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Why I Won’t Spend the Same Amount on the Kids

Save the guilt and the cash. Give the kids presents based on wants, needs, and the ability to give. Do not give based on meeting a price that was spent on their sibling. I realize this is probably an unpopular stance, as I’ve witnessed many families make sure that all the kids get equal amounts down to the penny. I’m planning to take a stand against the practice of spending equal money on each child!


We have a 23 month old and a 3 month old. I tried to make a wishlist to give to grandparents of what the little one needs, after the failed college contribution [1] idea. I could only come up with two things. The truth is, he really already has everything he could possibly need as a hand-me-down from his big brother. Therefore, we are just going to buy him a couple small things. We are not going to spend as much on his presents as we do for the our toddler.


  • It is a waste of money to buy things that aren’t needed just to meet the price quota.
  • I don’t want to start the practice of the kids adding up the value of their presents to compare. This is a result of focusing on the dollar values of gifts rather than the gifts themselves.
  • Excess isn’t necessary. We have hundreds of toys; we don’t need anymore.
  • I want to set the stage for the future: sports, college, weddings, life, etc. If we gift one child money for a wedding and the other chooses not to be married, I have no intention of writing a blank check for the same amount.
  • All Financial Matters brought up some additional reasons discussing the financial dilemmas of treating siblings equitably [2].

The bottom line is that being fair is not the same as being equitable. I’m treating my children fairly by meeting their needs, even if those needs come in different dollar amounts! Accept frugality when it faces you head on. There isn’t a need to spend the same amount on both kids, so don’t!

Action Plan

Of course this might be easier said than done, since my kids are both under 2. When they are older I’ll have to fight harder. At least for this Christmas, the little one is getting a couple small things. I’m sure he’ll be quite content… or probably asleep.

What do you think? Do you spend the same amount of money on your kids?