How much to spend on a wedding gift

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’ve got lots of weddings to attend — some requiring significant travel and hotel costs. I’m not complaining about that (well, I am a little) but after I’ve spent hundreds or even more than $1,000 to be there for my friends, how much is enough to spend on a wedding gift? I don’t want to look cheap but I also don’t want to be on a weeks-long ramen-from-the-microwave diet when I get home from the festivities.

— Elizabeth B.

Dear Elizabeth: The best advice I can give you is to figure out how much you can comfortably afford and don’t go over that. Now more than ever (inflation!), all but a lucky few of us are on a budget. Especially for weddings that require traveling, don’t go overboard on the gift just because you think you might look cheap. After all, your presence is part — likely a large part — of the wedding present. You should give some sort of gift, and here are some frugal suggestions: Go for the low-end items on the couple’s bridal registry, a photo of the couple in a nice frame (try Michaels, or matching kitchen aprons from Walmart for under $10 and have them monogrammed if you want to spend a bit extra. One more thing: Whatever the gift, have it sent. It’s a huge pain for the couple to haul gifts back home, especially if the wedding site is nowhere near where the couple lives.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My boyfriend wears socks with his shorts that are half way up his calves. It is a doofus look with gym shoes or deck shoes. He says the no-show socks slip and bunch up under his feet. What’s the answer?

— Meredith K.

Dear Meredith: No-show socks for men (and women) have come a long way, with silicon strips that keep them in place and a different cut than those you’re familiar with. Some to try are those that are shaped more like a woman’s ballet flat than the old-school ones shaped kind of like a canoe: Mens Non-Slip Grips Casual Low Cut Boat Socks (Joulli brand, 6-pack, on sale,, $13.99); women’s Peds Smooth Edge Low Cut (, 6-pack, $15.50).

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Lots of lap swimming readers share Sally A.’s lament there’s no swim cap that really keeps hair dry. But they do offer some suggestions to keep chlorine damage to a minimum. Before the swim, Virginia B. and Kathryn P. soak their hair in tap water, then apply conditioner beneath a basic swim cap. After the swim, they rinse thoroughly. Adrienne L. soaks her hair with tap water —no added conditioner — ”to seal it from the swimming pool water.” Joanne S. skips the tap water rinse and goes straight for Queen Helene Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream (, $5.89) under her swim cap. Georgette C. recommends using the “lifesaving crawl” which keeps the head out of the water altogether “without ever taking the face/eyes from looking ahead.”

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On another hair issue, readers want to help Carrie S. whose curly hair turns to frizz. Jeanne S. likes Mixed Chicks Coil, Kink & Curl Styling Cream on wet hair then air dry (, $12): “It does dry a little ‘crunchy’ but you can scrunch it to get rid of the crunch.” Jill B. recommends Kiehl’s Crème with Silk Groom (, $26;, $25). Though instructions recommend use on damp hair, Jill has had better luck on dry hair: “My hair sleeks down and stays there.”