I must admit sometimes I forego rewarding myself for some of my accomplishments because either I feel I don’t deserve it, or I’m better off saving the money rather than spending it. Most often, it is not only because the funds are limited, but it may be better off spent towards a more important matter or cause. In this case, I may have exercised high level of restraint or EQ!

This personal dilemma has often led me to feeling that I can only spend a little thus end up buying the “budget stuff”, and commonly those little treats not go a long way. For this reason, my kids remark that I am the “budget mom”. I have read some materials about this lately and most of those articles talk about the value we put on ourselves. For example, for people who give expensive gifts, they tell me they do it because that’s how much value they place on the person they are giving the gift to. But does it necessarily mean that if I give a gift of lesser value, I also consider the person of a lesser value? Does the gift actually reflect how much we think of the person? I guess not. Sometimes you should not push yourself if you cannot afford to give something very expensive. And at times like this, the adage “it’s the thought that counts” becomes handy.

Going back to rewarding one’s self. I do occasionally buy a treat for myself, but this is very rare. I think it is healthy to look after our selves too! It makes us feel good and it keeps our spirits up. I believe there is nothing to feel guilty about for as long as we do not go beyond our means, and if the treat isn’t something illegal or detrimental to ourselves or to the people around us that might be impacted with the purchase. Something like, why would I buy a $10,000 ring when this amount can be put towards savings for educational scholarship of my children?

In business practice, there are occasions where gift-giving can also pose a dilemma. Company policies are sometimes restrictive on employees accepting gifts from suppliers or stakeholders because of the ethics involved. Then there are other restrictions in terms of what can be an acceptable gift to accept or give (E.g. wines, spirits and alcohol versus cake or flowers) and how much the gift is worth (e.g. $1000 voucher for shopping vs $50 discount voucher for dining).

Most companies and organisations practice giving “gifts” that are standard corporate giveaways such as mugs, pens, umbrellas, T-shirts, diary planners or allow employees’ attendance to company functions. However functional these items are, do they represent the level of appreciation associated with the act of giving? Again there is an issue on the perceived value of the gift, the type of gift, and in view of the perceived value of the recipient.This is truly an issue that is not easy to resolve, and therefore on a personal level, we can perhaps set a limit to how much and how often we can reward ourselves for a good deed done, or if we are giving it to someone else for their accomplishments to show our appreciation. At work, the best possible solution is to refer to the company or organisation guidelines so we can be sure that we are safe and are not in breach of any policy.

Gifts by definition are things or objects given away without expectation of payment or anything in return. And as presents, gifts are given for the simple reason that they are symbolic of the relationship between the giver and the receiver. I reckon this gift giving practice should be kept as part of one’s personal or corporate culture. After all, who doesn’t love a gift?