This Is How Much You Should Really Be Spending on a Baby Shower Gift

Just when you thought the confusion of gift-giving etiquette was behind you once all your friends got married, those weddings have led to the next stress-inducing shopping event: baby showers.

So, how much should you really be spending on your boss, your sister-in-law, or your old roommate? The most important thing is that you give what you feel comfortable giving, but aside from that, the breakdown is actually quite simple.

Co-workers and acquaintances: $25

Don't feel guilty for spending relatively little on gifts at office showers — particularly for employees you barely know. Giving even $15 to $20 is suitable in this case.

Friends: $50

It's standard operating procedure to spend this amount on the vast majority of friends, both old and new.

Close friends and family: $100

For best friends and relatives, consider making more of a splurge. If the baby is a niece, nephew, or godchild, you might want to spend even more, up to $150.

4 Ways to Spend Less Without Anyone Noticing:
If you're concerned about the spending requirements for the growing stack of baby shower invitations you've been sent, all your money is not lost. Here are some financially savvy tips to make the most of your gift:

  • Go in on a big-ticket item with another person or small group. Splitting the cost of a $400 glider among five cousins is a great way to stay under budget while providing the recipient with an essential item they might not have received otherwise.
  • Coupon hunt. Just because the nursing pillow cost $40 at full-price doesn't mean you need to spend that much. If you snag something during a sale or apply a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, consider it a win-win: they get what they wanted while you get to keep some extra dollars in your wallet. Just skip the gift receipts on these.
  • Include something handmade. The art supplies required to knit a hat or crochet a blanket cost far less than the retail price of one. It's polite to include at least one item from the registry, but pairing it with a personally crafted one can save you some cash.
  • Create a theme to make smaller items more substantial. A baby registry often has lots of under-$10 products, and as wanted as those odds-and-ends are, they don't leave a lasting impression. Instead, pull together similar items for a "bath time" theme — lotion, shampoo, towels, wash cloths, and tub toys — or a "chef-in-training" theme with cups, bowls, spoons, and teethers.