Photo: Cupcakes for a birthday celebration.
At the end of last month, we celebrated my birthday. This day was a simple day that wasn't much different than any other day. I went to work and my wife went to her clinical shift. When we got home, we got ready and went out to eat. I chose a Hibachi grill and we had a great time connecting and recharging. This was my birthday. It was perfect and I didn't need anything else.
What about a gift some people may ask? I didn't need any gift. The only gift that I need is to spend time with my beautiful wife. That is the best gift any guy can get. Our society puts too much emphasis on the need to give gifts for every occasion. I honestly don't agree with this, because we already have too much stuff. There is no need to buy me something else that I may not use or may not have space to put anywhere. In today's culture, we worry too much about our possessions and less about time spent with each other. We need to look at our priorities and decide what is important to us. Are our things more important or are our relationships more important?
Personally, I believe that our relationships are way more important than any possession that we could have. Therefore as a young married couple, we sat down and discussed what was important to us. We decided that the need to receive a gift for birthdays, Christmas or even Valentine's Day was unnecessary (we still get each other gifts on our wedding anniversary). So, on birthdays and Valentine's Day we only give each other a card. These are simple ways to show how much we care for each other, and we avoided spending absurd amounts of money on a gift (Note: You should be showing each other how much you care at all times of the year).
There is also a financial advantage to not getting each other gifts. We avoid purchasing things that we don't really need and we can invest what we don't spend. When I think about saving on gifts, I specifically think about Christmas. All over the television around the holidays are the car companies trying to get you to purchase a vehicle as a gift. I just couldn't imagine receiving or even purchasing a car as a gift. That's $10,000, $20,000 or even $30,000 wasted on a gift. Not only do you waste that much on a gift, but some people even finance the gifts that they give to people. Think about that statement for a second. It is absurd to go into to debt for anything, but especially to buy a gift for somebody else.
Now, I would never purchase a vehicle as a gift for anybody, so that could be a pretty extreme example. With the prices of items today, gifts can get pretty expensive and could cause you to spend a good chunk of your hard earned money. Things like phones, college apparel or even cologne/perfume could cost anywhere from $60-$300. This goes back to the basic idea of thinking about you future, before making purchases. Spending money on a gift today will lead to less money saved for the future.
Basically, I want you to think about gifting in a different way. For example, I received many gifts on my birthday, like waking up next to my beautiful wife, listening to my students sing Happy Birthday to me, eating dinner with my wife and receiving a wonderful birthday card. All of these gifts listed above were wonderful and cost little to nothing. There could even be the option of making an homemade gift. A homemade gift costs less and can have more meaning than anything that you could buy for someone. So, I don't want you to think that I am against gifting, but I am against spending lot's of money on gifts.
Interested on reading more about the gifting trend in America, then you should read this article from Mr. Money Mustache.