I’ll be surprised if you get more than two people to agree in this thread!
I have always had a problem with this myself. It was once suggested to me that a cash gift should approximate the cost per person at the reception. (Why? Who knows?) I have also been told that your $$$ gift should be proportionately larger if you are coming with a guest.
For myself, the size of the gift is proportional to how close I am to that person. I never thought of it in terms of a percentage of my monthly salary, honestly… A good friend is likely to get a gift worth about $100 from me if I attend the wedding alone (but keep in mind with women that figure doesn’t include shower gifts, which may run another $50-75). Someone I’m really close to, or a relative, will get something more. My friends seem to follow along similar lines.
I personally would rather choose a gift than give cash, if practical, because I take a lot of pride in spending time to find something people will really enjoy. IMHO such care adds “value” to the gift.
sits back and waits to see if I’ll be thought cheap or a spendthrift