How much to spend on mum?
AS the old adage goes, “it’s the thought that counts” and that certainly rings true with most Australians.
Mother’s Day is on Sunday, and many sons and daughters will be looking to spend up on popular gifts such as flowers, champagne or perfume to make sure their mum knows they’re special.
But in the end experts say it’s not the price tag that matters, it’s the thought put into the gift that outshines the amount spent.
Suncorp’s national cost of living report found that when it comes to gift giving, being frugal but thoughtful is important:
■ 56 per cent of people would prefer something personal or sentimental over an expensive gift.
■ 55 per cent believe cash is an appropriate gift.
■ 40 per cent agree a card is a good gift.
■ 33 per cent think re-gifting is appropriate.
Suncorp behavioural economist Phil Slade said “thoughtfulness” always overrode the “expense of the gift” regardless of the occasion.
“The more you feel connected to an individual, the more your brain thinks it needs to spend both money and thoughtfulness on that person,” he said.
“Depending on the person, really expensive gifts can sometimes backfire as you may run the risk of feeling as though you are trying to buy the relationship.”
Mr Slade said cost-conscious people should plan ahead to avoid putting strain on their wallet.
“It’s the thoughtfulness that will make up for the shortfall,” he said.
The report also found that when it comes to gift giving, Christmas is the most expensive time of year, with Australians shelling out $470 on average annually.
This is followed by birthdays ($360), engagements and weddings ($204 in total), anniversaries ($169), Valentine’s Day ($100), Mother’s Day and Father’s Day ($99), baby showers and bridal showers ($80) and Easter ($67).
Financial adviser Scott Haywood said presence was the best present anyone could give, so spending time with mum would always outweigh handing over a lavish gift.
“The mothers all know their children are under a level of financial pressure and they don’t want them wasting all their money on Mother’s Day, they’ll just want time with you,” he said.
“They’ll be happy with time, a meal and some flowers. It’s a simple event.”
Mr Haywood suggested gift givers look at cost-cutting measures including picking flowers from their garden or buying a good gift second-hand from online websites such as ebay and Gumtree.
Making a photo book or printing off a special photo memory and putting it in a frame was another cost-effective present, he said. — Sophie Elsworth