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How much should you spend on a gift? - Part 1

You get an invitation to a celebration and the big question pops up in your mind - What to gift and how much to spend on the gift?

It's tough, isn't it?

I face similar doubts whenever I get an invitation. But ever since I started up Hopasholic, things are a little clearer to me as I get all kinds of customers shopping for all kinds of occasions. And, of course, I have my own perspective. So I have combined my opinion and experience as a gift store owner and as a gift giver / receiver to prepare the following tips.

Here's how to make the gifting decision a bit simpler:

1. Decide your upper and lower budget limit: 

Think about what is the highest amount you are comfortable spending on a gift for the person and what should be the minimum you should spend. Forget all the pressure here, like what would the person think. Your budget is most important. You don't want to cut down on your monthly expenses just to please a person.

2. Pay attention or rather make notes: 

Every time you host a party and receive gifts, it helps to prepare a list of who gave you what and when. Referring the list when you are invited by that person is always helpful. Trust me, it's not as weird as it seems and you will not remember who gave you what five years down the line.

3. Think about the significance of the person:

Is the person an acquaintance and you are visiting as a mere formality? Is the person your mother-in-law? Is the person a new neighbour in the apartment? Is it a distant relative?

One thing I always maintain is that you should put your heart in buying the gift, it helps and it shows. And how much your gift matters to the person is important too. For example, your future mother-in-law might judge you or even like you more based on what you gifted her. But an acquaintance would accept it as a formality gift so you need not visit each and every store and website.

4. Think about the frequency of the occasion:

Is it a wedding or 60th birthday? Is it the annual invitation to a kid's birthday?
Ideally, if the occasion is a one time celebration, you might want to spend a little higher than a regular occasion. However, for annual invitations like birthdays, be careful not to spend too much on the initial birthdays. It would be rather odd to decrease the expense on forthcoming birthdays as people tend to compare what you gifted the previous years.

5. Don't make the person feel uncomfortable:

This is a very important but often ignored point. You might be minting money but the person who invited you, probably a close cousin, might not be earning that well. Never embarrass the person with an exorbitantly priced gift. It might be seen as a show-off or the person would find it difficult to match your gift when you invite him / her the next time. The person might have to cut down on personal expenses to be able to afford a gift for you.

Unless, of course, the person and you have a special bond and you are asked to gift a particular thing you can easily afford.

Well, that's it for now. I'll be adding some more pointers in Part 2 of this post soon. Stay tuned and enjoy the gifting experience!

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