Author Topic: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?  (Read 12328 times)

wallabyjoe

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Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« on: October 27, 2015, 09:51:23 PM »
On my road to Mustachianism, I have gotten better and better about really thinking through purchases and eliminating just about all impulse buys. Before I buy anything, my brain runs through that list of: do I really need this?, will I want this in a week?, will this really improve my life?, is this worth the additional time between me an FIRE?, etc. It's become so ingrained that I really don't "talk" myself out of buying things, I simply don't want them - ah the Zen of Mustachianism. I would imagine this is common around here.

My issue is that I have other people in my life that I like and who expect silly things like Christmas gifts. I was trying to find some gifts for my nieces an nephews and my brain was doing that whole - "will this be an asset in their life?, isn't this going to be clutter in two weeks?". Anyway, imposing my minimalism on a 9 year old that just wants an easy bake oven seems a bit much. Anyone else run into a similar dilemma?


lbmustache

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 09:55:23 PM »
I totally do that!

For kids I almost always buy educational toys or books. Adults, I get something useful, or if all else fails, a gift card to a place I know they frequent. I don't like gifts to go to waste!

Daisy

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2015, 10:05:28 PM »
 Yes! I figure everyone has turned as minimalist and turned off by clutter as I have.

I have an aunt that just turned 90 and her kids planned a surprise party for her. I was all excited about the party and didn't even think of a gift. Isn't getting to 90 and still being able to dance and drink beer enough of a gift? The day before the party my sister asked what gift I was getting and I just stumped for an answer. I hadn't even thought about it. What could a 90 year old possibly need?

Well I didn't have enough time to think of a gift. Then I felt guilty about it. But I stayed at the party longer than any of my siblings and my aunt remarked that she was so happy to spend so much time talking with me. I figured that was a good gift.

Then this weekend I took her to a local Oktoberfest  celebration and she really enjoyed it. Did I mention that she really likes beer? She's 90 and super healthy!

So I figured I have gifted enough. And I hope she enjoyed the time with me as I did with her. Much better than giving stuff that adds to clutter.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 10:08:20 PM by Daisy »

Sandia

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2015, 10:53:25 PM »
I definitely try to think carefully and only buy presents that seem "useful", though sometimes I venture outside of that to things that the person collects. I don't have many kids in my life at the moment, but I definitely focus on books, games that encourage critical or creative thinking, clothes, or taking them to a museum or other outing.

OP, I adored play cooking as a 9-year-old (although I never had an easy-bake oven); I wouldn't mind buying a learning toy like that for a favourite niece or nephew. Another option would be to invite the kid to your house for a baking day where you make things together (don't forget to make them do the math or measuring themselves!).



That said, I'm about to visit the old country and see my entire (mostly adult) family for the first time in 2+ years, and the total cost I've spent on gifts makes me feel a bit ill. Especially when I tried SO HARD to be cheap and clever! A few special, pricey items for close family really added up, unfortunately.

At least I focused on consumables and family-unit presents (rather than something for every individual aunt, uncle, and cousin). My best finds were:
- special tea grown only in my new country ($0.10 per tea bag, so ~$1-$2 per family)
- calendars for 2016 with animals and birds only found in my new country ($2 each at the op shop)
- honey made by the bee research centre at my university ($5/half kg, cheapest and best honey I've ever seen, plus proceeds go straight back to the research)


MayDay

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 07:02:07 AM »
Yes, but less because I am cheap and more because of waste. 

My niece is my best example (I have posted about this before).  2 years ago we got her a really nice expensive backpack and matching lunch box for preschool.  I figured it was a great alternative to yet another toy, and my SIL doesn't have much money so it was also practical and helpful to her budget.  Ends up she used it for one year and then her mom bought her another one for this school year.  Never spending extra on "nice" things that are meant to last again!  This year she is getting a 20$ craft kit. 

Meanwhile my kids are on their 3rd years with the same backpack and going strong. 

Retire-Canada

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2015, 07:20:50 AM »

My issue is that I have other people in my life that I like and who expect silly things like Christmas gifts. I was trying to find some gifts for my nieces an nephews and my brain was doing that whole - "will this be an asset in their life?, isn't this going to be clutter in two weeks?". Anyway, imposing my minimalism on a 9 year old that just wants an easy bake oven seems a bit much. Anyone else run into a similar dilemma?

I can't think of one kid I know that doesn't have a mountain of crap in their bedroom so I don't feel any obligation to buy them more regardless of the specific holiday.

If I see something they need or that is particularly significant to them [ie. not Transformer toy #23] I'll buy it for them whenever. It gets them out of the expectation loop that holidays = gifts from me and it makes them appreciate I'm thinking of them all year long.

I do try to do stuff with the kids in my life throughout the year - like ride bikes together or go to a movie. My goal isn't to not spend any money on them. It's just that I think buying crap on specific dates is not a useful thing to get them used to.

I had a "crazy" yoga aunt back in the 70's-90's when yoga wasn't fashionable who was odd and different than all my other relatives around many subjects including buying crap. Although I didn't fully appreciate it at the time she was a great influence in my life and it benefitted me that she didn't conform to social norms as it made me realize there were alternatives.

Not buying a well off kid toy #103 at X'mas is in no way a hardship or a punishment.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 07:23:29 AM by Vikb »

midweststache

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2015, 07:26:23 AM »
I also do a lot of consumables:

-fancy jam and tea towels for grandparents (jam gets eaten, tea towels are always a great gift)
-wine and a wine-based tea towel for sister
-specialty fudge topping for Dad's nightly ice cream
-Socks for Mom: http://consciousstep.com/ (OK, super over priced, but I see this as basically a donation in her name, and she still gets something to unwrap on Christmas.)
-DH gets tickets to see John Oliver live (and obviously he'll be taking me).

I'm also thinking that rather than buying the jam for grandparents, I might make a few loaves of cinnamon raisin bread the day before Christmas and gift them that. Gifts are increasingly coming from local, slightly more expensive places that are either specifically Chicago-based, charity-minded (like the socks), or more quality items (if they get "stuff").

I thought about asking my sister to go halfsies on a REALLY nice cashmere scarf for my Mom, so as to replace all her crappy cheap ones with something really beautiful and quality (the ones I was looking at were about $150 pashminas), but then I realized she has a very different relationship with her "stuff" than I do and that I'm transposing my own desires onto her. So socks it is.

I think this gift giving thing is harder with small children, because at this point I feel like all the adults (there are no tiny ones in either of our families yet) are simply giving each other practical stuff (HOORAY!)

DH and I hoping to start a family next year, and the gift giving for itty-bitties at the holidays is the one thing I am super-concerned about, since our potential progeny would be the first grand-baby AND great grand-baby on BOTH sides of our families...

mturn

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2015, 08:02:07 AM »
I love this! My husband and I are newlyweds and discovered MMM about 4 months ago and have since made a lot of changes. The good thing is, we discovered MMM before any holidays/birthdays, so we easily made a pact that we would not do birthday presents, anniversary presents, Christmas presents, etc. for each other. Our birthdays were still wonderful, even without needless presents. Our birthdays are in the same month and there are many free birthday things you can take advantage of around town - our movie theater gives you a free birthday movie in your birthday month and there are many restaurants that give discounted meals. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find a good solution to presents for family. We're expected to do birthdays, Father's Day/Mother's Day and Christmas for my family. For Father's Day this year, we went in on a group gift with my siblings that cost $30 and didn't want to take my father out for dinner in addition to that group gift (I am the only sibling that lives in close proximity to my parents). Anyway, I called my mother a few weeks before trying to plan out what to do. I explained that we spent $30 on the group gift and wondered if we could make them dinner at home instead of going out to dinner OR if we could simply come in the afternoon between lunch and dinner. She agreed, but on the day of the holiday, she called to express disappointment that we wouldn't even take my own father out for dinner on his special day. I don't think my dad ever even knew she behaved this way, but the whole day was ruined. When we got there, she took every opportunity to try to figure out what we had been spending money on that prevented us from taking him out to eat. To be fair, I had gone to get my nails done a few weeks prior so they were still manicured. This was right before we discovered MMM and that was the last time I've ever done my nails and ever will do my nails again. Horrible waste of money. Anyway, it was unfortunate that I still had the polish on and I was awful for being able to spend $20 on a manicure instead of putting that money towards my dad's father's day dinner.
Anyway, now we are coming up to Christmas and I'm dreading the pressure of spending money and gifts.

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2015, 11:43:46 AM »
I only give gifts to my immediate family and my boyfriend (and even so, he doesn't give gifts so my gift giving has tapered off). I tend to only give practical or consumable things - a spice rack with the spices that my sister needed, a flannel insulated coat for my dad when he works outside, pjs for my mom. As a family policy we tell each other what we need and give the others the opportunity to surprise us with the style of the thing. Tends to work well and ensures that we mostly buy what the other would be buying anyway.

rockstache

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2015, 12:30:18 PM »
I love this! My husband and I are newlyweds and discovered MMM about 4 months ago and have since made a lot of changes. The good thing is, we discovered MMM before any holidays/birthdays, so we easily made a pact that we would not do birthday presents, anniversary presents, Christmas presents, etc. for each other. Our birthdays were still wonderful, even without needless presents. Our birthdays are in the same month and there are many free birthday things you can take advantage of around town - our movie theater gives you a free birthday movie in your birthday month and there are many restaurants that give discounted meals. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find a good solution to presents for family. We're expected to do birthdays, Father's Day/Mother's Day and Christmas for my family. For Father's Day this year, we went in on a group gift with my siblings that cost $30 and didn't want to take my father out for dinner in addition to that group gift (I am the only sibling that lives in close proximity to my parents). Anyway, I called my mother a few weeks before trying to plan out what to do. I explained that we spent $30 on the group gift and wondered if we could make them dinner at home instead of going out to dinner OR if we could simply come in the afternoon between lunch and dinner. She agreed, but on the day of the holiday, she called to express disappointment that we wouldn't even take my own father out for dinner on his special day. I don't think my dad ever even knew she behaved this way, but the whole day was ruined. When we got there, she took every opportunity to try to figure out what we had been spending money on that prevented us from taking him out to eat. To be fair, I had gone to get my nails done a few weeks prior so they were still manicured. This was right before we discovered MMM and that was the last time I've ever done my nails and ever will do my nails again. Horrible waste of money. Anyway, it was unfortunate that I still had the polish on and I was awful for being able to spend $20 on a manicure instead of putting that money towards my dad's father's day dinner.
Anyway, now we are coming up to Christmas and I'm dreading the pressure of spending money and gifts.

Ugh, I'm sorry that happened to you. I can't imagine that Christmas will be any different. I think there is a reasonable price to pay for family peace.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 12:17:16 PM by rockstache »

mturn

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2015, 12:41:02 PM »
Ugh, I'm sorry that happened to you. I can't imagine that Christmas will be any different. I think there is a reasonable price to pay for family peace.
My family (and my husband's siblings) struggle with money, and I thought last year to suggest that we pick names out of a hat for $20-50 worth of spending, and then everyone can buy for the nephew. His family shut it down, no way/no how, and so we continue to gift each other ridiculous wastefulness on that side. My family gave it a try, but about half of them didn't like it and talked about me afterwards for being a Grinch (good-naturedly, but the sentiment was there). So now we are back to where we were, and I am just trying to choose better gifts that are inexpensive without appearing cheap.
[/quote]

Thanks, one of my siblings suggested the name pulling hat and was shut down, too. You must have a lot with having kids in the family. We just have my side and adult siblings. My husband's family doesn't do gifts or holidays really. I really enjoy giving gifts to my family and trying to think of creative things. it's really just hard with high expectations from my mom and just a lot of guilt and questioning of how we spend our money. Every time I see her, she asks what I've gotten new and how much I've paid for it and such. We owe my parents $30k for my college tuition and are slowly chipping away at it. But I think that added debt just adds a strain to the relationship. At times, my mom has used the money to make me feel guilty about anything I did. Like I everything I did or purchased I should not have done because I should be paying them. Now that I am learning from MMM, I realize, that's actually true. My debt is an emergency and there is no way I should be going on trips or buying new clothes when I owe so much. It's just different owing money to a parent versus a bank.

NV Teacher

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2015, 02:22:02 PM »
I give Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews up to age 12.  After that it's a card and money until they are 18.  A few years ago I started giving the younger kids 3-4 boxes of their favorite cereal.  I figured it was something that their mom doesn't buy them all the time, it's gone in a month or two, and it's not sitting in a box or closet somewhere taking up space.  I do try to be creative when wrapping up the cereal.  Everyone seems to be happy with the situation.

smalllife

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2015, 02:45:59 PM »
I was never a good gift giver - it's not my love language, and I'd rather have the gift giver go with me to pick something out (my grandmother did this growing up and it was great to have quality time AND something I *actually* wanted).  I come from a line of reluctant/bad gift givers, so it was never really a thing.

Then, I married into a gift-centric family.  There's still wasteful spending at Christmas, but marital harmony is worth way more than the gifts cost.  I make a dessert treat that gets requested months in advance, and I'm transitioning to bigger containers as the other gifts get reduced so it still feels as special.  With the nieces and nephews we try to take them somewhere special/have an outing.  They still have something else to unwrap, but it's a process to wean off of gifts and we're making progress. 

So no, being a Mustachian has had no effect on my gift giving but it has forced me to come up with alternatives that I otherwise wouldn't have done.

SomedayStache

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2015, 02:47:18 PM »
No - it's made me a better gift giver.

I am more mindful of my purchases.  I am also no longer willing to just buy crap.  I no longer worry about impressing anyone with extravagent gifts.

For a 9-year-old who wants an easy bake oven...how about a good solid cookbook and an invitation to come over and spend an afternoon making recipes from the book?  It could be something like The Joy of Cooking and you two make dinner together or it could be something like The Village Baker's Wife and you create a delicious cake or dessert.  At that age you can read and follow directions and cooking is probably the most useful skill (but also very very intimidating to the uninitiated!)

3 examples:
We just gave a small consumable craft item for a child's birthday.  It cost less than $5 but I know it will be used up and useful.  I also knew from previous experience that this child gets tons of presents at her parties and in the frenzy of gift opening often doesn't even note who the gift is from.

For a young (<5) relative we gave a used copy of an awesome book.  This used copy had a few tears and stains - but is no longer in print.  It cost only a few bucks and I have been told again and again how loved it is and been sent pictures of the book being read months after the gift giving occasion.  The youngster didn't mind the used state of the book but before MMM I would have been reluctant to give a child something used. 

This Christmas I will be extending an invitation to take my parents out to dinner and have a fun evening of adult conversation without my young kiddos around.  My parents have all the necessities and enough money to buy the 'extras' that they want - they don't need more clutter that they feel obligated to keep because their daughter gave it to them.  Because of my new approach to mindful spending I have been contemplating all year what they could use and appreciate and finally came around to this idea.

brotatochip

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2015, 02:49:13 PM »
For my 6 nieces and nephews I have the same problem buying them useless shit that will end up in the trash anyway or not be useful in anyway.  I only ever buy them silver bullion for the holidays and birthdays.  I try to keep it a little interesting by buying world bullion with animals and the such on them.  You'd be surprised on the beautiful coins some of theses mints come up with.  I also use these purchases as an excuse for me to keep on stacking...yes please facepunch me for this.

MayDay

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2015, 02:51:32 PM »
For those of you who are worried about what to give kids, their parents will love you forever if you give passes to zoos/museums/playplaces/etc or if you give a date to the kid and take them out to do something for a couple hours.  This has the triple benefit of being a few hours sans kids for the parents, a special memory for the kid, and less junk. 

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2015, 03:14:32 PM »
Side note, and I hope not to derail this thread, but at what age is it okay to tell people to stop buying gifts for you? Because I'm 27 and have a decent-size family. I'm tired of spending a bunch of money every Christmas and getting (mostly) worthless gifts in return.

Is it okay to tell people, "Don't buy me anything, I'm not buying you anything, thanks"?

sobezen

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2015, 03:27:12 PM »
I stopped giving gifts to adults during the holidays once they reach 25. I requested adults respect the same practices with me and not provide any gifts. Now for minors, yes I will still provide a gift but it's something simple usually tied to experiences and financial lessons.

jooles

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2015, 03:49:50 PM »
Experiences are the best gifts.  For the kids next door I gave them a gift certificate for a cooking lesson with me.  They loved it.  We made homemade yeast leavened cinnamon rolls together.  I love those kiddos.  At Christmas I invited them over for a Christmas ornament making session.  Last year we made graham cracker gingerbread houses together.  Adults like this stuff too.  Invite someone over for dinner on their birthday.  You get extra social time with them and the memories are worth so much more than that "thing" you were going to buy.

These ideas are not completely zero cost but they can be lower cost than gifts and they enrich your life significantly more than gifting a purchased item.

iris lily

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2015, 04:39:18 PM »
Yes except for the rare days like today.

I went to  birthday lunch for a fellow gardener. I grow the biggest, most badass lilies in the city. So, since it is lily bulb digging season, I gave her 3 of my big bulbs, and I found a box the perfect size and got to wrap it in pretty ribbons with pink hydrangeas from my bush as decoration.that was a fun gift.

But most of them are boring things I struggle with, and since I usually lose interest in shopping after five minutes, I give a bottle of wine.bam, done.

God I hate adult birthdays.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 04:46:05 PM by iris lily »

iris lily

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2015, 04:42:29 PM »
Daisy, I can relate to your forgetting the birthday present. that's me 75% of the time. I, too, can't think why any adult wants a present.

The party I attended today had a mix of cool stuff (home grown tomatoes, tiny container of local honey) and the usual candles and bath product junk.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 04:44:37 PM by iris lily »

Daisy

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2015, 05:31:25 PM »
Daisy, I can relate to your forgetting the birthday present. that's me 75% of the time. I, too, can't think why any adult wants a present.

The party I attended today had a mix of cool stuff (home grown tomatoes, tiny container of local honey) and the usual candles and bath product junk.

Thanks! I mean I even made sure not to schedule my vacation during the time of the party as I didn't want to miss it. 90 years old! It was my sister that made me feel guilty about forgetting a gift, not my aunt. Aunt was happy as a bee that I spent extra time with her. And my sister and I usually agree on the minimalism. Weird...

I like your impromptu gift of lily bulbs for your friend. I think that's what gift giving really is...giving from your heart rather than according to a birthday schedule.

2ndTimer

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2015, 08:03:45 PM »
We give all the nephews and nieces $100 bills.  They haven't complained.  Maybe they are sick of the damned things cluttering up their homes and are just too polite to say. 

SJS

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2015, 06:14:53 AM »
But I stayed at the party longer than any of my siblings and my aunt remarked that she was so happy to spend so much time talking with me. I figured that was a good gift.

Then this weekend I took her to a local Oktoberfest  celebration and she really enjoyed it. Did I mention that she really likes beer? She's 90 and super healthy!

So I figured I have gifted enough. And I hope she enjoyed the time with me as I did with her. Much better than giving stuff that adds to clutter.

The gift of time...........probably the MOST valuable & appreciated one you can give to an older adult!!!  AWESOME GIFT!! 

Kaplin261

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2015, 06:55:35 AM »
Some of the best gifts we have recieved are:

Gift Certificate to a Photographer.
Swim lessons for our 1 year old.
Magazine subscription for our 1 year old
Romp n roll Subscription

pachnik

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2015, 07:01:19 AM »
Yes except for the rare days like today.

I went to  birthday lunch for a fellow gardener. I grow the biggest, most badass lilies in the city. So, since it is lily bulb digging season, I gave her 3 of my big bulbs, and I found a box the perfect size and got to wrap it in pretty ribbons with pink hydrangeas from my bush as decoration.that was a fun gift.

But most of them are boring things I struggle with, and since I usually lose interest in shopping after five minutes, I give a bottle of wine.bam, done.

God I hate adult birthdays.

Oh, my goodness.  I think we were twins separated at birth.  I lose interest in shopping very fast too.  I must say the gift of bulbs was truly inspired! 

I don't exchange birthday presents with friends anymore but I do stuff for my parents and my husband.  For my husband I usually get him a gift certificate that he can use to buy tennis shoes or other tennis supplies.  We take my parents out for lunch for their birthdays.  So no 'real' gifts.

qt

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2015, 07:52:27 PM »
For kids a cook book or mix in a jar or a quick bread or something easy to make with the recipe so they can make it next time.

If the kids parents have a savings account you can contribute to it. For little kids maybe a simple piggy bank so they can collect change. Putting change into the piggy bank was fascinating to my daughter for a long time. Now I have a deal that if she can tell how much change I give her she can keep it. They are learning about money in school.

I dread getting presents anymore. I have allergies to most fragranced things. Then people want you to tell them random smells and then to be okay and you have to explain it's more difficult than that. And the stuff I would use they look at me like I am nuts. I don't like to shop and trying to figure out presents for adults is crazy. I chipped in with my mom for an happy bday/ and every other gift giving holiday that year to give a present of a microwave to my grands because theirs stopped working. Which I thought was an awesome present. Before my daughter was in school, I sent pictures of my daughter to Walmart local to my grandparents so they were printed and paid for and ready for pick up. My grands aren't to very tech savvy. Now that she is in school I can give them school pictures. I always make sure to get an 8x10 so that they can see it. They fly south for the winter so pictures are like gold to them.

Villanelle

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2015, 08:02:06 PM »
I think it has made me a more thoughtful gift giver in most cases, but not a terrible gift giver.  I'd like to think I'm pretty good at not imposing my values on others.  MIL likes to eat out at X restaurant?  I go to a card resale site and find a discounted card.  It might not be the best use of money *for my life*, but it is something that will bring her job, which is the purpose of gift giving, IMO.

For kids, I oftne like to give books, usually with something related added on. When we lived in Japan, for example, I found an Olivia the Pig book in which she discusses food and eating in different cultures.  With that I included bento boxes and kids' chop sticks from the local 100yen (~$1) store.  The gift for two kids (shared book plus their own lunch stuff) was less than $20. 

RocketSurgeon

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2015, 10:46:20 AM »
No, I've always been a terrible gift giver.

use2betrix

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2015, 12:22:25 PM »
No. I will always give gifts to my spouse and immediate family (parents and siblings) and the value will not go down. In fact, as I make more, I do sometimes give a bit more if I know there's something they'd really like.

I hope some day I can send my parents on an amazing vacation paid by myself. I'd have no problem dropping a few thousand on them when the time is right. They have made the most sacrifices and have been the best examples of parents than any child could ever ask for. We group up with little and they were very frugal as they never made much. At 25 I'm pretty sure I made more than they ever did, combined.

To each their own, I would not be where I am today without them and I have no issue expressing that. I do so by talking to them weekly and visiting when I can, but I know they love travel and can only afford it to a certain extent, so I'd love to be able to give them that opportunity.

Eric222

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2015, 12:35:44 PM »
It has made me a different sort of gift giver.  I don't just buy stuff for my relatives.  Now I do things like make a huge batch of homemade vanilla and give them all some. 

My kids on the other hand....well, I don't want the crap in my house, but it makes them happy - so I buy them what they ask for that I know they'll keep using (i.e. the lego set that will become more parts for our lego stash when it isn't a cool set anymore.)

jacksonvasey

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2015, 12:50:02 PM »
It's made me better and worse.

I personally hate giving gifts because it's customary to do it.  But we do anyway, so I tend to try and get away as cheap as possible.  But the frugality mindset also allows me to come up with some great gift ideas for people, and that's the kind of gift giving that makes me happy.  So like I said, sometimes it makes me give great gifts, but otherwise it sometimes makes me give worse gifts.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2015, 01:07:06 PM »
Yes! I figure everyone has turned as minimalist and turned off by clutter as I have.

I have an aunt that just turned 90 and her kids planned a surprise party for her. I was all excited about the party and didn't even think of a gift. Isn't getting to 90 and still being able to dance and drink beer enough of a gift? The day before the party my sister asked what gift I was getting and I just stumped for an answer. I hadn't even thought about it. What could a 90 year old possibly need?

Well I didn't have enough time to think of a gift. Then I felt guilty about it. But I stayed at the party longer than any of my siblings and my aunt remarked that she was so happy to spend so much time talking with me. I figured that was a good gift.

Then this weekend I took her to a local Oktoberfest  celebration and she really enjoyed it. Did I mention that she really likes beer? She's 90 and super healthy!

So I figured I have gifted enough. And I hope she enjoyed the time with me as I did with her. Much better than giving stuff that adds to clutter.

Haven't read the threat yet but:



Daisy: that WAS the perfect gift. Time is the most precious thing any of us have to give because it's finite, and no one knows how much they have left.

I've also done hand written gift certificates: "entitles the bearer to one hand car wash" "entitles the bearer to one freshly cleaned bathroom/kitchen" "entitles the bearer to one foot massage".

I've also admitted on a previous thread that I am an unabashed gift giver...but it has to be the perfect gift. It has to "matter" to that person.

Example: a friend had a dream with some iconic images in it. Two weeks later I was in a crafty gift store in Oregon and found a piece of costume jewelry that had ALL of those iconic images on one piece, arranged exactly like in her dream.

Had to buy it. It was perfect.

Have an uber religious friend...she doesn't need another item to dust. But she appreciated me spending a Sunday with her family, going to their church, and letting them try to convert me without me rolling my eyes and saying "please stop". Perfect gift.

And I do feel that there is one perfect gift, just like there is one perfect word in a poem. To be blunt though, some people I don't love at that intensity so they get whatever at the dollar store I find amusing. Or a toy for their dog and some home baked cookies.

use2betrix

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2015, 03:28:59 PM »
When I was in college I had a massive legged for my dogs 3rd birthday. The amount of people that showed up with toys and treats was unbelievable lol. Not many college kids had dogs so he was always a big hit :)

JZinCO

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2015, 03:44:44 PM »
I was never good at gifting. As someone said earlier, I've found that consumables work well though (fancy honey, beer, etc) especially when they are locally sourced and you are giving these to a family/friend who lives elsewhere.

Last christmas, I gave folks credit to spend at charities of their choice. This christmas, I think I will be loaning money to Kiva matching microloan borrowers with each family member's personalities.  I have also considered 529 contributions to my nieces and nephews but I'm not sure if I can gift enough $ for it to matter in 15-18 years.

Valetta

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2015, 09:12:25 PM »
I was never much of a gift giver before but I've learned to love it actually now that I'm more minimalist/mustachian. I find that setting a budget for gifts actually makes it kind of a fun game. I try to get the most thoughtful thing(s) I can for each person within my budget. I'm a bit of a freak about it actually. I create a massive spreadsheet before Christmas with each person's name, each gift and the cost. I've got formulas set up to show how much budget is left for each person.

It is easier for me to do this because I plan all year long. I keep an evernote notebook with gift ideas for other people. I also have things like favorite colors, birthstones, favorite artists, authors, etc. Then I just browse every once in a while and look for things on sale and buy throughout the year. Then I just wrap them as they come. I'm already almost done this year.

Gift giving definitely isn't my love language and I still don't really care much about getting gifts. I married into a very dysfunctional and gift-centric family though so I had to figure out how to buy nice gifts for people as a survival skill. They actually spend thousands of dollars on each other at the holidays and no one has any money. It's crazy! Because of my technique I can keep up and spend much less money. My budget is $75 per person - I know much more than many around here but I'm not kidding about $1k - $2k from one person to another spent in the family, all on the most random junk - my MIL bought us a giant rotisserie cooker one year even though we specifically said we didn't want one, and that was just one of many useless gifts that year. DH and I would easily spend $3,000 on Xmas just for his side if we did it their way.


MaryByrne

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2016, 06:41:10 AM »
No. Thinking about the purpose and joy of gift giving has made me spend my money smarter and give better gifts. I haven't been in the mindset of frugality with a purpose (early retirement, vacations...) for more than a few months, however I have always loved saving money and looking for ways to shop for value. Mustachianism thought process in buying stuff has led me to look for use, quality, long lasting enjoyment more than shiny new cool. This also applies to what I buy for other people in my life. Because of this it tends to be more expensive but only a few well thought gifts = appreciation/happiness so it works out.

I'm 18 and not expected to give many gifts but this is the strategy I use/guide my mom to use.
A. buy something "fancy" (more expensive small item like necklace or kitchen gadget) or "special" for them (big item or set of things - exotic tea flavors, coffee)
B. buy something they already use or really need - beauty stuff works well NOT GIFT PACKS get the actual stuff they use like brand or a better brand not weird holiday themed, cologne my dad already buys, wallet to replace his falling apart one, new color jeans in exact style measurements my brother already got and liked.
The goal mix is one or two A wow items and a handful of B

I think the biggest shift of thinking is not what you spend (limiting ideas of to get for 10 dollars) or how many gifts I give them but how thoughtful they are and how when they use it they'll appreciate it or if it's a "extra" the joy they'll get.

On accident my family tends to give gifts spread out through the year (like I found a sale on coats, lets have delicious new dish, or I remembered you need this). I'm really into this right now because now I'm coming up with ideas for good gifts way after the big day and getting good deals at after-sales. "group" gifts are great for families like special food or treats, kitchen gadgets (used to make new food), experiences like vacations or mountain day trip.

Our extended family doesn't get together often but usually cash and greeting card works for a special individual and sharing potluck food's good enough for everyone else ha. For example getting extended family together for holiday dinner having potluck with host doing ham or turkey and then gift for the kids or white elephant gift trading game or just bring cash for a favorite person.

Reader

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2016, 07:16:46 AM »
So I figured I have gifted enough. And I hope she enjoyed the time with me as I did with her. Much better than giving stuff that adds to clutter.
You gave her a really precious gift - your time and company. My aunt in her late 80s is like that as well.. she just enjoys talking to us.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2016, 07:25:04 AM »
DW and I have hit the stage in life where we're pretty much done acquiring things.  And the same goes for our kids--they have so many games and toys that we've instituted a policy of "no new types of toys".

When it comes to gifts, DW and I are pretty non-frivolous.  My tastes are pretty specific, so DW requests, and purchases from a specific list I create.  I tend to observe things in life that are pain points or inconveniences to DW, and buy based on that.  As for our kids, we now opt more for experiences and consumables rather than stuff that will (further) clutter our home.  And if we *do* buy toys for our kids, they'll be of a type that the kids already have, like Lego or Little People.

AZDude

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2016, 08:06:04 AM »
As someone with a child, I really, really, really wish her older relatives would follow the OP example and think things through before buying her whatever she asks for... Seriously, the amount of crap that flowed into the house this year was horrifying, and this was the year with the least amount since she was born!

Not to mention it is so much harder to get rid of your child's stuff than it is your own. My stuff I can chuck into the donation bin without a twinge of remorse. Taking away my kid's toys is a little more difficult.

Midcenturymater

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2016, 08:54:35 AM »
We have never done fancy gifts. I always take a decent gift to birthday parties....value 15$ to $20 seems to be the norm...but I try and find cool things around that price point on sale. So I might buy 6 of the thing if it is great and put them in the gift cupboard.

My parents made some amazing gifts for me as a kid...I had a Tudor house I could go in...I slept in it as a kid. It was magical. It did cost my dad 6 weeks of sweat equity though.

My parents tell me not to send anything as postage is too much. However this back fired a little when our son open his little parcel from his grandparents and found some stickers my mum must have got at church....a fruit strip and that was it. My son looked disappointed and he said I really wish she had sent some non dairy soccer balls.....that was his gift last year from them. They must be cutting back.

Christmas we just do our kids and at least one toy drive. My husband and I buy each other one item of clothing we need and an experience..this year we got a dog which will be our gift for the next $15 years.

Our don got a an expensive gift $60 and then bits I picked up in thrift shops. $25 each kid. So we kept costs low.
I don't follow gift registries for kids parties but I do for weddings
..I think that is one time when you should be more extravagant than other times as people only get married once right.

I don't think you should be cheap with gifts but find thoughtful ways to get something.....on a discount.
There us a trend in our city where parents say no gifts for their kids or bring a recycled toy.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #41 on: January 05, 2016, 09:20:55 AM »
I find it actually makes me a BETTER gift giver because I put more thought into the gifts instead of wandering around aimlessly right before the holiday and hoping I see something that might work for the person. Then again, we also did away with gifts for anyone but our parents (adult sibs no longer give gifts to eachother) and the little toddlers/babies in our family just get books per the request of the parents. Makes life so much easier and less wasteful.

ender

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #42 on: January 05, 2016, 09:23:39 AM »
I find it actually makes me a BETTER gift giver because I put more thought into the gifts instead of wandering around aimlessly right before the holiday and hoping I see something that might work for the person. Then again, we also did away with gifts for anyone but our parents (adult sibs no longer give gifts to eachother) and the little toddlers/babies in our family just get books per the request of the parents. Makes life so much easier and less wasteful.

+1


Kitsune

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #43 on: January 05, 2016, 09:26:49 AM »
I find it actually makes me a BETTER gift giver because I put more thought into the gifts instead of wandering around aimlessly right before the holiday and hoping I see something that might work for the person. Then again, we also did away with gifts for anyone but our parents (adult sibs no longer give gifts to eachother) and the little toddlers/babies in our family just get books per the request of the parents. Makes life so much easier and less wasteful.

+1



+2

Also, I find I tend to give more practical gifts (for example, this year, my MIL - who lives in a perpetually-chilly and drafty country house - got a pair of LLBean slippers, which are under 50$ but last many years and are toasty warm. My FIL got a circular saw that actually has a working guard on it, since the one he was using has a broken guard and nicked into his leg a month ago. Both of them were super pleased, but they are both inherently practical people).

Zikoris

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #44 on: January 05, 2016, 09:27:16 AM »
If I'm giving gifts to kids (rarely), I tend to give "creative consumables" like art supplies. When I was a broke teenager but wanted to give my boyfriend's little sister and brother a Christmas present I put together a pretty decent "art kit" from a dollar store for under ten bucks, and they went nuts over it.

I've been told that older kids like getting movie tickets, so that would probably be my go-to for any teenagers.

funcomesfirst

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #45 on: January 05, 2016, 11:27:12 AM »
I don't know if finding MMM was directly tied to our Christmas gift change but my first attempt at reducing the crap in my house was to request that if someone wanted to give me a gift then could they please make a donation to a charity of their choice.  Now that I say that, I am definitely going to use that at my birthday this year!  Not sure why I had left it at Christmas only.  Anyway, the next step for us was to stop exchanging gifts as adults all together.  It is fabulous.  Instead, everyone pitches in money and we buy gifts for a local family.  We all spend *less* money than if we were buying for everyone and collectively we give a family a really awesome holiday!  My mom's love language is gift giving so she still plays "Santa" for all of us - although I prefer that she not, it is an acceptable compromise to me.

For everyone that is saying they give consumables/activities...AWESOME.  As the mom to a 4 yr old, I love those types of gifts for my daughter!

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #46 on: January 05, 2016, 12:51:19 PM »
My parents used to buy Christmas gifts for all their kids and grandkids.  That ended somewhere around the time they hit 25 grandkids.  Now they cut a check to each of their kids, and say "use this for Christmas for your family."  I love the idea--our kids get better gifts, DW and I make sure the gifts (or experiences) fit our needs, and my parents still get to (effectively) give gifts.

Midcenturymater

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #47 on: January 05, 2016, 01:31:13 PM »
I do think kids like getting gifts when they are little as my son's disappointment at grandma's super frugal gift....so I like giving gifts to kids but try to avoid plastic crap and yes get something useful. I would feel cheap not getting gifts just to save myself money....when you are invited to a party. Gifts are for kids in my opinion on peeps getting.g married who tell you what they want.

stlbrah

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2016, 08:19:05 AM »
There is a flow chart in my head now where its kind of like

What do I need to buy -> is there a credit card reward/discount -> is there a discounted egift card I can buy -> groupon/livingsocial? -> retailmenot -> promotions online

Doesn't end when I get the product. There was a scratch on bike I got for gf so I complained and got some store credit back, there was also an additional 15% off sale so I got credit back for that too. I used the store credit to get a new guitar amp that was much needed

Merrie

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Re: Has becoming a Mustachian made you a terrible gift giver?
« Reply #49 on: January 11, 2016, 07:04:59 PM »
I am trying to spend consciously and in accordance with our values. Presents for his family are a priority to him. My side of the family no longer does gifts and I'm glad. My parents frequently give lousy, thoughtless gifts, and everyone in my family has more disposable income than me so what can I buy them that they can't buy themselves? I want to be better at this than my family is. I plan to put more work this year than last year into finding things that really suit each family member on my husband's side but don't break the bank. Also as our kids get older finding things that are more tailored to them as individuals rather than generic little kid gifts.

I was most pleased this year with our gift for our toddler niece. I collected photos of her cousins (I had some of my kids, obviously, and contacted the father of the cousins on the other side of the family to get his okay to pull his kids' pictures off Facebook) and put together a little photo book with sturdy pages and some text about each cousin. So this is basically a board book that her parents can read to her and hopefully it can withstand some little-kid abuse. It took a fair amount of time but I'm really happy about the way it turned out and my sister-in-law was pleased as punch.