Tit for Tat. Day 29.

When you think about giving gifts do you think about how much the other person is going to spend on you and then gage the gift you purchase for them to match the price you know the gift you will be receiving is the same (or right-around the same) amount so you are super sure that you’re not going to be receiving a less expensive gift than the one you will be receiving?

That’s quite the convaluted run-on question for you there but there it is.

If your answer to that is “No” then we are on the same page. If it is “Yes” then pshaww and eye-roll to you.

This question/dilemma/situation has come up lately. A certain person doesn’t want to spend any money on me for gifts if they know that I won’t be spending any money on them.

I’ve never been one to say, “How much are you spending on me? So, I can spend that amount (and absolutely no more than that) on you.” That just usually doesn’t come into the equation or my mind. (Well, actually I have to take that back… maybe it does come into my mind around Christmas time because it’s usually a tight time financially but not for normal run-of-the-mill gift-giving events/situations). I’ve always just bought the person what I thought they would like and left it at that. Never wanted or intended or expected to find myself delving into the tit for tat deal but here I am. And. I’m going to say it. I blame it on the spending fast.

Since I’m no longer mindlessly blowing my money I’ve had to get less lackadaisical about my approach to almost everything. Gift-giving included of course. And, I’ve had to come up with ways to tell people that they mean something to me and that I’m happy they are in my life but in a totally free way. Sounds easy enough unless you have a tit-for-tat-er on your hands. Like I do.

So, then, the plot thickens… the same unnamed person says, “Let me get this straight you expect people to spend money on you and you’re not gonna spend money on them? That’s not right. That’s not fair. You can’t do that.” I said “If someone wants to give me something I’ll accept it but I’m not going to be giving a gift that costs money”.

I went on further to explain that I stand by the belief that gifts don’t have to have an expensive or even inexpensive price tag to mean something meaningful.

Here are some examples:

  • Write a sweet note and tell the person something you like about them that you haven’t ever told them before or that you have told them before but you know they love to hear
  • Make them their favorite homemade dinner
  • If you’re a baker whip up some cookies
  • Maybe go out of your way to pick up some sweets for the other person
  • Forward a link you think the person will enjoy (one of my lovely sisters gave me the idea for this one when she said she was sending me a photo attachment she thought I would like and that it would count as my Christmas present! sheesh:)
  • Do something for someone that you know they don’t like doing, you know, like shoveling snow or putting out the recyclables for the bi-weekly collection or letting them watch The Real World when you really want to and have been looking forward to watching The Deadliest Catch
  • Call a friend to see how they are doing
  • Help a co-worker with something if you know their position has been affected by budget cuts. Just grabbing their mail and setting it on their desk might help them more than you realize. Plus, then they know they’re not alone in the stress.
  • Give a bud an ear and let them know you’re there for them to talk to if you know that they need it

Those are all free (or just about free things) that I believe would be de-valued if they cost. Could you imagine talking to your life-long friend and then at the end of the conversation they were like “I’ll send you my invoice.”

It feels (and is admittedly) cliche to say but seriously, it’s the little things in life that mean the most and are usually free.

The conclusion of the story goes like this. After a very heated (stupid) and uncomfortable discussion I compromised and agreed to spend a maximum of $3 for a gift for this person. And just between you and me, if I think that the person hasn’t read this post I’m gonna try to save that 3 bucks and give them something that doesn’t cost a cent. Take that passive aggressiveity! (is that a word?)

So, you still unnamed person please accept your heartfelt price-tag free gift with grace and don’t tit for tat me.

Thanks and The end.

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2 comments

2 thoughts on “Tit for Tat. Day 29.

  1. truthtalker

    I think I discovered an ingenious way not to spend. I think you will be proud of me andthenshesaved.com…My scheme goes like this….I take what I want, but will not buy myself, from other people. And then I will graciously ask for gifts, like a ticket to Portland, expensive coffee, or a free dinner and movie, and make pouty faces and be upset when that person can’t afford to do that and also have zero intentions of reciprocation. I’ll force them to spend more, while I save more! Yes. Pure genius.

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