There are plenty of occasions that may justify a gift for your spouse: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, Valentine’s Day or just because. Over the course of your lives together, those gifts can add up to be a significant amount of money, as well as space in your home. If you’re feeling like there are too many gifts being exchanged, discuss the following ways to simplify the giving with your spouse.
1. Be clear and selective. Start by having a conversation with your spouse about your gift preferences. If you really want (or need) something, whether a gift or going out to dinner, and hate to be disappointed, say so. Or if you prefer not to receive gifts, make that known as well. You also can think about reducing the number of gifts you exchange or the occasions when gifts are expected. For example, you could agree to give one gift at each occasion or exchange cards instead. If you like the tradition of opening a gift under the tree or receiving something special on Valentine’s Day, agree to stick with tradition but try not to go overboard.
2. Give experiences. Experiences, such as an activity, trip or a day spent together, could be even more meaningful than a physical gift. Consider recreating your first date, checking an item off your spouse’s bucket list, or making a day of doing his or her favorite activities.
3. Give gifts that keep giving. Consider making a donation in your spouse’s honor to a favorite nonprofit organization or signing up for a service project. Many organizations will allow you to tailor the project to what your spouse likes to do best if they know about the occasion in advance.
4. Complete your to-do list. Is there a task or two that your spouse wishes you took care of last week, or last year? Purchase the items needed to finish the basement remodel, plant the vegetable garden or organize the attic. Then follow-through on the commitment, aiming to finish in time for the special occasion.
5. Give the gift of time. Does your spouse have a “guilty pleasure” they never seem to make time for? Allow him or her to indulge in uninterrupted time to catch up on their favorite TV show, read a magazine or book, take a nap, etc. while you take care of their responsibilities.
6. Buy for value. You can be practical and lavish at the same time by buying gifts for one another that have the potential to retain their value or appreciate over time. Fine jewelry, art, furniture, a collector’s item and even stock are thoughtful gifts that are assets in their own right.
7. Be flexible. Prescribed gift giving can stunt the fun in a relationship. Leave room for spontaneity as long as you have good intentions and sufficient discretionary income.
William “Drew” Watson CFP® is a Financial Advisor and Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Owensboro, KY. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for more than 20 years. To contact us by phone, please call 270-684-8424, or by mail at 111 West 3rd St., Owensboro, KY 42303. You may also visit our website at www.williamawatson.com.