My husband’s birthday is this Saturday, and I’ve been struggling to come up with a special gift for him that won’t blow our budget. Exchanging gifts with joint finances is tricky.
Our birthdays are 2 weeks apart, and we’re taking a trip to Seattle the week in between, so we both agreed to a very small gift budget. We considered skipping gifts for each other all together, but that just didn’t feel right. We enjoy choosing gifts for one another and exchanging. Our solution is to limit our gifts to something small and thoughtful.
When we first opened our joint account, we decided to keep separate personal accounts with a bit of money in them specifically for this purpose. The idea was that the personal accounts would be used for discretionary personal spending and gifts for each other. We didn’t plan on the personal accounts getting lumped in with our regular money. That’s kind of what happened, though.
Now I’m faced with two dilemmas: he’s requested ideas for what I’d like for my birthday, but I’ve kind of shut off my “want” mode for the past year. It’s easier to live frugally if I’m not constantly wanting things. You would think I’d have a ton of ideas built up over time, but I don’t. Everything I think come up with just seems so frivolous. Is it completely terrible that receiving gifts used to be a lot more fun when they were coming out of someone else’s budget?
I also have to figure out what to get for him. The problem is, when it comes to gift giving, I still struggle with the urge to go overboard. All of the ideas I’ve come up with are out of our price range. In short, I don’t want him to spend anything on my gift, but if I had it my way I’d way overspend on him. Funny how that works, huh?
So I’m asking you: Do you exchange gifts with your partner? If so, what kind of budget rules do you set? And how do handle the joint finances issue?
As a newlywed, I’d love to know how all of you handle all of this stuff.