Is it bad to give a cheap gift? [Surprising answer]

cheap gift pin

When we are tasked with buying a gift, one question always pops up in the back of our head, “Is my gift too cheap?” Surprisingly, your gift could be too expensive.

Gift-giving is a tradition relevant to every society. The act of giving items has carried some form of significance throughout history and even in the present day. People have given gifts to show respect, appreciation, love and even submission.

These deep values ingrained in gifts have caused us to feel anxiety as we decide what to give for a holiday or special occasion. The last thing you want is for your gift to give the impression that the person is not important to you. Not only does that defeat the purpose of giving but it puts pressure on relationships.

As a result, we begin to question whether or not if the price of the gift is too cheap.

Just the phrase, cheap gift, creates a negative feeling in many people. However, what if I told you that something expensive could be worse than something cheap?

The main lesson of this article is that the price of a gift does not reflect its value.

Cheap Gifts – High Value

Unlike normal purchases, gifts come with sentimental value that overrides their cost. A cheap gift can mean more to a person if it is something that you picked out solely based on them. In fact, this is often where expensive gifts start to become worse.

More often than not, expensive items don’t have a very narrow audience. In other words, they usually aren’t unique. That means while you think you have gotten them something extravagant, it ends up meaning little.

For example, a laptop as a gift is pretty great, right? But, what about that laptop is made especially for that person? A laptop fits any giftee because it is simply a tool.

Now consider a koala necklace. If you got that for someone who loves koalas it would probably mean something to them for their entire life. That’s the power of value over price. That necklace costs a fraction of other, more expensive gifts but has the ability to resonate with the giftee.

Expensive gifts are best reserved for functional items that can help a person’s lifestyle.

Cheap Gifts In Exchanges Create Less Guilt

A less important aspect of cheap gifts, that is still worth mentioning, is their impact on exchanges. Especially gift exchanges among couples.

If two people have expectations to receive gifts from one another, giving a really expensive gift can make you seem like a jack***. No one really expects to receive something expensive during an exchange and if they bought a cheap item, they will undoubtedly feel bad.

You end up setting a bar that they will likely want to stay above. So your expensive gift will lead to them getting an expensive gift and then somewhere down the line you will both agree not to get each other gifts at all.

That is what happens when you associate the value of a gift with its cost. You end up forgetting why gift-giving is important in the first place. Gifts become nothing more than impersonal items.

If you are participating in an exchange and want to gift something grand, it’s best to notify everyone involved. That way people won’t be taken by surprise at how much you spent. Another option is to set a price limit for the gifts.

There’s No Shame To Cheap Gifts

Ultimately, if you are wondering if your gift is too cheap, you shouldn’t. Inexpensive gifts are not without value. As long as you are getting something unique to the person, you shouldn’t feel bad about not spending a lot of money. Giving items to people we care about is not a way to flex how much we can leisurely spend. It’s truly the thought that goes into your gift selection that really matters (yes, it’s cliche but true).

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