Nothing beats the honeymoon phase of a new relationship. You’re smiling all the time, the usual stressors are barely registering, and your libido is at an all-time high. While few things can derail this feeling of euphoria, there is one issue that can cause considerable anxiety for former singletons. We’re talking about gift-giving. More specifically, how much to spend on a new partner.
When’s The Right Time To Give A Gift A New Partner?
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It’s tempting to indulge your significant other during the early stages of a relationship, but strip-mining your savings account and maxing out credit cards isn’t a great idea. Financial complications aside, going overboard with presents sets a precedent. Anything that doesn’t match up to that first big-ticket treat may seem like a downgrade.
You also need to get the timing right and mindfully decide how much is too much too soon. For instance, you can foot the bill for date night from the beginning of a relationship if you desire to. However, expensive gifts and grand gestures should wait until you’ve spent some time together. Many people won’t even consider adding their new beau to their to-buy-for list unless they’ve been going steady for several months.
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Once you’ve been together for three or four months, you can consider yourself comfortably in gift-giving territory. Annual festivities like Valentine’s Day should really get priority if you want to keep your passions burning. You’ll also want to set aside funds for birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
There’s also the issue of anniversaries. You might not have tied the knot, but plenty of couples celebrate an annual milestone with an exchange of gifts. However, you’ll need to be on the same page regarding what exactly you’re celebrating. Some people count their first kiss as the kickstart of their relationship, while others opt for the date that they made things official with their other half.
How Much Should You Be Spending?
Results from a survey carried out by the National Retail Federation show that US consumers spent more than $25.9 billion on their significant others in 2023. Although this is slightly less than an all-time high of $27 billion in 2020, it’s a marked improvement on spending statistics from the previous year. These figures cover spending across the board, although recent survey results from the NRF found that consumers are setting an average of $185 aside for Valentine’s spending. Of course, you don’t need to use this as your benchmark when shopping for your other half.
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Worried about overdoing it with an extravagant gift? Or wary of coming across as a cheapskate with a budget buy? Finding the right balance can be tricky but you can use the occasion to help guide you. People tend to spend the most money on birthday gifts. However, if you’ve been dating for less than a year, don’t feel like you have to spend a small fortune. A single thoughtful gift is going to be better received than a pile of meaningless presents. If you’re prepared to shop around, you should be able to pick something special up for $50 or less.
When Christmas rolls around, you can approach gift-giving in much the same way. Once again, a thoughtfully-selected gift will always go down well. However, depending on what you’re buying, expect to shell out slightly more than you did earlier in the year. Come the holiday season, it’s not uncommon for retailers to up the price of popular products. If you’re thinking of snapping up something like a piece of jewelry or a designer fragrance, expect to pay a small premium. As a rule, a maximum budget of $100 is perfectly acceptable at Christmas. If you want to go all out with a stocking full of festive treats, you’ll have to beef up your budget accordingly.
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What About That First Anniversary?
If your relationship is lucky enough to hit that one-year milestone, you’ll probably want to acknowledge it. However, you’ll need to be savvy about things. Whether you realize it or not, this is probably the most important present you’ve ever purchased. A well-picked personal gift that reflects on the time that you’ve shared is the way to go here. While you’re free to go the expensive route, don’t feel obligated to spend money you don’t have. If you do, you might find yourself having to repeatedly raid your savings when shopping for gifts in the future.
Gift-giving in intimate relationships can truly be a complex, nerve-wracking process. We hope this guide helps ease some of the burden in picking the perfect gift for your sweetheart.