When you make a lot of money, do people expect really fancy gifts from you?

I’ve just recently experienced this.

I don’t keep it a secret about how much I make, but I don’t like to broadcast it.

Strange I know, as I am soooo open on this blog about my cash.


I only tell people if they specifically ask me: How much do you make?

Note about why I am so honest:

I don’t lie because I don’t see the point, and I think that while money is still a taboo subject, it only becomes a problem if you tie what you make or what others make into what you consider to be their “status”.

Ever since starting this money blog, I am less sensitive about the money thing in general, and I’ve learned so much from watching get out of debt shows, from bloggers & great readers online over the years, that I just don’t factor it in any longer.

(Yes, I used to, in my younger, dumber, more ignorant and naive days.)

It’s just a fact. You make X amount of money, and that’s it.

It doesn’t change who you are to me, whether you’re kind or a horrible person.

When I reply that I make around $100/hour, which is about $200,000 a year if I worked full-time.

Upon hearing that, they snort and say: So that means you can afford to give me at least a $1000 gift if I invite you to my wedding right?

I was taken aback.

Yes, it was a joke, but……


First, I don’t have guaranteed full-time work!

I could earn only $20,000 a year depending on where and when the contracts come.

Take for instance 2009. I didn’t work the ENTIRE YEAR (not by choice).

My income was basically $0 from my day job.

I only made some money freelancing here and there, a bit from the blog but that’s about it.

Maybe $3000, total.

The year before that, I made about $120,000, but ended up having to spend 2009 living off it, paying taxes on my company and for myself, and expenses.

I could also not be making more money, if I take a contract where I have to pay my own expenses to work, or if I ask for less money. Nothing is guaranteed.

This is why I like to live on as little as possible, while being comfortable.

It doesn’t all come as a fixed cheque, because I am working for myself.

Second, does more money mean I am obligated to give more?

Just because I supposedly make more money, does that mean I should be giving you 4x as much as what I’d normally gift?

But what is the rule when you make $20,000 to $1,000,000 for example?

Is there a sliding scale of gifts based on income?

I’m not saying that I don’t want to give a good gift, or a lot of cash, but when did it become EXPECTED that I would give more than someone who earns $30,000?

I’m just a guest like everyone else, celebrating in your day.

If I show up with a big cash gift, it isn’t because I based it on some silly sliding scale — it’s because I wanted to give that amount to you.

With the tables turned, if they earned $200,000 a year, would I just gift $0 because they’re SOOOO much richer than me, that they don’t need my money?

What about in that situation?

Third, was this even an appropriate comment to make!?

These were not my closest friends, and it was just in casual company…. but as I said before — I don’t lie if people ask me directly.

Not many people have the guts to do it, by the way, but they feel more open asking me how much I make if I don’t work for a company.

Oddly enough.

Still, I am not sure that joke was made in good taste. Every joke has a half truth, you know.

What do you think? Strange? All right?

Am I just being overly sensitive?

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About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.