Gifting and Society: The Guilt and the Cost

I was watching an episode of Sex and the City the other day called “A Woman’s Right to Shoes“, when Carrie goes to her friend Kira’s child’s birthday party, has to take off her gorgeous silver Manolo Blahniks and place them by the door by request of the family.


When she goes to leave, she realizes that someone stole her shoes!

And when she tries to basically ask for the money from her friend, as it was not her choice to remove her shoes at the party, her friend shamed her for spending $500 on a pair of shoes, saying “We can’t afford that Carrie. We have bills to pay and a family to feed.”

Then the episode goes on to angrily protest the unfair treatment of single women in society.

In the end, Carrie registers under her own name, to be married to herself, and sends the registry to Kira, who ends up paying for the pair of shoes that was originally stolen from her home.


She’s right!

Single women, don’t get presents for being single, and being committed to themselves, for example.

And in gay marriages are still not widely acknowledged or accepted.

It got me thinking about all the different events that everyone seems to be expected to shell out for these days because of all of these life events.

I even had this conversation with Debt Free Babe via email once. Check out her mini rant here.

Just by a very bare minimum estimation here….. (some areas might be $0, some might cost more)

Engagement: $400

  • Engagement Party to congratulate the couple: $100
  • Bridal Shower to shower presents on the bride: $100
  • Stagette for her last night out, but it can also be a trip to NYC for example: $200
  • Spend time organizing all of that, paying for the food, etc

Wedding: $1500

  • Wedding Attendance (sometimes you pay a flight ticket & a hotel to attend): $800
  • Wedding Gift from Registry, for a $5000 silver set that they will never use but will return for the money: $300
  • Bridesmaid Dress/Hair/Makeup/Shoes/Accessories — if you are one by choice or not: $400
  • Spending time helping put together invitations, find florists, etc

Birth of a Baby/Babies: $1150

  • Baby Shower: $100
  • Each baby’s birthday until they turn… 21?: $50 x 21 = $1050

Divorce(s) (true!): $100

  • I-am-getting-divorced parties each time someone gets divorced: $100

Total = $3150 per couple you know that got married and divorced and assuming they only have one child

Note: could be more or less. They may not get divorced, may have more kids, and/or not all the events above.

I am not saying that I DO NOT want to shell out for any of it, I am just marveling at what we are all expected to pay for, all the time, for these events of other people’s lives, when we are trying to pay our own bills.

It’s like those who are able to get legally married, have babies or what have you, are going to get more gifts and presents than those who choose not to, or cannot.

And some people expect you to send a gift of money or something ANYWAY, even if you don’t show up to the event or party, or are just casual friends!


What do you think?

Where would you draw the line, or do you not?

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.