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As some of you might know, I have a younger sister, who is currently in Vietnam.
The last time I mentioned her on my blog, she was considering going to Malaysia for a new career opportunity.
As the story goes, she started dating someone, and the two of them decided to get married on January 1, 2019.
What happened was the guy’s mother went to see a fortune teller who said that based on their age, they should get married either before February 5, 2019 (before the Chinese New Year starts) or wait for another two years.
Long story short, they felt that they were ready to tie the knot now rather than waiting for two more years at the fortune-teller’s suggestion.
I tried to convince my sister to wait a bit longer and not believe the fortune teller.
But she made her decision, and our family had to follow her wish.
Typically, the bride and groom’s families will have their own weddings at two different venues (possibly on two different dates).
However, my family and the groom’s family decided to combine the two weddings into one to make it easier for the newlyweds.
My parents will invite 200 guests, and the groom’s family will invite 300 guests. Each family will pay for their own guests. They will also have two separate gift boxes for the guests to put their envelopes (with money in them of course).
Usually, the money from guests will help pay for the wedding. You put down a security deposit for the catering and venue. After the wedding, you can use the money to pay for the rest.
I know for my wedding with Mr. FAF, it cost $4,000 which was paid for with gift money from the guests (mainly extended family and neighbors).
Our $7,000 gift
I asked my parents how much it’d cost to organize a wedding for my sister. My dad said about $5,000. My parents said that they have the money, and that I shouldn’t worry about it.
However, now that Mr. FAF and I have paid off our mortgage, I want to take better care of my family, and that includes supporting them financially when appropriate.
I told Mr. FAF I wanted to send my parents $5,000 for them to hold a wedding for my sister and give my sister $2,000 as a wedding gift. Mr. FAF agreed.
My parents said that I don’t need to give her $5,000 since they can help my sister with that. Plus, the guests will probably offset the costs of the wedding. My sister is grateful but only want to accept $1,000. However, I know they only said that because they were worried about me. I made my decision and told them I’d stick with it. They’re family after all.
I usually don’t go around giving family or friends thousands of dollars for the sake of it. Mr. FAF and I also don’t squander money like there’s no tomorrow.
In fact, we are a frugal couple who wants to save even a quarter every single day. We pack our lunch to work, use Kirkland toilet paper as napkins, mend our torn clothes, refuse to pay $50 a month for gym membership or yoga, and own one paid-off Toyota Corolla.
We don’t want to waste money. But we are willing to spend it on something we consider important.
I want to give $7,000 for my sister’s wedding for the following reasons.
1. $7,000 is less than a month of take-home pay for us.
Mr. FAF and I take home much more than $7,000 a month. In fact, each month, we are able to save $5,000 or more.
It wouldn’t affect our finances in a majorly negative way to give my parents and sister part of our disposable income for this special occasion.
$7,000 is less than what we make a month, but it’s what my parents make in probably a year. I’m happy to help them out when I can.
2. It’s a special day for all of us.
It’s one of the most important days of my sister’s life. And it’s the day when my parents give their daughter’s hand to someone else and have her moving out of the house.
It’s also the day when my sister will start her own family. It’s an important day for all of us. And I have only one sister, so I want to show my support from half way around the world not only emotionally but also financially.
Related: When Money Matters In A Relationship
3. My sister never asked for any gifts.
My sister never asked me to buy her anything expensive or anything at all when I visit my family in Vietnam. She understands that I was a poor student before, that Mr. FAF and I were trying to pay off our mortgage, and that we have two young kids we have to take care of.
However, there will always be something in my life that I need to take care of financially. And since she never asked for anything, I want to make it up for her with this gift.
I told my sister not to spend the money on frivolous things, and that she should save it for a house purchase, to which she happily agreed.
4. My family has always supported me.
I’ve been in the US for more than 13 years. During those years, my parents have always supported me emotionally and sometimes financially.
I have been working full-time for the past three years and never really gave them money or bought them any expensive gifts. I want to at least relieve their financial stress and burden on this special occasion.
$7,000 is not a not in a grand scheme of things. But it’s a good opportunity for me to show my parents that I am grateful to them.
Related: When You Are Ashamed Of Being Poor
At the end of the day, I feel happy with everything that I have: a (relatively) good husband, two adorable kids, a full-time job, a house, a car, clothes and food.
I am content with my life. Money at this point is not to make me feel complete. It is a tool for me to take better care of my family and prepare for the future.
As Mr. FAF and I make more money in the future, we will sure give more. We’re taking one step at a time, and I feel pretty happy about it.