"He Set a Minimum Budget for His Gifts": Woman's Boyfriend Asks Her to Spend at Least $200 on BDay

A woman on Mumsnet said her boyfriend requested some very specific (and expensive) birthday gifts, and even gave her a minimum budget. Is this weird?


Sep. 19 2023, Published 2:03 p.m. ET

woman not happy with boyfriend
Source: Getty Images; Mumsnet

When it comes to gifts, folks often say it's the thought that counts — but what if your significant other doesn't live by that phrase?

For one woman on Mumsnet, not only does her boyfriend disregard that old adage — but he also set a minimum budget for her when buying his birthday gift.

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Wait, there's more: Months earlier, he'd cheaped out on a gift for her. Now he's asking that she order specific pricy items at a specific time — despite knowing she's a bit strapped for cash at the moment.

Let's dive into this one...

displeased couple
Source: Getty Images

Stock photo

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This man asked his girlfriend to spend a minimum of $200 on his birthday gift.

In a post on the "Am I Being Unreasonable?" subforum on Mumsnet, a woman wanted to know whether she was unreasonable for being frustrated with her boyfriend's birthday demands.

The woman said that she and her boyfriend have been together for about a year, and that they recently went on vacation together. While they were away, her boyfriend told her to wait until they were back home before buying him a birthday gift.

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... Which is already a little weird, until you learn that he told her this more than once. And that he didn't take into account that his birthday was very soon after their arrival home, which gave her no time to order his gifts. And that he wanted some very specific and expensive items.

Oh, and he'd also cheaped out on his own gift for her just a few months earlier when it was her birthday. Did we forget to mention that he likes to make fun of how she's short on cash, too?

This one's a doozy.

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mumsnet am i being unreasonable post from woman about boyfriend setting minimum budget for his birthday gift
Source: Mumsnet

Let's let the woman tell the story in her own words...

"My boyfriend and I are together a year next month so this year was our first Valentine's and birthdays," she began her post. "We returned from holiday early last week and his birthday was last Sunday. Prior to the holiday, he told me to save my money and wait until we were home and settled before buying any presents. Now I know I didn’t mishear him because he said it more than once."

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"He said that he expects me to spend a minimum of £200 on him because that was his budget and specifically requested an outdoor pop-up tent and JBL speaker equating to the budget," she continued. "Based on boyfriend's advice, this would mean anything I order wouldn’t arrive on time for the Sunday."

"I literally started a new job where I am paid monthly and after the holiday and paying other bills, I have £30 to do me until payday and my boyfriend is completely aware of this," she wrote. "Sunday came and he was incredibly disappointed there were no gifts (I did bring him to the beach and paid for dinner)."

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"I would never expect him to take care of me financially but despite knowing how strapped I am until payday, he hasn’t offered to pay for anything and instead keeps making jokes about how poor I am," she went on. "He even tried to give me £5 as a joke so I couldn’t say he ‘wasn’t a good boyfriend who didn’t get me anything’…"

wrapped gifts
Source: Getty Images
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"Here’s my issue," she explained (only one issue, singular? Sorry). "My birthday was in June and without sounding materialistic I was incredibly disappointed with my presents and know my boyfriend completely cheaped out yet set a minimum budget for his presents."

"He bought me a pair of Crocs (in the wrong size), Yankee Candles (Christmas scents), and a reed diffuser," she wrote. "On top of this, we went for a meal tasting (8 courses) that was £80 per person (in total £160) and my boyfriend is including the total £160 toward the money he spent on me. Now, when I take anyone out for dinner, I only factor in their portion towards total cost and completely ignore my own because that’s money I spent on myself and not them. Isn’t this normal?"

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"Before anyone presumes I went googling the prices … My boyfriend left the delivery slips in the bags (presents weren’t wrapped and they were handed to me in packaging they arrived in) and a lot of the items were heavily discounted compared to their normal retail price," she noted. "I know it’s not what a person spends but the thought that counts, but when I tally what my boyfriend spent it was roughly £130!"

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Commenters had a few ideas for this woman...

"[Get him a] second-hand tent and he can go live in it," one person wrote before noting that OP should leave this guy.

"Anyone who told me what they expected me to spend on them would soon be an ex," another commenter said.

"Please raise your standards," said another. "This joke of an idiot is not worth your time."

"Any man who buys his parter a Yankee candle and reed diffuser is not a keeper," one commenter noted.

"He has the hallmarks of a financial abuser, entitled to your money and gaslighting you about his," someone else wrote. "Are you too afraid to see him for what he is? Throwing money at the problem won't cure it. Dumping him will.

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A couple of commenters felt the blame lied on both sides, or didn't think this had to be the end of their relationship.

"I think you both need to grow up," wrote one person, seemingly not impressed with either the woman or her BF.

Another wrote: "If you are determined to stay with him, here is some great advice from the relationships crew here on [Mumsnet]. Earlyish on in a relationship — this still counts for your, OP — say NO to him. Don't explain, etc., but assert yourself and say no. You could say 'NO I won't be doing that' re his present demands, or 'No I won't be spending that much.' See how he responds. It will tell you a lot about him and about your future relationship. Eyes open!!!"

The overwhelming majority, however, felt that this woman needs to kick her man to the curb. We're inclined to agree. What do you think?

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