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How much do you spend on birthday gifts for your young adult children and their spouse?


Jenrae
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Birthday Spending Question  

38 members have voted

  1. 1. How much do you typically spend on a birthday gift for your young adult child and their spouse?

    • $ 40.00 or more
      11
    • $ 60.00 or more
      3
    • $ 80.00 or more
      1
    • $ 100.00 or more
      20
    • edited to add: less than $ 40.00
      2
    • no gift, but a nice card and I love you!
      1
  2. 2. Your family income is...

    • $ 40,000 or more
      2
    • $ 50,000 or more
      3
    • $ 60,000 or more
      4
    • $ 70,000 or more
      3
    • $ 80,000 or more
      26
    • edited to add: less then $ 40,000
      0


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I am having a debate with a family member concerning how much money the average person is spending on a birthday gift for their married young adult children. Would you mind sharing what your family typically spends? I realize that our individual income will play a factor in this, so I am asking about that as well.

 

Because the poll includes the private matter of income, I made the poll private.

 

Thanks for participating!

 

 

ETA: add a category for income under $ 40,000

 

ETA: added a category for spending less than $ 40.00 for a gift or no gift but a nice I love you card.

 

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dd hasn't been married for a birthday yet - but I will spend what I normally spend.

 

since dsil's bd is the next month - I may give them the option of a joint gift.  (his family doesn't do much about gifts - because they choose not to - so he kind of freaked out at the number of gifts he received from our family at Christmas.)

 

eta: gifts are practical as often as whimsical.  e.g. ds wanted a desk for his birthday.  (some friends are downsizing and moving and were selling it.  great deal, great desk.)  I know some people wouldn't consider that a "gift" per se.

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Once our kids move out, their birthday gift becomes a check. So far it's been $50 except when oldest dd hit 30 I sent $100.  After I did that, I regretted it because there will be a lot of milestone birthdays between our four children and their spouses...and then add in grandkids. So when dear son in law turned 30, I sent the usual $50.   

 

Still, it quickly adds up, as we have four kids, four grandkids, and one son in law.  

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My kids are not grown yet, but I'll do the same that I do for my sisters and mom. I'll send them a $10 gift card to Starbucks for a birthday coffee drink. If they're local, I'll offer to take them out to breakfast.  Not sure how that would work with spouses, but it's a tradition that dh takes out the birthday kid before work if he has to work that day. 

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I just want to add, that my mom (dad died) doesn't send me anything for my birthday, and I could care less. She calls, that's awesome. DH's mom sends him and me $100 dollars each. My mom's poor and his mom's wealthy, so there's probably some correlation, if that's the gist of your poll/OP? 

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I have siblings in their early 20s - some married, some engaged, some very single.  Our parents generally give $100 in gift cards (dinner, gas, Target - practical stuff) plus dinner.  They have at least one kid's birthday in every month of the year, minus April, so I'm guessing it's just a part of their monthly budget.

 

My former in-laws send their kids $200 each. My BIL and I have birthdays the same week, and we always received $100 each (both of us having married into the family). My ex-MIL still sends me $60-100 on my birthday, but she no longer sends BIL anything (he's still married to my ex's sister, but he's no longer liked) LOL.

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I'll continue to do the same thing for dd that we've always done.  If she gets married, I'll probably do what my mom has done with her son-in-laws.  She spends $50 on my dh and my sister's dh for birthdays and Christmas.  She spends more on my sister and I - probably about $100 for birthdays and more than that (maybe $175) for Christmas.  We're a gift-giving family and I don't see that changing.

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My parents and DH's parents send checks for birthdays and Christmas.  I think it is $100 each for birthdays and $200 each for Christmas. but Christmas from his parents tend to be one check for the whole family that we can divide as we wish (or spend for a family vacation/gift if we'd prefer)

 

Very generous on both sides. (And I'm very thankful they do not treat the "born in family" kids different from the spouses. My sister deals with that with in-laws and it is hurtful)

 

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Not quite there yet but I will probably continue to spend approximately what I do now for a while, even when I get a dil. And the dil will receive gifts for around the same v value as my child. My parents have always treated my husband as their child, and I will do the same for my dils some day.

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There are those of us whose family income is less than $40,000 per year.

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

I edited the poll for this! Thanks for participating and correcting me.

 

Hopefully this doesn't come off as offensive, but I wanted to say kuddos to those that homeschool on less than $ 40,000. I know that is difficult. EVERYTHING is so expensive.

 

Our income was greatly downsized when I began homeschooling, as I earned more, and we just began to feel less pressure about 5 yrs ago when my husbands income finally increased. Then in the past 2 years we have had a major decrease in his income, and it is a struggle.

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I edited the poll for this! Thanks for participating and correcting me.

 

Hopefully this doesn't come off as offensive, but I wanted to say kuddos to those that homeschool on less than $ 40,000. I know that is difficult. EVERYTHING is so expensive.

 

Our income was greatly downsized when I began homeschooling, as I earned more, and we just began to feel less pressure about 5 yrs ago when my husbands income finally increased. Then in the past 2 years we have had a major decrease in his income, and it is a struggle.

 

Sjome people won't be able to to vote on the poll if they can't vote in both sections. So, not matter what they make, if they give less than $40 (including nothing) and can't vote in that section, they won't be able to cast their vote at all.

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We spend between 100-150. That often includes something like new shoes, ice skates or clothes. It can be a little bit more like the year one of my kids got six months of lessons on something they wanted.

 

When the kids become adults as my oldest is a teen we will see where they are in life and re-evaluate.

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My Stepsons birthday is tomorrow.  About 2 weeks ago, we received a 1 TB External USB hard drive that I was going to use for System Images of the hard drives in our computers. After I tested it, I showed it to my wife. I told her something like, "one of these would be a good gift for him for his birthday, but I can't get another one from the states that quickly".  We gave him that one, for an early birthday present. It was $59 + some Colombian Import Duty and the shipping from Miami. Probably about USD$70 total,  since it was sent with some other items.  Probably that is about what we spend for him and for his wife.     

 

Today, USPS delivered another External USB hard drive to our Receiver/Forwarder in Miami. This one I *will* use for the System Image backups and it is a 2 TB drive.

 

I ordered a birthday cake for my Stepson today and my wife will cook a special Birthday Lunch or Dinner for him tomorrow and I am going to buy a bottle of our favorite Wine for that meal.

 

ETA When he was younger, and when we had much more income, he received things that cost a lot more.

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My kids are not grown yet, but I'll do the same that I do for my sisters and mom. I'll send them a $10 gift card to Starbucks for a birthday coffee drink. If they're local, I'll offer to take them out to breakfast.  Not sure how that would work with spouses, but it's a tradition that dh takes out the birthday kid before work if he has to work that day. 

 

I like your tradition! It is so stressful trying to find a gift that is affordable, and that a family member would actually like!

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I don't have grown children, so I didn't complete the poll. However, I will answer here with how my parents and in-laws handle birthdays.

 

My parents give their children and their children's spouses $50 each for birthdays. (For Christmas we get actual gifts that cost more).

 

My in-laws give their children and their children's spouses a check for $25 for birthdays. (For Christmas, they also send a check, but it is a larger amount for the entire family).

 

I imagine I will do something similar to my parents when my kiddos are grown.

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My parents and DH's parents send checks for birthdays and Christmas.  I think it is $100 each for birthdays and $200 each for Christmas. but Christmas from his parents tend to be one check for the whole family that we can divide as we wish (or spend for a family vacation/gift if we'd prefer)

 

Very generous on both sides. (And I'm very thankful they do not treat the "born in family" kids different from the spouses. My sister deals with that with in-laws and it is hurtful)

 

I agree with you on the bolded. It is very difficult to marry into a family and not be truly accepted. 

 

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Only one of our dc is married right now.  I don't buy them anything.  I just send him an email wishing ds a happy birthday.  Not sure when dil's birthday is.  Our relationship with them is rather distant anyway, so it's not a big deal. 

 

I have no idea how we will handle the rest of them.  Right now, I'm thinking we might just have to continue the above with all of them.  There's just no way we'll be able to afford to send money/gifts for all 6 kids + spouses + kids, for birthdays, Christmases, and any other holidays.  I guess we'll cross that hurdle when we get to it. 

 

I can totally understand this. We didn't exchange gifts last year for Christmas, nor birthdays with son and dil as we all were struggling financially. I think it helped us all not to have that added stress. We just spent time together and made some memories!

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I answered the poll based on what my parents and in-laws do (except I'm not 100% sure what income bracket they fall into so I made my best guess). Both give $100 or slightly more, but both also do that in cash or checks, not in actual gifts.

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I never found it hurtful to receive less from my in-laws for my birthday, than did my ex-husband on his birthday.


 


(A) I'm not the same as a born in the family child. That's reflected in many ways: the weight of my opinion on how to handle an aging parent, who gets to tell FIL he's too drunk to drive, my being in the extended family photo but not the immediate family photo, etc., and what awful sweater we have to wear in said photo. I take no offense to any of those things. In some cases, I'm glad to not be treated as the same as a born in the family child :lol: and for that I'm more than happy to take the financial hit come birthday money time!


 


(B) Acceptance is an attitude. It's sometimes reflected in tangible ways (money for birthdays), but it's sometimes completely independent from those tangible displays. I posted above that my ex-husband's sister's husband (BIL) doesn't receive any birthday acknowledgement from our in-laws. They hate him and absolutely show that by withholding a tangible gift (and any acknowledgement of his existence). But the key is that they don't send him anything. To me, any form of acknowledgement is an acceptance.


 


But feelings are feelings, and it's never pleasant to feel excluded or less than. :grouphug:


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I don't mind spending the same amount.  I'm not paying their living expenses, school tuition, clothing, etc. anymore . . . .

 

like Mr. Bennett paying mr. wickham 100 pounds per year for marrying Lydia - he broke even.

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Our adult child is not married. When still in college, we were sending $100. We are shifting to $50 in a card, and a nice dinner out. Or a small gift - clothes, or something. So, oops, I guess we'll still spend in the $100 range, just differently.

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My parents haven't given me birthday or Christmas gifts since I graduated from college (similar time frame to when I got married, but my brother isn't married and he also stopped getting gifts around the time he graduated).  However, they do always acknowledge birthdays with a call or a card, and often we celebrate birthdays when we are all together sometime in the right month with a cake.  They also often gift their time and expertise - for my brother's birthday last year they helped him redo the bathroom in his new house.  He paid for all the supplies, but they spent a full week there working on the project.  

 

My in-law's on the other hand give out checks.  I think my check this last birthday was $250 (the same as DH got and probably the same as his sister and her husband get).  Honestly, the checks are more hassle than they're worth.  MIL always wants to hear in detail what we spent the money on, and she has a pretty narrow view of appropriate uses of birthday money (especially for women; guys are allowed to just buy tools).  Buying clothes, getting massages, going out to eat - acceptable.  Saving for retirement, buying books, fixing the broken screen door - unacceptable.

 

Both my parents and in-laws make over $80,000.

 

Wendy

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The larger the number of people to whom gifts regularly are given, the smaller the dollar-tag for an individual gift.

 

You may call this the "Gift Corollary for Unchanging Annual Income Tied to Ever-Increasing Number of Loved Ones."

 

(i did not answer the poll questions.)

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Btw, I think the number of kids might matter too. If you have 20 kids and counting then giving $100+ to each (young) adult kid plus $100+ to their spouse might be a little harder to do than if you have only one kid.

 

ETA: and, I typed this just as the poster above was posting the same thing. Oh well.

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Btw, I think the number of kids might matter too. If you have 20 kids and counting then giving $100+ to each (young) adult kid plus $100+ to their spouse might be a little harder to do than if you have only one kid.

 

ETA: and, I typed this just as the poster above was posting the same thing. Oh well.

You know the phrase about "Great minds think alike." !

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Buying clothes, getting massages, going out to eat - acceptable.  Saving for retirement, buying books, fixing the broken screen door - unacceptable.

 

I think the idea is that they want you to splurge a little on yourself. Plenty of guys like nice tools as a hobby splurge thing. Saving for retirement and fixing the broken screen door are not "splurge on yourself" kind of things. Not sure about the buying books. Do they have problems with you buying some enjoyable fiction (or non-fiction) for yourself to read? Or are you talking about buying textbooks for the kids for the coming school year (which is not a "splurge on yourself" kind of item).

 

My parents also want the birthday gifts to be spent on a little splurge for myself, not on just regular household expenses. That was especially the case when we were poor and we never could justify any splurges on anything. Back then they'd ask what we did with the money. Now they don't. Not that they'd have gotten into an argument if we'd used the money for daily living expenses... just that they wanted us to occasionally have some money to spend without worrying about it fitting into the budget (they also did help financially when we were poor).

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I think the idea is that they want you to splurge a little on yourself. 

 

:iagree:   dd vocally didn't want anything for her birthday this year.  I ended up getting her an antique hot chocolate pot (which she had to decide if she liked or not.  she'd been 'whining' that 2dd was going to take their hot chocolate pot when she moved out.)

 

and a check to put towards the hybrid piano she wants. (put she's had to fix bathrooms, and furnace . . .)  it was the message of permission to spend on herself that I think had the most meaning.  and we can call it a donation to the piano fund - but I don't know if it will be used for something else or not.  doesn't really matter to me.

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I think the idea is that they want you to splurge a little on yourself. Plenty of guys like nice tools as a hobby splurge thing. Saving for retirement and fixing the broken screen door are not "splurge on yourself" kind of things. Not sure about the buying books. Do they have problems with you buying some enjoyable fiction (or non-fiction) for yourself to read? Or are you talking about buying textbooks for the kids for the coming school year (which is not a "splurge on yourself" kind of item).

 

My parents also want the birthday gifts to be spent on a little splurge for myself, not on just regular household expenses. That was especially the case when we were poor and we never could justify any splurges on anything. Back then they'd ask what we did with the money. Now they don't. Not that they'd have gotten into an argument if we'd used the money for daily living expenses... just that they wanted us to occasionally have some money to spend without worrying about it fitting into the budget (they also did help financially when we were poor).

 

The part I don't like is that I HATE shopping for clothes and getting a massage would be akin to torture for me.  We go out to eat plenty, but what MIL really thinks we "should" do is dress up and hire a sitter and go on a "date" which neither DH or I have any interest in.

 

We make enough money that we can afford to splurge on ourselves when there is something we actually want as opposed to something we are told we should want.  The $250 gift is a nice thought, but financially inconsequential for us.  I know MIL will want an account of how I spent the money, so I try to "do" something with it that I can report back.  Fixing the screen door might not seem like a splurge, but having it broken had been bugging me for two months, so the gift was an impetus to buy the parts and just fix it already.  I really did use the money to buy some happiness for myself for my birthday (wait, isn't there a saying about that?  :laugh: ) even if my use did not fit MIL's idea of a splurge.

 

Wendy

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I think $20-$25 can be considered generous, but your poll doesn't reflect that.  My kids have just entered the young adult stage, but still live at home.

 

Yes, I too think that $ 20-25 can be considered generous! I would love getting a gift card in that amount. I always wondered if other people felt the same though.

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Yes, right now I'm thinking we're going to have to come up with other ways that don't involve spending lots of money to celebrate special occasions.  I have no idea what, but I'm counting on my kids to do a lot of the thinking on this.  ;)

 

ETA:  The joke on my father's side of my family was that they just 'exchanged checks' on special occasions.  I'm really hoping to get away from that kind of thing with my own kids. 

 

Yes! That is what I felt we did for years with my in-laws! I really disliked the idea. I would much rather DO something as a group and have memories of time spent together.

 

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My parents haven't given me birthday or Christmas gifts since I graduated from college (similar time frame to when I got married, but my brother isn't married and he also stopped getting gifts around the time he graduated).  However, they do always acknowledge birthdays with a call or a card, and often we celebrate birthdays when we are all together sometime in the right month with a cake.  They also often gift their time and expertise - for my brother's birthday last year they helped him redo the bathroom in his new house.  He paid for all the supplies, but they spent a full week there working on the project.  

 

My in-law's on the other hand give out checks.  I think my check this last birthday was $250 (the same as DH got and probably the same as his sister and her husband get).  Honestly, the checks are more hassle than they're worth.  MIL always wants to hear in detail what we spent the money on, and she has a pretty narrow view of appropriate uses of birthday money (especially for women; guys are allowed to just buy tools).  Buying clothes, getting massages, going out to eat - acceptable.  Saving for retirement, buying books, fixing the broken screen door - unacceptable.

 

Both my parents and in-laws make over $80,000.

 

Wendy

 

I can understand the frustration, but I truly understand you MIL. It is exactly as luuknam explains so eloquently below.

 

I think the idea is that they want you to splurge a little on yourself. Plenty of guys like nice tools as a hobby splurge thing. Saving for retirement and fixing the broken screen door are not "splurge on yourself" kind of things. Not sure about the buying books. Do they have problems with you buying some enjoyable fiction (or non-fiction) for yourself to read? Or are you talking about buying textbooks for the kids for the coming school year (which is not a "splurge on yourself" kind of item).

 

My parents also want the birthday gifts to be spent on a little splurge for myself, not on just regular household expenses. That was especially the case when we were poor and we never could justify any splurges on anything. Back then they'd ask what we did with the money. Now they don't. Not that they'd have gotten into an argument if we'd used the money for daily living expenses... just that they wanted us to occasionally have some money to spend without worrying about it fitting into the budget (they also did help financially when we were poor).

 

Yes, your MIL is probably trying to "treat" you in her special way, but just doesn't know your taste well enough, or have the time to search for just the right gift.

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Well, this little experiment has truly proven that there is a vast difference in gift giving, as I thought.

 

There truly is no wrong or right answer.

 

We each gift what we can afford, or choose to give. I realize too, that many of you may have voted that you give a larger monetary gift, but it may actually be a special sacrificial gift and you make sacrifices in your budget in order to give a larger amount. It may also be that some of you give a smaller monetary amount, but that too is given sacrifficially. I think the most important thing is giving it in love, no matter what the circumstances.

 

Thanks for sharing in my little poll!

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ETA:  The joke on my father's side of my family was that they just 'exchanged checks' on special occasions.  I'm really hoping to get away from that kind of thing with my own kids. 

 

My grandparents and aunts and uncles etc didn't do gifts for birthdays for each other for that exact reason. But, they were all out of the young adult category by the time I was old enough to be aware of whether they gave each other gifts or not. I think they maybe decided on "no gifts" when I was a tween, but my memory could be faulty.

 

I sent my parents some books (one humorous, one more practical) on running an inn for father's/mother's day last year because they were talking a lot about buying one so it seemed like a gift they'd enjoy. The grand total for that was probably about $50 incl. the shipping (the shipping cost about half of that, which means my parents would have never ordered them for themselves, but they did end up really enjoying them, although I think they played a role in them deciding that maybe they didn't want to run an inn after all).

 

So, we're not in "exchanging checks" territory yet ($100 for my birthday + $100 for my wife's birthday vs $50 on books + shipping for the two of them), but I suspect we're rapidly headed towards just ending birthday presents since my wife's actually making enough now to not have to worry about money every day. I mean, I'm sure that if I stumble across something I know my parents would really enjoy I'd still give it to them as a present, but we're not just going to exchange checks. I'm also definitely getting out of young adult territory (I'll be turning 31 later this month).

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My parents send us each $50 for birthdays and Christmas.  I think that's a good amount.  

 

Which of course is another problem with this poll. If you give money for both xmas and birthdays then $50 each would be the same as $100 if you only give for birthdays (or xmas). Someone who answered $40+ on this poll for the birthday but who gives money for all the equinoxes and solstices* might give more money than someone who answered $100+.

 

*Or whatever random times of the year people might feel like giving gifts - I've never heard of people giving money for pagan holidays, but some people might?

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My parents give gifts.

 

My mom spends a lot of time shopping at thrift stores. So she usually gets something she finds at one.

 

I got two rice makers. I only asked for one, but she found the first one and gave it to me, but then found the second one which was much nicer and I got that three weeks later. I think each one cost about 5 dollars at most.

 

My Dh for his birthday got a sander thing to shave the dead dry skin off his feet. I'm not sure how much it cost. She found it new at Costco and had been wanting to get him one for a couple years. (His feet could definition lay use it)

 

Another year I got a pair of pants. I'm not sure if they were new or not. My mom knows my size and busy most to all of my clothes.

 

So I would say my parents spend between 5 and 30 dollars a birthday.

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My kids aren't quite to that age/stage yet, but my parents gave $100 per adult for birthdays and I expect to do the same, although I may increase that in the future as inflation continues to make it worth less.

 

OTOH, my ILs give $20 per person (both children and adults). Their income is lower than my parents was. I enjoyed the gifts from my parents, but I know the gifts from my ILs have just as much love behind them and I appreciate it no less.

 

I don't think there is a set amount anyone should give, but I do think it is inappropriate to give an amount that causes the giver financial difficulties. This amount would depend on both income and the number of family members that will be given gifts!

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I wonder if how far away our adult kids live colors our answers.  This year none of mine were closer than 850 miles away from me on their birthday so sending a check is way simpler than buying a modest gift and shipping it. I don't even bother with cards now since they run upwards of $3 each and don't reflect how I feel about each of the kids.   

 

Also, all four of our kids have some financial struggles right now, ranging from a poor college student to one struggling with her dh's unemployment.  Sending birthday money can really brighten a day when money is tight for the birthday kid. 

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there was on other

 

we don't do birthdays at all for any age.

Yes, after I began the poll I realized it was far from well thought out!

 

May I ask, do you not do birthday gifts for cultural reasons, religous reasons, or just to keep it all stress free?

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I wonder if how far away our adult kids live colors our answers.  This year none of mine were closer than 850 miles away from me on their birthday so sending a check is way simpler than buying a modest gift and shipping it. I don't even bother with cards now since they run upwards of $3 each and don't reflect how I feel about each of the kids.   

 

Also, all four of our kids have some financial struggles right now, ranging from a poor college student to one struggling with her dh's unemployment.  Sending birthday money can really brighten a day when money is tight for the birthday kid. 

 

Agreed. In our case, no family lives very close. A family experience would be in the cards if they did.

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