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Buying Presents for Grown Children

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As our children get older it can become more difficult to decide on a gift for birthdays and holidays. This is a page about buying presents for grown children.


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By 0 found this helpful
December 3, 2008

I live in a small rural town where pay is low and times are tough right now. I know how much we usually spent on our son for Christmas, but have often thought that we went overboard. He's never had grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins to buy him any gifts, so all he got was from us. He was by no means spoiled, and often waited for Christmas to get new things like clothes.

He's now grown and married, and I wonder what the appropriate amount to spend on him and his wife would be. I don't want to seem cheap, but we're on a very strict budget. Both he and his wife are still in school, live over 1000 miles from us, and are not able to come home very often. They really appreciate money since they have a tight budget also (and it saves on shipping), but what amount is appropriate and acceptable?

I understand the top has no limit, but our budget does. Would anyone be so kind to give an upper and lower limit that they've set when buying a gift for a grown child? For holiday, birthday, or whatever?


December 3, 20081 found this helpful

First off, see what they might need, instead of cash. We have 4 adult children, and they will let us know things they want or need, for example, one daughter and her husband requested an electric griddle, the next year her sister asked for one.


When you get them something they need, they seem to appreciate it more, however, your support and backing will probably mean more to them then gifts.

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December 3, 20081 found this helpful

Ask them ! We have a grandson in college and we send him small gift cards to gas stations and grocery stores every month. He calls to say he appreciates it. I keep track, because we have 4 more behind him.

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December 4, 20081 found this helpful

I really appreciate the responses, but I think I may need to clarify my question. In the past, we did ask what they needed, and have helped buy tires, pots and pans, money to see her parents and to come home, etc. But that was then and this is now. They have all the basics they need at this time. They also have steep student loans, and would prefer money instead of gifts. I cannot call them up and ask how much money they think would be appropriate to send.


My question is: When sending a grown, married child and his wife a gift of cash for Christmas, a birthday, a graduation, or whatever, what are deemed appropriate amounts?

I'd just like some ball-park figures to assure myself that we are neither being cheap nor going overboard. I am asking strictly about cash amounts--no gifts or gift cards. I know that I'm not the only person to be wrestling with this question. I appreciate everyone's help.

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December 4, 20080 found this helpful

I think I would base the $$$ on how much I could easily afford. Just a ball park figure that sounds about what I would do is $200.00. If you're so inclined I think it would be nice to give a "gift for no reason" to help out with school, etc LATER.


I think giving TOO much for Christmas sets a precident and as you get older money will probably get tighter and you might feel you have to live up to past performances. Lot of words to say $200.00 but that's me!

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