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Everyday Cheapskate: Good Manners, Good Sense and Wedding Gifts

Mary Hunt on

You know it's wedding season when the invitations pile up in your mailbox faster than you can return the RSVPs. Who doesn't love a wedding? OK, I see those hands, but you are clearly in the minority.

The challenge is buying gifts for your betrothed friends and relatives -- or their kids -- that they'll appreciate but that won't run up your credit cards or make you look like a total tightwad.

Before we get to the gifts, let's review the etiquette. The Emily Post Institute advises that if you are invited to a bridal shower and cannot attend, only your regrets to the hostess are required. Etiquette does not require you to send a gift. And if you are invited to more than one shower for the same bride, you should not feel obligated to attend more than one shower, even if you are in the wedding party.

Not so for an invitation to the wedding. Even if you are unable to attend, good manners dictate sending a gift to the home of the bride several weeks before the big day.

So, how can you give a great gift without overspending? That requires some planning.



A rule of life is that you do not go into debt to buy a gift. There are no rules, however, about how much you must spend on a gift. Figure out how much cash you have to spend on this gift, and then stick to that amount.


These days, most couples are registered with at least one retailer, and usually, that list is available online. Sure, they will know how much you spent if you buy a gift from their registry, but so what? These are items they have selected that they really want. They will not be opening their gifts with a calculator in one hand, weighing the value of your gift by the amount you spent.



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