Dear Abby: My husband and I are on an extremely tight budget since I lost my job and he was forced to retire early because of health issues. We have a nice home (paid for) and older vehicles, and we have no complaints about our lifestyle other than being more penny-conscious to cover our basic expenses.
We receive numerous wedding invitations from our grown children’s friends, whom we have known and loved since they were all in high school together. Our problem is what to do about a gift for them when we don’t have the money for one.
We love to attend the weddings and receptions, but I feel bad about not taking a gift.
What’s the right thing to do? Do we go and not take anything, offer an explanation or decline the invitation? I always send a card, and I don’t want anyone to think we are cheap. My son was married last year, and people were very generous with their gifts, which I really appreciated.
We also received six graduation announcements last spring — same issue.
I’d really appreciate some advice.
Belts in Missouri
:Dear Tightening: When you receive a wedding invitation from one of your children’s former high school friends, pick up the phone and explain your current circumstances and the fact that they, regrettably, prevent you from attending. That will leave the door open for them to invite you to come anyway. If the invitation is a sincere wish to share their special day with you and not a gift grab, they’ll tell you your presence is all the “gift” they need. However, if they don’t, send a card extending your good wishes.
As for the graduation announcements, they should be acknowledged with a nice card and a sweet note of congratulations. You are under no obligation to send a gift.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips.Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.