When Your Wife Says “Don’t Buy Me Anything”

I don’t know how you and your family celebrates Christmas or birthdays, but does your other half ever just tell you not to buy them anything ‘cuz they’re perfectly content?

And do you believe them?? ;)

My wife’s on year #8 now of doing this to me, and I think I’m finally catching on…

  • Year #1: “Don’t buy you anything?? Yeah right!! Not falling for THAT trick!!” *Goes out and buys double the stuff just to be doubly sure*
  • Year #2: “Don’t buy you anything?? But if I’m going to just ignore you, at least cap it at $50 total?” *Goes out and buys $100 worth of stuff and lies saying it was only $50*
  • Year #3: “Don’t buy you anything? But if I’m going to ignore you AND not take your cap seriously, just fill your stockings with (small) gifts only?” *Fills her stocking with gifts only, but not small ones*
  • Year #4: “Don’t buy you anything? But if I’m going to ignore you AND not take your cap seriously OR fill your stocking with small gifts, take you somewhere for a day of relaxing?” *Books a bed and breakfast and buys nothing and wins the Husband of The Year award*
  • Year #5: Listens to his wife
  • Year #6: Listens to his wife
  • Year #7 (this year): Will listen to wife…

What can I say, men are slow :)


We’re all on the same page now, however, and it’s been laid out even more specifically over the past few years so that we’re both better at honoring how the other person wants to celebrate holidays together. Because as it turns out, I don’t really want a lot more “stuff” either! I’m a proud minimalist now!

So here’s *currently* how our gifting looks after many many years of trial and error (mostly on my part ;)):

  • Christmas: stocking stuffers only – no items allowed to be more than $10/each.
  • Birthday: gifts or experiences. If gifts – $50 (total) or less, if experiences – 1 day or more away to relax, with the less kids and schedules the better.

After three years of sticking to it, I’m proud to state it’s been a smooth and magical ride ever since. Imagine that? Which is saying nothing of all the pressure and last minute scrambling that’s now gone out the window too… That alone can be more stressful than fronting the cash!

So the point is, sometimes our significant others ARE telling us the truth with these types of things, and hopefully we’re smart enough to realize it and know that there was a reason we chose *them* over all the others to begin with…

And special people don’t go around playing games :)

So happy holidays at all the special people out there in our lives, and a very particular Happy Birthday to my own special person today – my wife! Who not only makes me a better person (and listener), but who also joins me in the “closer to 40 than 30” club so I’m not so lonely here :) Thanks honey! Though don’t be surprised if your kids have gone out and bought you a ton of stuff today… There were never any rules around THEM, right??? *muah ha ha*….

(Okay, who am I kidding – you already know you’re about to get 400 pieces of doodle art because that’s all kids ever want to give for presents! So don’t forget to act surprised! ;))

How about you all? What kind of rules do you have around gifting? And do you follow them??

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  1. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance December 15, 2017 at 6:48 AM

    Sounds like your wife is a keeper. Mine is also. I’m probably going the get nothing route too. Happy holidays!

  2. Cubert December 15, 2017 at 6:50 AM

    My parents pull this on me. I still get them a gift card or some nice token of appreciation, and all I get is “You didn’t have to do that.” with a stern look. LOL.

    With the Mrs., I try to find gifts that are fun but practical. We set a 100 dollar limit for each other, but often it winds up going to 150 as some sort of weird competition. Sigh. I do appreciate having the twins now, so the focus can me more on their fun.

    1. J. Money December 15, 2017 at 7:04 AM

      Haha sounds about right :) Having kids also helped us cut down on all the gifting too – the rule is you can only buy for our kids and not us! We’ll still do something for our parents because they spoil our kids (and us), but it’s been a much more pleasurable experience ever since they came in the mix :) They get so excited to get gifts!!!

  3. Accidental Fire December 15, 2017 at 7:18 AM

    Ha, everyone is going to be tempted to comment with one of those “it’s a trap!” images from Star Wars. For many “I don’t want anything for Christmas” is akin to “do I look fat in these jeans?”

    My family has whittled Christmas gift amounts down to very minimal over the years. It’s the way Christmas should be

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:22 PM

      Haha… EXACTLY how it sounds w/ the jeans question! :) Though I don’t DARE answer that one with anything less than a “You look gorgeous, dear”.

  4. the Budget Epicurean December 15, 2017 at 7:21 AM

    If your wife’s worth listening to she says what she means and means what she says, no games. Experiences are far better gifts, you don’t have to store, organize, or clean them, and memories will far outlast any “stuff”! The gifts I treasure the most from my husband are the hand written letters telling me how much and why he loves me. As a not very verbally expressive guy, it means the world to me!

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:23 PM

      That is sweet – I like that :)

  5. Jacq December 15, 2017 at 7:25 AM

    My ex didn’t believe me that for Valentine’s I wanted M&M’s, not a heart shaped box of chocolates. I like all the pieces in an M&M bag! Eventually I convinced him.
    I have mixed feelings about gift giving. I like getting that ‘just the right thing’ for the person. But having been part of my parents paring down, they don’t need more ‘stuff’, nor do I. But we all also have enough money to get the things we need. *sigh*

  6. Paul December 15, 2017 at 7:33 AM

    This is the first year Im actually going to keep it under $50. Weve been married 11 years known each other for 15… W’ell see how it goes…

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM

      If we don’t hear from you again we’ll know why :)

  7. Megan December 15, 2017 at 7:34 AM

    I try to keep spending to a minimum for Christmas/Birthdays. Generally I set about a $20 limit per person (parents, 3 brothers,sister-in-law, neice and nephew,a couple close friends), though if I find something I really think they’ll like that costs more I’ll spend more. The main thing I try to do is buy things I think they’ll really use/appreciate. My brothers and I usually create a list of things we’d like so that’s easy. Often it’s a chance to ask for things that might not fit into the budget (I’m looking forward to hopefully getting a wood burning kit to play around with).

    I probably spent somewhere between $30-$40 for my boyfriend, but it’s our first Christmas together and I think we’re both still trying to figure out the other’s gift giving expectations. We’ve talked about it, and I told him I don’t need a lot, but I have a feeling he’ll still spend more on me than I did on him.

    I’m content but there’s something nice about having something to open up, and watching others open your gifts. That being said, as my brothers and I get older and have kids, I think the gift-giving focus will shift more to the kids and away from us.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:26 PM

      That first Christmas together is always so awkward, haha… I hope it goes okay! :)

  8. Debbie December 15, 2017 at 7:37 AM

    Happy Birthday J$$ wifey!! Hope you have a great day. Eat something good for me (sushi,YUM). We truly mean it when we say “don’t buy me anything”. We had a huge garage sale in Oct. Sold a ton & donated leftovers. Downsizing is liberating even though hubby says we still have too much stuff in the attic! So yesterday $500 went into our Vanguard Christmas IRA!

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:26 PM

      now THAT is a present!

  9. Clare Mansell December 15, 2017 at 7:40 AM

    I have more than once said to my husband that I would be SO thrilled if he said “I was going to buy you a present, but instead I paid £50 into our savings/mortgage account instead” but no he never does it and so my endlessly battle against the tide of new stuff continues! I really really don’t want anything (except a smaller mortgage)

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:29 PM

      ack!! SUCH A GOOD IDEA too!! would turn me on so much! haha…

  10. Leo T. Ly December 15, 2017 at 7:47 AM

    I am a terrible gift giver as a spouse because when I think that something looks good, my wife thinks it’s terrible. Most of the time when I was asked to choose one of two items that my wife presented, 90% of the time, my choice was not the choice in her mind.

    I hate to admit this, but I suck at choosing a gift. So for the last couple of years, my gift was to take my wife to the shopping mall and gave her a budget to shop for whatever she wants. She’s happy getting what she wants and I am saving money because after Christmas shopping is much cheaper.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:30 PM

      I would totally be down for that too – especially if it’s a *treat* to go shopping! My wife never buys anything for herself and would love for her to do so guilt-free :)

  11. Katie December 15, 2017 at 7:54 AM

    I’m curious what types of stocking stuffers you get each other for under $10. My thinking the last few years has been to buy more quality things and when I look at my wants for Christmas, most of the under $10 things have been eliminated from that list over the years. I just feel like those low limits are what end up causing people to buy stuff just to buy stuff rather than getting the appropriate gift.

    But maybe I’m missing out on some really good stuff that is less than $10…

    1. Debbie December 15, 2017 at 8:12 AM

      You can get some practical gifts for under $10. Example: we bought a new kitchen set (we bought a new home, old set was too big) with red chairs. I told my mother I could use some red oven mitts & dish towels to match (I actually already have red towels but they’re almost thread bare!) so those are 2 small things she’s buying me for Xmas.

    2. Debbie December 15, 2017 at 9:37 AM

      Forgot to mention other gifts under $10 we bought: my step father loves Dunkin Donuts coffee so bought him a bag for $6. He likes raspberry jelly so I bought a jar plus his favorite okra in a jar, $6 each. My mother enjoys reading mysteries. I bought several at a used book store for $1.50-$2 each. I also bought her 12 older issues of her favorite magazine “Architectural Magazine” for $10 at the same store. She loves Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches so a $10 gift card is coming her way this Christmas. My family likes practical gifts like this. When asked, I told her to buy a jar of 100% raw honey for my husband (he likes it with peanut butter on bread) & Old Spice after shave. Both cost under $10 each. All of these are useful gifts. The magazines/paperbacks for my mother can be traded back to the bookstore where I bought them & used for credit for a future purchase.

      1. Katie December 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM

        Those are great ideas! Thanks for sharing, as I was not thinking much about the consumables like coffee and food! I would love a bag a coffee and Chick-Fil-A GC for Christmas!

        1. Debbie December 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM

          No problem Katie! One more idea: my mother has been wanting to see the movie “Monument Men” for years so I bought her the DVD for $8. Happy Holidays!

          1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:33 PM

            YES TO ALL THESE IDEAS!!

            I typically do books a lot (used for from “tiny libraries” – hah!), as well as funky socks and other random things I know my wife loves (chocolate… a lottery ticket for good measure, you know – the important stuff ;))

    3. Jacq December 18, 2017 at 12:32 AM

      I am in charge of getting some stocking stuffers. My parents are divorced and each do some at their respective houses, but I like them to have some surprises too. Chap stick (even found a vegan one), some candy, movies size box of skittles, a pair of peeps, Harry Potter every flavor jelly beans. I shop the travel size section. My sister’s favorite face scrub is there, my dad and brother have dry skin, so small bottle of lotion. Travel pack of Q tips. Travel size tissues, 3 small packs sold together. Most items are around $1, some are a little more. All under $3. If allergy appropriate there’s a German roast nut stand I go to. Their small & medium are under $10. $5 gift card to Wendy’s or dunkin . That’s a value meal / snack, or coffee & a donut.
      In the past for coworkers, I found individual packets of fancy flavor hot chocolate for ~$2 each, a nice token gift.
      All things that can be used up before next Christmas!

  12. Nicoleandmaggie December 15, 2017 at 8:03 AM

    It is good to listen to and believe women when they tell you what they want or don’t want.

  13. Budget on a Stick December 15, 2017 at 8:08 AM

    My wife only expects donuts and flowers on her birthday, Valentine’s Day and anniversary otherwise we don’t give gifts. Makes life so much easier. My sisters and I agreed to no gifts for birthdays or Christmas a long time ago. My wife struck the same agreement with her sister as well.

    It allows you to focus on the time you are with the people than stressing about seeing them and hoping they like the crap thing you bought them.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:33 PM

      Donuts! you married well!

  14. Adam December 15, 2017 at 8:11 AM

    I want my wife to be comfortable and happy. Gifts tend to revolve around that accordingly — chocolate, hard-to-find hard ciders, plush clothing… once even a space heater for the bathroom so cold mornings like this aren’t as jarring. This year I’m stretching it a bit and picking up a flat TV/DVD combo to mount in the kitchen so she can watch West Wing while she bakes… but it’s still the same theme. (Here’s hoping she doesn’t come across this post in the next ten days…)

    Difficulty: her birthday is December 24. I’m a little bit screwed either way, so I figure more effort is better than less.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:35 PM

      Ahhhh love it!!! I’m the 26th so I get it! Cracked me up with that space heater haha…

  15. Nicole @ Budget Like a Lady December 15, 2017 at 8:11 AM

    First of all, I can’t stop laughing at the doodle art comment because it is so true!

    I try to keep gifts around the $20 range unless there is a big purchase that I need a special budget for. But for the most part, I am a part of the “I don’t want anything” club and my husband of 9 years always thinks I’m joking. Lol!

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 3:36 PM

      I never lie about doodle art!!! :)

  16. Mrs. Need2Save December 15, 2017 at 8:12 AM

    It is certainly not essential, but we usually buy at least one thing for each other with input from our two sons. It’s usually not extravagent but when the kids are opening gifts on Christmas morning, they like to see mom and dad open at least one thing too. This year I got Mr.N2S a cadence monitor for his road bike (about $60) and a couple books on hiking the AT which he is planning to do in retirement (shhh…don’t tell him).

    One year I went crazy and booked a cruise for Mr.N2S to celebrate him finishing grad school and I wrapped up one of those little cruise ship toys for him to open. He was like – what is this? Underneath was a print out of our itinerary and he got it! Best gift ever – even if he had to wait 3 months to enjoy it fully!

    I think one thoughtful gift is plenty! The Holidays are more about spending time with your crazy family and eating delicious goodies! And please, oh please – do not buy me anything with heart shaped jewelry!

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:13 PM

      A cruise!!! Can I be married to you please!!

  17. Brian December 15, 2017 at 8:20 AM

    Happy Birthday to your wife. We follow similar rules, more about experiences or me time during special occasions these days than gifts. Our anniversary is this month, and we always celebrate with a dinner date out.

  18. Apathy Ends December 15, 2017 at 8:38 AM

    We do the stockings with a $50 limit for Xmas and usually something small for birthdays but my wife went all out and got me a Kayak this year. I protested but was told to “deal with it” because she knew I had wanted one for awhile and wouldn’t buy it myself.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:27 PM

      Feisty! Love it! I think it’s good to force us to accept stuff we’ve always wanted, esp when they know dam well we’re not going to go out and buy it for ourselves :)

  19. Amy @ Life Zemplified December 15, 2017 at 8:45 AM

    Happy Birthday to Mrs. J$! My husband and I agreed to not exchange gifts for any holidays or birthdays four years ago, but we always do something to make it special for the other. Works well.

  20. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance December 15, 2017 at 9:25 AM

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family! I usually tell Mr. FAF not to buy me anything, but I secretly hope that he will buy me something, which he never did @_@

    But overall, I don’t want him to waste money on expensive stuff since I won’t need them. I’ve capped surprise gift prices at $10 just in case hehe. ^.^

  21. OMGF December 15, 2017 at 9:33 AM

    I have a horrible habit of losing stuff I need, like gloves, scarves and designer dresses (still bitter), so I’m always down for gifts. However, I’m now to asking only for things I need and will use. I asked for socks for Christmas. Here’s to hoping Daddy comes through with the real wool.

    As for gifts to others I simply ask them for what they want or need and proceed accordingly. There are some people who I know so well that I can pick a great gift without asking. For my mom all I have to do is pay for a manicure and she’s a happy camper.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:28 PM

      that’s a great idea for minimalists too! since usually we always need *something*, even if it’s to upgrade something we already have that needs replacing :)

  22. Joe December 15, 2017 at 9:33 AM

    I got a board game for Mrs. RB40 for Christmas. We’ll stay home and play it on Christmas. Should be fun.
    The kid always want to buy Lego for his mom. :)

  23. lisa December 15, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    We’ve been known to get into an argument before Christmas. At that point, we have no desire to exchange gifts. Easy Peasy.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:29 PM

      every year?? What are you two fighting about? (Or is it now just a tradition? :))

  24. JY December 15, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    We have never bought each other a Christmas present in our 10 years of marriage – because we already have too much stuff! In fact, we’ve been doing a thorough purging of our household goods and it feels great to have space in our house.

    I wish the in-laws would take it seriously though. The amount of waste generated by their Christmas gifts is mind-boggling. Even though we keep saying we don’t want anything, we end up with boxes worth of useless trinkets we haul off to the thrift store after each holiday.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:29 PM

      ugh.. yeah, that’s tough…

  25. The Wealthy Accountant December 15, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    The good news is it only took you 5 years to listen to your wife. I’m booking on 30 years of marriage and still don’t always listen to my chagrin.

    In truth, you gave your wife the best gift of all, your love. It’s all that really matters.

    Merry Christmas, J.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:30 PM

      you know it, brother :)

  26. Dave @ Married with Money December 15, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Gifting is such a pain in my a$$ :)

    So here’s the deal. Last year I brought up that I hate gifts and think it’s silly that we exchange them with my brother and sister in law. We are both well off enough that if we want something we’ll just buy it rather than wait for someone else to get it for us. We agreed that we’ll stop giving gifts.

    This year we’re doing a Book and Recipe exchange – bring a book you think others might like, and a recipe, and we’ll get together, swap them around, take what you want, etc. 100% free, 100% fun! I’m actually REALLY looking forward to it.

    My wife, on the other hand, is the pain in my a$$. :)

    I told her to not buy me anything, but gifting is her love language. So, I’ve got a few gifts coming this year which means she’s getting a few things, too. Nothing big, but things nonetheless.

    I’d much rather just save the money. It’s a small compromise I’ll make to keep her happy I guess :)

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:31 PM


  27. Enoch December 15, 2017 at 11:58 AM

    We generally keep gifts at around $50 and under and are both on board for doing that. Since we work off of a budget and list of needs, gifts are usually put towards buying what we actually need.

    And, sometimes, we just do buy any gifts. It’s great when you are in the same page with your spouse with regards to finances!

    Merry Christmas!

  28. Lily @ The Frugal Gene December 15, 2017 at 12:03 PM

    Hahaha that’s a great topic. Let’s see…

    First year – he gave me concert tickets and my favorite band tees.

    Second year – potting soil and a plant

    Third year – 3x Kettle brand potato chips

    I told him to not get me anything but he thinks it’s a trap too so instead of causing him stress, I said to give me something useful and practical.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:32 PM

      Thanks for making it easier on him :)

  29. Mr. Tako December 15, 2017 at 1:12 PM

    Yeah I’ve heard the “I don’t want anything” line before too. I took it seriously once and got into HUGE trouble.

    Yeah, not doing that again!

    Reading between the lines is almost more important than listening in relationships! ;)

  30. fin$avvypanda @ finsavvypanda.com December 15, 2017 at 2:29 PM

    Happy birthday to Ms. J Money!! :)

    My fiance and I stopped buying gifts for each other on holidays for years now. If we need or want something, we usually buy it for each other during the year (as a surprise) which saves us money. Instead, we just go out for a nice dinner or small travel to somewhere close by for the holidays.

    However, for one Christmas, when we first dated, he asked me what I wanted. I told him nothing (and I meant it)… but he REALLY insisted and even wanted to buy me a handbag that costs over a couple to few thousand $$ (I guess he just really thought I was dying for a handbag).

    And he wouldn’t stop bothering me until he could give me something “expensive” LOL. So, I told him “Ok, full stop! hand me the cash instead… I’m going to invest it in the stock markets… if it gains, we can both go on a vacation AND buy that handbag if I really wanted to.” So, for that year, I got the gift of investment and a nice bamboo plant (I love bamboos) haha.

    Oh man, you’re probably thinking “how lame…” >.<

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:33 PM

      WOAHH!!! Not lame – AWESOME!! I can’t believe a) You asked for that, and b) HE GAVE IT TO YOU! haha…. so so brilliant, man… you are good.

  31. Minimise With Me December 15, 2017 at 3:07 PM

    Great article J and loving all the comments!

    We do exchange gifts but we buy each other stuff we need or really want, not just random stuff. We’ve started keeping a list during the year but of course we generally just buy what we need when we need it. We particularly buy consumables as I’m a minimalist and my husband isn’t keen on too much stuff either (phew :D).

    This year I bought him a new coffee to try (thanks Joshua Fields Millburn for that idea :)) and new cologne as he was running out. And we both got something music related that will be very useful. I’m getting a new candle, lush soap and a couple of books I’m keen to read. Total budget is around $150 each and that’s also our bday limit.

    No idea what anyone else in our family is getting us which makes me a little nervous

    I also try and give minimalism inspired gifts e.g. a movie voucher or experience or something consumable. And put a lot of thought into what I do give others as it’s my goal to not gift clutter :)

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:34 PM

      Coffee and cologne!! Great concoction!! :)

  32. Gary @ Super Saving Tips December 15, 2017 at 3:10 PM

    Happy b-day to Mrs. J$! I’m glad you finally got on the same page with each other. My wife and I tend not to give each other gifts (we both have more than we need anyway), but usually agree to go do something special together, like tickets to a play or a concert for example. When there is something specific my wife wants, I usually encourage her to get it no matter the time of year. And she encourages me to do the same. Since we’re both fairly frugal, those wants usually only occur when we actually need something.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:35 PM

      Totally :) I think it’s great to pick up stuff when you need/want it badly, especially when you tend to be super frugal. Extremity in either direction isn’t usually good.

  33. Shannon December 15, 2017 at 3:42 PM

    We actually do not do gifts for each other for holidays, anniversaries or birthdays. Going on year 6 of marriage. On the other hand, we celebrate life’s anything with food and drink (usually at home), and going on trips which were mainly in the form of camping in our new little trailer this year (aka cheap vacations). Just doing stuff together is our gift. Sounds corny now that I type it out, but that is how we like it. Gifts must not be our “love language” – and it saves money.

    Now to get the extended family to stop gifting. This is super tricky. I don’t need more junk in the house (nor do most of them), and I don’t even want to guess what you like especially since I haven’t even seen your face in a year.

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:36 PM

      That’s when gift cards to restaurants or movies come in :)

  34. Heather December 15, 2017 at 4:20 PM

    We haven’t quite managed “nothing” but we did set a hard spending limit for Christmas presents this year. And birthday presents have largely been replaced by a buy in to a solid poker tournament – which we both get to enjoy!

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:37 PM

      whaaaa! you both play poker?? that his hot!

      (goes to look at your blog – and sees poker in the url – double hot! :))

  35. MrWow December 15, 2017 at 4:37 PM

    We try to do experiences vs gifts for anything we can. We are trying to get our families on board with that too.

    Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. But making progress.

    There is a bit of a prisoners dilemma around “Don’t get me anything”. You really have to understand each other. But I think once one of you bites the bullet and takes the plunge it works out for the best.

  36. Miguel (The Rich Miser) December 15, 2017 at 4:58 PM

    Ha! My wife Lily won’t tell me to not buy her anything, because she knows I’m so literal and mechanical in my thinking that I’ll actually listen. Instead, she just chooses something and buys it for herself, and I wrap it up and get her a card to go along with it.

    I myself always ask my wife and parents for weird, “investment” gifts. One year I asked for airline miles. This year I’m asking for cryptocurrencies. I’d probably ask for cash if I could get away with it…

    1. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:42 PM

      Haha…. you are The Man.

  37. Kris December 15, 2017 at 5:19 PM

    I had the same deal with my wife and figured out that she really didn’t want any gifts around year 3, hahaha. If we wanted something it would be during the year and not on those special occasions like Christmas or birthdays. We both know that all it matters is that we have each other and the materialistic stuff is not that important at the end of the day.

  38. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life December 15, 2017 at 6:18 PM

    I’m still giving PiC a dirty look from time to time because we’ve successfully not gifted for Christmas (except stocks! Delicious dividend stocks!) and he broke the rule this year. But they were for really fuzzy warm things for my feet so it’s useful which meets one of my other rules about buying things. But he broke the rule! And that’s annoying :)

    1. Libby December 17, 2017 at 8:42 AM

      When my son was young, I used to give him a share of stock for Xmas with a matching Xmas ornament: Hershey stock and I had found a Hershey bar ornament, Disney with a Disney ornament, etc.

      Now when we decorate the tree, he says “oh this is my Hershey stock! Where is it by the way?” And then we have a conversation about the value of holding stock with DRP and not selling it for a depreciating asset like a car :)

      1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life December 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM

        I love that! I usually only gift books to our kiddo but I’d like to start incorporating savings for college or investing in general in our gifting.

      2. J. Money December 18, 2017 at 6:43 PM

        LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! WOW!!!! Such a freakin’ good idea!!

  39. Kate December 15, 2017 at 11:44 PM

    HA! Hubby always gets me something useful… we’d been dating for like 4 months and he bought me a crockpot. 14 years later, the marriage and crockpot are still going strong… We don’t do gifts for each other anymore, but we do get a big-ish family gift of some sort, like a summer vacation that we call our “Christmas present”

    1. J. Money December 19, 2017 at 9:35 AM

      Crockpots – keeping people together for hundreds of years! ;)

  40. Bex December 16, 2017 at 7:09 AM

    I love giving gifts. They don’t have to cost a lot but giving someone something you know they want on need can be really joyous.

    My gifting rules are roughly:
    1) No cash. Very occasionally gift cards but only when there is a solid reason to do so.
    2) Get a deal. We like items that are 75% off… or more. Realistically no gift purchased this year is full price.
    3) Luxury essentials. My dad always carries 2 hankies. He’ll always need hankies. We could buy him a luxury version on that essential. Also works for coffee, make up, umbrellas etc. (‘Luxury’ is defined as up one or two levels from what the person would buy themselves)
    4) Make something. I have made a gift for my partner every one of our Christmases together. Last year it was a Walking Dead tableau made of different flavoured biscuits. My nephew got shakers mafe from bottles as he was obsessed with bottles. My sister got a 3d christmas framed thing. And so on. Today I’ll be doing baking for Christmas.
    5) Stick to your budget. Or if the deal is really good, don’t even approach the full budget.

    Minimalism and money saving is fine but I’d much rather give gifts to my family which show I know them and love them.

    1. J. Money December 19, 2017 at 9:43 AM

      I like it :) Especially the Luxury idea! And I actually LOVE giving cash! But usually only to kids who go ga ga over it and not adults who give me the side eye ;) (even though deep down everyone loves cash!!)

  41. David December 16, 2017 at 11:27 AM

    My wife tells me what she wants, buys it and tells me how much it has cost me. Then she drops unsubtle hints on what else she might like from me as stocking fillers.

    I’m probably more of a pain to buy for. Never knowing what I want and just asking for cash

    1. J. Money December 19, 2017 at 9:44 AM

      haha… your wife has figured out the system :)

  42. Jr90 December 16, 2017 at 5:06 PM

    To all the minimalists wishing their family would stop gifting… It may be that gifts are their way of showing love and the best thing you can do is graciously accept. It’s so not worth disappointing your 90 year old Grandma over. I’ve learned to just take it as it comes and do a purge in January.

    1. J. Money December 19, 2017 at 9:46 AM

      yep – good point! ESPECIALLY if we’re talking grandothers haha… Same when they force leftovers and food your way that you don’t want – just smile and nod away! :) (And also same with *asking for help* too… I feel like many of us are too proud to ask for help, say, with advice or loans or something, but parents/grandparents love to be able to help their family out! They always want whats best for us and probably dont’ get asked as much anymore once everyone is grown up and out of the house… A big chance from when we all counted on them!)

  43. Libby December 17, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    What I found when I was married was some of the best husband/wife presents were:
    1) doing something special with kids’ artwork i.e., framing it, kids decorating an umbrella with fabric paint, kid hand & foot prints into cement “stone” for the garden, ironing kid artwork onto tshirts or canvas bags, etc. Something unique and special and not about $$
    2) a special consumable: a fancy food item (chocolate!) or smoked salmon, etc, golf balls, stationary
    3) experiences – but you’ve figured that one out!

  44. ZJ Thorne December 17, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    We don’t have gifting rules. But they are almost always practical or about learning a skill that one of us desired. Our first Christmas, she even bought fancy letterhead for my new business. Very practical.

    1. J. Money December 19, 2017 at 9:47 AM

      That’s a cool idea! I bet you felt totally legit with that letterhead too… even wrote a few handwritten letters from The CEO perhaps? ;)

  45. Elizabeth December 17, 2017 at 8:58 PM

    My husband and I are both on the same page about gifts, thank goodness: neither of us cares a whit about them. We go out to a nice dinner for birthdays and indulge in a nice trip (which we’d probably do anyway) for big milestone birthdays. We are lucky enough to have an income that allows us to buy for ourselves whatever we need and most of what we want though. He may want some new DJ equipment or a new golf club now and then, but I can’t pick that out for him. I might want a pair of shoes or a piece of furniture or something he could never conceive. But those aren’t gifts in any true sense; we just allow each other to buy what we want throughout the year and then celebrate holidays gift free. I know it’s unromantic…but it works and is so stress-free.

    1. J. Money December 19, 2017 at 9:48 AM

      So pretty much Christmas every day for y’all then, huh? :) Financial security is the best gift of all!

  46. Primal Prosperity December 18, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    I started minimizing years ago and I asked my mom and husband not to buy me any more physical gifts. As a minimalist, for me, I don’t really like the feeling of having an attachment to stuff. And unfortunately, it is harder to let go of something when it was gifted from someone close to you.

    1. J. Money December 19, 2017 at 9:50 AM

      yup, totally – much harder to offload stuff attached to those you love! although I am pretty impressed with myself of getting rid of Christmas cards after the holidays end… my wife yells at me and tells me to hold onto them forever, but who needs 1,000+ holiday cards?? They all served their purpose and it’s not like I’m throwing away all my thoughts about people along with them? Haha…

      1. Cecil December 22, 2017 at 11:26 AM

        Remember the Seinfeld episode where he threw away a card minutes after reading it? I at least wait a year before throwing them out ;) I agree, no need to keep them forever, and it’s not like throwing the card out says that I no longer want the card giver in my life!

        1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 4:27 PM

          I haven’t seen that one, haha, but now I want to :) I feel bad throwing them away right away too, so I typically wait a week or so until finally sending them to their resting place… I don’t know why that changes anything, but it does.

  47. Chocoholic December 18, 2017 at 6:43 PM

    With my family we’ve got a great system that varies based in the person but is consistent. For holidays we go out for dinner as a family and take turns covering the bill as a gift to the rest of the family.and for birthdays its prefernece based. For my mom we spend on experiences (ex spa day) and split the cost between siblings. For me, i’m kind of picky but would never complain if i don’t like something but it would be exchanged or ignored so now i’m given a budget buy my own gift and get reimbursed the agreed amount. Which i love tbh. For my brothers they all have the same cap and are pretty predictable so its easy to shop for them.

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 4:30 PM

      That’s a cool idea with taking turns covering the bill! I have an aunt who takes us all out to a new “experience” every year (museum, play, tour), and then another aunt who will cover lunch for everyone after that experience every year. It’s been a pretty cool 1-2 punch that also gets us all hanging out together and doing something new :) We’re on like year #7 or 8 now – love it.

  48. Mr. FWP December 19, 2017 at 11:54 AM

    As a newer husband, I read the title of this post and three words leapt to mind (in a voice you’ll know): “It’s a trap!” (It’s too bad I can’t post the Admiral Akbar gif here, because that’s what comes to mind.)

    I’m glad it has worked out for you!

  49. Donna Freedman December 20, 2017 at 6:34 PM

    My partner and I don’t give gifts to each other because we already have everything we need. All year long we remind each other how lucky we are to have found each other (in midlife) and how happy we are together.

    (Yep, he’s a dude but every day he says stuff like, “Thank you for sharing your life with me” and “I’m so lucky” and “You make my life new again.” Top THAT, all you retailers.)

    The only time a gift can show up under the tree* is if there is a stirring tale of thrift attached.

    “That book? It came from the ‘free’ box at the library.”

    “That Clark Howard hat? Given to us at the Financial Blogger Conference.”

    “That whatever-it-is? It was a quarter at a yard sale.”

    And so on.

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 4:32 PM

      “Top THAT, all you retailers”

      Haha… pretty much, yup!

  50. Cecil December 22, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    I almost don’t want to receive gifts because when I look at the stuff I have I am overwhelmed with where to store stuff, and we don’t even have that many things at home compared to some people we know, definitely not hoarders by any means. So I told hubby if he’s gonna give me gifts I only want stuff that can be consumed such as toiletries and food (he bought me this cake from South Carolina from an online retailer and it was YUM!!!).

    1. J. Money December 22, 2017 at 4:33 PM

      Excellent idea! I’ve never heard anyone saying they hated CAKE :)

  51. Maven Lin December 26, 2017 at 1:30 AM

    This might be by far the most cheesiest thing you’ve posted. :P Happy birthday to the wifey! I kinda idolize her now. *-*

    1. J. Money December 26, 2017 at 7:16 AM

      Haha… I’ll have to let her know that ;)