feel more comfortable giving.

What if you’d like to spend a little less or you don’t want to give money as a gift? Well, you can always go in on a gift with someone else to split the cost. And then you can put together a “tangible” gift that fits the occasion.

How important or unique is this occasion? You’ll probably spend more on a wedding gift for a couple than for a housewarming gift because of the (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime nature of weddings.

How close are you to the recipient? Budget more for your significant other, family members, and close friends. Wired suggests you set a total gift budget and then rank each person you need a gift for in importance from one to ten.Then use this very logical gift budget formula(geared towards the holidays but appropriate year-round):

Sum all the people, multiplied by their ranks. It should look something like this 10(wife)+8(kid1)+8(kid2)+3(dad)+3(mom)+1(in-laws)+4(nephew)=37(total)

Set your total equal to your budget: 37(total)=$500 Solve for (total): total=$13.50

Multiply this “total” by each person’s importance to see how much you should spend.

In this example [with a $500 budget], your wife gets 1013.5=$135, and your kids get 813.5=$108.

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