I have noticed that there are times where I am going around thinking $x is the right amount to pay for something, and then I find out that everyone else considers even $2x to be totally cheapo. Haircuts can be like this: I think of myself as paying kind of a lot for a haircut, not a ton but not cheapo either, but it happens repeatedly that I will hear someone say "I'm never going to get around to going to my usual place, so I'm just going to get a cheapo $2x cut and hope for the best"---where $x is what I pay for a haircut. That kind of thing.
Anyway, what I'm wondering about is birthday party gifts you'd bring to someone else's child's party (not for a relative of yours, but for, like, your child's classmate). I definitely don't want to be cheaping out on that, but I don't need to bring the most expensive gift of the day, either. And I'd like to be SENSIBLE about it: we generally don't know the child's current toy inventory/preferences, so what we get could easily be a duplicate or something they don't like. So even if I found out that everyone else was spending $20-30, I might still stick with what I currently spend, which is "about $10." I will spend a little more for the perfect thing, but I was going to put a range there, and I'd thought "$8-13," and then I realized no, I don't think I'd spend $13 unless it was really truly irresistibly perfect---and it's rare to know such a thing about someone else's child.
Anyway-again, what I think is useful for these sorts of things is a POLL (over in the right-hand margin). [Poll closed; see results below.] But I also like the comments section, because I like hearing people say the DETAILS of they do: "Well, for someone we don't know, I spend $x; but for close friends' kids, I spend more like $2x" or "I let my child choose a gift, and anything up to $20 is fine" or "We've been spending $30, but that was when we hardly went to any parties; now that the kids are getting invited to more, we have to cut it back to more like $15" or "I don't have a plan: sometimes I spend $5, sometimes I spend $40" or "It depends on the location of the party: if it's a home party I aim for $10, but if it's a big exciting place I aim for more like $25" or "Well, we MAKE gifts, so it's harder to figure out, but probably $5 for the materials, and the result is the equivalent of a $15 gift."
(If you've never had to bring a gift to a child's birthday party, you can answer with what you think you'd be likely to do.)
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...