If you are NOT hitting it out of the ballpark when it comes to gift giving with your spouse, what are you waiting for? Spoiler: you will exchange many, MANY gifts over the course of your marriage so how about you stop giving your spouse the wrong kind of gifts and then both of you can reap the benefits of awesome gifts for the rest of your time on this earth.
This is a big deal.
Let’s say you will be married for 50 years. If you give your spouse a present for the bare minimum of Christmas, Valentine’s, their birthday, and your anniversary that’s 200 gifts! That’s a ton of opportunities to either get it right or miss the mark.
Here’s how to make the largest possible percentage of those are meaningful gifts and not just squeak by with a few “winners” over the years.
First, stop making this common mistake: buying gifts based on who you are and what feels right to you.
Let us explain how this happens. We spent a decade researching and working with a statistical scientist to uncover the 5 Money Personalities – 5 ways to approach money. And everyone is born with a Primary and a Secondary approach. And those Money Personalities drive your decisions and emotions related to money.
Gift giving involves money. So here’s the first place couples get off track. They buy gifts based on how they like to spend (or not spend) money. And if your spouse isn’t wired the same as you, the gift sails right past the bull’s-eye and may even miss all the rings of the target.
The key is to take into account their Money Personalities when you shop for them.
You won’t believe how much this changes what you get them and even how you get it for them. (Identify both Primary and Secondary Money Personalities by taking our free, online Money Personality Assessment here.)
Once you know the key, use this handy dandy guide to pick the perfect gift for a:
When you buy a gift for the (Primary) Saver in your life, by all means, get a good deal. Buy nothing at full price. And coupons are encouraged.
If that’s not the way you generally shop, that’s okay. That’s not what matters right now. This gift is for them and how much you spent on it matters to a Saver. Too much money spent on a gift makes it more difficult for a Saver to enjoy it.
And then when you give the gift to your Saver, brag on how much you saved. We are not joking! They LOVE to hear how much you saved.
If they know the new ski boots were last year’s model so they were 40% off, plus you used a store coupon on top of that, every time they hit the slopes those boots will feel even cozier because they know you didn’t spend a fortune on them.
Spenders love lavish gifts. Pull out the stops and get them something awesome! If you are naturally a Saver or a Security Seeker this may be very hard for you. But, again, this gift is to honor them not soothe your preferences.
If you’re really stumped ask a friend whom you think may be a Spender to make some suggestions. Honor their natural approach to money and loosen the purse strings for their gift this year.
If you are shopping for a Risk Taker, put on your thinking cap. Start thinking of something different. A gift that is “out there” that they wouldn’t think of themselves. Google gift ideas and see just how much you can please their Risk Taker side.
Our oldest son, Cole, is a Risk Taker. He won’t even give us a Christmas Wish List because he loves surprises so much. He’d rather unwrap a surprise than something he knows he wants.
For the Security Seeker in your life, buy a practical gift. Find something that serves a purpose. Something useful, practical, and well made so it is reliable and will last a long time.
Scott is a Security Seeker. He loves to get gifts that I (Bethany) would never want. This year he wants a lamp. A lamp! My brain thinks, “How boring.” But the gift is to honor and please him, not me. So guess who will be scrolling through lamps online? Me. And guess who will love his gift? Scott.
Most people find this type of Money Personality a bit perplexing. But Flyers are those people in your life that just don’t really care about money. They value relationships, memories, and time spent together above any item. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want gifts. They value gifts that foster the relationship.
Scott’s mom is a Flyer. So we wrap up certificates for her showing her all the time we’ll spend together. For Christmas we usually take her out dinner, to a show, and then we go for dessert afterwards to talk about the show. She tells us repeatedly that this is, “The best gift ever! Just being together!”
If you buy your Flyer a gif certificate, that is awesome. But plan on going together to spend it. It’s all about the relationship for them.
Without going too far down the road of explaining what our Money Personality Insights Report says, each person does have two Money Personalities so it’s great to consider the combination of both their Primary and Secondary when you buy their gift.
For example, A Flyer/ Saver would love a Groupon for an activity. You got a deal on something that you could do together to foster the relationship.
Or say a Saver / Risk taker is on your list; you don’t need a lavish gift but something exciting. A gift that involves adventure, but doesn’t break the bank. Like telling them, “Hey, I’m driving and we’re going hiking later this month.” It’s exciting to be together, but savings is exciting for them too.
Without Fail …
And always remember to discuss your holiday spending plans with your spouse. Agree on your plan. And if you don’t agree at first, keep communicating until you do. Don’t hide spending from your spouse even if it is “just for the kids”. That’s lying and wrong. There’s no other way to say it.
Talk about the amount to spend on your spouse’s gifts. Agree on that. But you don’t ever have to discuss the exact gifts. Let them be a wonderful, meaningful surprise under the tree, not the surprise credit card bills in a month.
Hopefully with these guidelines you can stop giving your spouse the wrong kind of gifts, which should make your shopping a little easier too. Enjoy each other and celebrate your differences.
Make it happen!
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
Creators of the 5 Money Personalities
A certificate under the tree for the Money Personality Insights Report. 17 pages tailored for your exact Primary and Secondary Money Personalities. Empowering You to Create the Future You Desire!