It’s customary to drop in on baby showers with a nice gift for the soon-to-be family, but it can be tough to figure out what you’d like to give them. You want to get the family something helpful – something they can appreciate – but baby showers aren’t exactly regular celebrations.
The first thing you should do is evaluate your working budget. Just because you’ve been invited to a baby shower doesn’t mean you’re obligated to splurge for the celebrants – especially if they happen to be people you don’t know all that well. We’ll give you a general breakdown below.
How much you’re expected to spend on a baby shower gift generally depends on how close you are to the people involved. It’s general etiquette to spend at least $20 on a baby shower gift, but it’s not like they’ll be checking for receipts on arrival.
The price ranges below are guidelines, so feel free to bump them up if you have the budget to spare (or turn them down a tad if you can’t).
No matter the price range, make sure that the baby shower gift you pick up is something they’ll be sure to use. Parenthood is already quite the journey, so they need all the help they can get!
How Much to Spend on a Baby Shower Gift
General Budget Guidelines
Sometimes you’ll be invited to baby showers of people you don’t know all that well. You can comfortably settle on a price range of twenty to forty dollars for whatever gift you had in mind. This applies to acquaintances, coworkers, or other distant associates who took the time to invite you into this treasured new step in their lives.
Friends and family may warrant a beefier budget, so you might want to bump it up to around the fifty-dollar range as a general rule of thumb. It’d give you more options on what to pick up – the better to help them celebrate this momentous occasion.
For treasured friends and close family (i.e. if you’re an uncle or aunt) you can spend as much as a hundred dollars on your gift of choice. This budget lets you go beyond mementos and supplies, letting you buy practical investments like strollers and cribs for the infant.
Notes to Remember
Don’t forget that you’re making this choice out of love, not as an obligation. This celebration is monumental for the parents, but never spend more than what you’re comfortable parting with.
On that note, never take loans to pay for baby shower gifts. The interest could rack up for heftier purchases, and you don’t have a guarantee that the parents will actually put the gift to use!
To clarify, they might not be able to use these gifts because it wasn’t suitable for their infant. Maybe the stroller you picked up didn’t provide the right neck support, or the brand of formula you got in bulk clashed with the baby’s dietary needs.
Sometimes, all they can do with the gift you gave is return it for store credit. It’s just how it goes, and you’d still be a big help to them no matter how they use your gift.
It’s simply not something worth going into debt for.
What we provided earlier was a guideline, not a strict ruleset. Be sure to take your own financial situation into consideration when figuring out how much you should spend on a baby shower gift.
Deciding on What to Spend it On
Unlike debuts and other such occasions, a birthday shower comes bundled with tangible responsibilities. The couple involved know that they’re going to be parents, responsible for feeding, clothing, and caring for a child – on top of their existing work obligations, to boot!
No matter the budget, we’d strongly recommend keeping your gifts practical. It might be tempting to give them something fancy and unique, but you want to prioritize easing their coming workload.
These people will have their hands full very soon, and you can always have these fancy gifts to follow once the lucky couple has gotten their bearings first.
Parental Care Packages
It’s common for people to throw themselves into parenthood, often to their own detriment. They want to be the absolute best caretaker their child can have but often neglect their own needs.
These types of presents aim to directly help the struggling parent, addressing their needs as people. Just think of what they’d be grateful to have if you were in their shoes.
- Comfy clothes (Hoodies, Sweatpants, loose T-shirts, etc.)
- Snacks (Try to focus on healthier options, but some sweets wouldn’t be unwelcome!)
- Gift cards (Healthy restaurants, nice cafés, bookstore vouchers, and the like)
- Drink packs (Coffee packs, tea bags, or maybe even a juicer!)
- Wine or Sparkling Juice (The latter is preferred, as mommy can enjoy them too!)
Between the cost of checkups, doctor’s appointments, and necessary supplies, parenthood can really set a family back financially.
For reference, the price of plain, unbranded diapers is about 20 cents apiece. Most trusted brands start their rates at 30 cents apiece, even when bought in bulk.
A baby goes through about ten diapers a day on average, which adds up fast. That’s not even considering the other cleaning supplies they’re bound to go through on every nappy change.
Diapers are just one of the many crucial supplies needed to care for an infant.
Helping them out with these supplies isn’t a lazy gift, but a considerate way for you to mitigate their incoming responsibilities. Sometimes, mundane help works best – especially if you weren’t all that close with the celebrants to begin with!
- Diapers (Disposable or cloth)
- Formula packs (Do check the expiration date first!)
- New feeding bottles
- Cleaning supplies (Wipes, spray bottles, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, etc.)
As an aside, we’d strongly urge you to avoid picking up clothes for the baby on the way. Others will probably get the same idea, and you’d end up showering the new parents with bundles of outfits that the infant will most likely outgrow in a matter of months.
It’s not a bad option, but you’ve got a lot of better ones to choose from.
The celebrating parents might not be able to use the goods you give them. There are cases where the goods you provide won’t suit the infant’s immediate needs (i.e. diapers too big, infant dislikes formula brand). To prepare for this possibility, we urge you to include a copy of the receipt in the gift bag.
Providing such a helpful present is already a thoughtful gesture on your part. They’ll appreciate what you got, even if they can’t utilize it. Including the receipt means that in the event that the gift is ill-suited for the child, they can at least get some practical use out of your gift.
Crowdfunding for Bigger Purchases
You’ve also got another option at your disposal when picking out a baby shower gift on a budget: get in touch with other guests and pool what you can spare for a big purchase!
The biggest hurdle for most budding families will be those huge, one-time expenditures like strollers, car seats, and the like. Those are big investments, and the parents will likely weigh the pros and cons of buying one for quite a long while.
Those big, crowd-funded gifts are great options. They’re practical investments that’ll see years of use, and with enough people, the cost shouldn’t be too prohibitive for each individual involved.
It’s a great opportunity to give an awesome gift without spending too much, but coordinating everyone’s efforts can be tough.
Not everyone in attendance will be able to confirm their participation, and if someone chooses not to pay their share, there’s no real way to hold them accountable.
For that reason, we’d only recommend doing this sort of arrangement when you know the celebrants and trust the others guests to hold up their end of the promise.
- Baby mattresses
- Diaper bags (Consider tucking some baby supplies in the spare pockets too!)
- Diaper Pails
- Car seats
Group gifts are an option to provide something of value without breaking the bank. This process isn’t meant to give people a convenient out to waive off baseline gift expenditures. In short, you’re doing this to save money – not to cheap out on a soon-to-be family’s big celebration!
A fair rule of thumb is to make sure that you don’t go lower than $20 per contributing person. We’d also recommend that you restrict the gift-giving group to five members or fewer. Going past that point would just be giving people an out on their own gift-giving responsibility!
Figuring out how much you should spend on a baby shower gift can be difficult, but you’re operating off of general guidelines, not rules. Simply decide on how much you’re willing to spend and think carefully about which present the expecting parents will appreciate from you the most.