A new take on Gifts : Guest Post

Mr & Mrs Quest are a Los Angeles based couple working to achieve financial independence and retire early at www.ourquestforfire.com See their take on buying gifts.

Mr. Quest and I have been together for over a decade and rarely buy each other gifts. Is it because we are stingy misers or do we struggle to get by? Not at all. We just hate the pressure.

By pressure, I mean the timing of it all. For example, Christmas always falls in December and we just feel that there is so much pressure to buy the perfect gift at that time. What if he doesn’t need or want anything? Am I buying something just for the sake of buying something? Am I just throwing away money for the sake of having a Christmas gift for him? It’s stressful. It’s especially stressful when I’m wandering around the mall or on Amazon but I just can’t seem to find the right present for him.

Ever since we adopted a more minimalism approach to our lifestyle, we really want to shy away from collecting a bunch of stuff in our house. Instead, for big yearly celebrations like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or our anniversary, we spend our money on an experience. For example, a broadway show, a short trip (with the help of credit card points), or even a nice dinner out. We have fewer things but we have so many more memories now. It’s more fun to look back at old pictures to see what we did together than having a random gift we bought each other for Christmas.

This doesn’t mean we never buy each other gifts. Because let’s face it, everyone likes gifts. Without the pressure of finding the right gift for that right occasion, we tend to buy each other presents during random times in the year. These random times are great little surprises because there is no expectation for a gift. These presents can be something he was eyeing for a while and I happen to see it on sale. Maybe it’s Mr. Quest buying my favorite chocolate candy bar as a small treat while he’s at the grocery store. By not being confined to a certain time to give a present, I can get him what he wants at a discounted price. Also, the more expensive the gift does not necessarily equate to the amount of appreciation I feel. Sometimes getting my favorite candy can solicit the same feelings as getting a nice sweater.

We like to keep things simple and our gift-giving culture works for us. More importantly, it helps us save too. Is gift shopping ever stressful for you? What is your gift-giving culture like in your relationship?