During the holiday season a lot of people feel good when they spend money. I am frugal and don’t think the same way about spending money as my spend-happy girlfriend. I know how much money we have coming in each month and have built our budget around that. Just because its gift giving season doesn’t mean that we have to spend more. Since we are both not working, I feel like we should be conserving our resources in order to make our money last as long as possible. But she doesn’t seem to understand that. It’s not how much you have in your bank account or retirement fund today; it’s how long you need to make it last.
I only buy gifts for my immediate family which consists of my mother, two brothers, and my GF. I usually allow about $200 for gifts. I try to find as much value for my money by bargain hunting. On the other hand, my girlfriend has a huge family. She typically spends over $1000 each year getting something for each of them. Keep in mind that her family lives 1200 miles away and she only visits them once per year. With the pandemic, we have not been able to visit our families in the past 3 years. To me it seems like a waste of money to buy a $10 gift for a kid that doesn’t even really know who you are. Plus, you are taking a big chance that they will even appreciate the gesture. Despite her large family, she only gets a few gifts in return each year.
With all that said, I can only offer the following advice. If your partner has their own money, there isn’t much you can do about their spending habits. You have to adjust your own spending to try and compensate for the other persons over spending. To do that I took advantage of early discounts and bought items in bulk and had them shipped to my address. Then, I plan on sending the items to my immediate family with a custom-made holiday card. My GF was hoping for a new $$$ cookware set this year, but that needed to be scaled back to adjust for her holiday spending. I can’t justify spending that much on her with the poor state of the stock market and the economy and her lack of understanding about something called “negative cash flow”.