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

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