How to Know How Much to Spend on a Baby Shower Gift

Baby showers are joyous occasions. They’re fun and festive. They can be awkward too as you know if you’ve ever been in a situation where you under or over gave. If so, you know firsthand how important it is to know how much to spend on a baby shower gift.

🔍 Clues You Can Use

Typically, it’s not appropriate to ask the guest of honor or even the host of the shower how much you should spend so another idea is to do your own investigating and come up with your own calculated opinion. Some of the best hints available include:

The guest of honor

You can oftentimes judge how much to spend by knowing the guest of honor, which is usually the mother-to-be and sometimes the father-to-be too.

Are the parents the type who lean towards the finer things in life? If they are, your best bet is to not disappoint and to give a present in the higher end. That is not to say you can’t do your best to find something nice on sale though. If they need everything from diapers to a stroller and baby bed, you might play it safe by sticking in the mid-range.

Your relationship to the guest of honor

There’s a big difference in what you are expected to spend if you are attending a baby shower for your son and daughter-in-law as opposed to someone you work with or just met.

At the same time, if the shower is for your boss and you work for a large corporation that pays you well, you will most likely be expected to bring a fairly expensive gift.

Your participation in the shower

If you are the one throwing the shower or if you are helping to give it, you are in a bit of an awkward spot. You won’t want to skimp as you are not going to be able to fly under the radar.

Showers can be very expensive these days though and you may not have enough funds left over to buy anything too extravagant. You might look for a nice gift that’s on sale or even go in with someone else or more than one person to afford a more expensive gift that wouldn’t be possible to give on your own.

Talk to other invited guests

If you’re lucky, you’ll know other people who have been invited to the shower and know them well enough to ask what gift they are giving. You don’t have to ask the amount they are spending unless you’re really close to them but there’s no harm in inquiring what gift they are bringing. You can even approach it as if you are looking for ideas because in fact, in a way – you are.

Type of baby shower

There is a myriad of types of baby showers these days. From traditional get-togethers consisting of mostly women, a few finger foods, and some gifts and informal backyard barbeques for both men and women to ritzy hotel affairs with champagne flowing and equally fancy presents, you’ll find it all. It’s a good idea to consider what type of baby shower you are being invited to and how much money is being spent on it. The more expensive the shower is, the more you are likely to be expected to spend on the gift you bring.

Dress code

If the baby shower is casual, most guests will likely spend less on gifts than those at a formal shower where you are asked to dress up.

Who are you trying to impress?

At the best, you should only be trying to impress the mother-to-be. Trying to keep up with the Jones is never wise. When you compare your gifts to others, you’ll always come out ahead or behind. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to spend way more or way less than the majority but do be sure your motives are pure.

Unique gifts

The more unique the gift you give is, the less scrutinized it will probably be because it won’t be common knowledge how much you spent on it. Heirlooms are a great example of one-of-a-kind gifts that don’t come with public price tags.

Gifts that keep giving

One way to ensure you aren’t judged for what you’re spending (or not spending) is to give a gift that keeps on giving. Book clubs, a diaper service gift certificate, and monthly gift memberships are awesome ideas that keep your pocketbook from being the focus.


Another way to avoid broadcasting how much your gift cost is to make a sweet baby basket. You can collect things along the way and end up with a basket that appears expensive when it reality, it wasn’t. Make it super cute by decorating it creatively. You can do it in a certain theme or choose general baby items. You can tie a rattler to the basket wrap, adorn it with booties, or whatever else you think will add the icing on the cake. The sky is the limit and only you are the wiser of how much money you invested in the contents.


The gift registry will give you a good idea of how much you are expected to spend. Many registries include both low- and high-end gifts which allow you to find something in between. Usually, you are able to see as gifts are marked off the list. A good rule of thumb is to let a few others go first to see what they spend.


Since you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip, if you are financially strapped, you may have to settle for spending less than you’d like to. Go bargain shopping. If you are crafty, put your heart and some time into making a baby gift. Consider giving a voucher for babysitting, housecleaning, or home cooked meals after the baby comes. If the mom-to-be is a good friend or are close relative, they will already know your situation and will appreciate anything you give.

🤔 What to Expect When You Have No Idea What to Expect

The average amount spent on a baby shower gift is between $25 and $100 USD. There can be quite a gap even in that range plus, there are exceptions to the rule. Celebrity baby shower gifts can range in the thousands while more modest showers may suggest bringing diapers or something very affordable.

Multiple sources agree on a common ground amount of $25 USD for acquaintances and co-workers, $50 USD for friends, $100 up to $150 USD for close friends and relatives. If only it were that cut-and-dry. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On a side note, if you are throwing the shower, you have the liberty to set a suggested amount for baby gifts. If you know some or most of the guests are strapped for cash, consider setting a lower amount than if you’re inviting guests who are well off. You might also have guests bring a box or package of diapers at a gathering with those who have money while at a shower with those who don’t have much, diapers could be suggested as the actual gift. The less you can put your guests on the spot for spending too much or too little, the better. As the hostess, you set the atmosphere for the occasion so try your best to make it a great one by taking some of the guesswork out of the equation.

🧭 The Facts of Life

As wonderful baby showers are, there will always be downsides to picking a present. If you overshoot, you may be pegged as one who is looking to gain attention by flashing an expensive gift. If you underestimate, you may be thought of as being a cheapskate.

If you are wanting to make sure you are in the right range for your own peace of mind rather than being worried about what others think, you can go a lot on your own intuition. What do you feel good about with all things considered? Is there something special you’d like the baby or mom-to-be to have?

Once you have set your mind on an amount and have chosen the gift, give it with your heart. Be confident that you have used the resources available and have made the best decision you could have made, given the facts. Determine not to let the fun in giving be ruined for you regardless of what others think or if you spent too much or too little.

Although it can be embarrassing or even humiliating to bring a gift that is extreme, one way or the other, there are more important things to keep in mind.

The bottom line is that it’s best to focus on the joy the baby will bring. Celebrating a life is much more relevant than worrying about how much to spend on the gift.

Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl is a professional writer that has been writing ever since she could hold a crayon. She has authored over 200 fiction and non-fiction books for teens and adults (both credited and ghost-written) on a wide range of subjects. Cheryl also writes blogs and articles on various topics and themes. Residing in a small mountain community in Southwest Colorado, Cheryl draws her inspiration from the gorgeous scenery, her 2 adult children, and 3 grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, party and event planning, and hanging out with family and friends. “I write so you don’t have to,” is Cheryl’s motto.

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