We saw a lot of inspirational and loyal moments in Parks and Recreation but no one was as giving or more dedicated than Leslie Knope. As the former Deputy Director of the Pawnee Parks and Rec. Department, Leslie made her job personal by making her colleagues her second family. Every year she gifted her co-workers' gifts for the holidays and beyond for just being themselves. She’s also known to make random anniversaries for her loved ones (which she finds the perfect gift for every time).
However, after seven seasons, we’ve seen Leslie give gift after gift, run a pretty expensive campaign (without too much help from donors), and rent a property all by herself (until she and Ben moved in together). When we think about all the things Leslie does for those around her, it’s clear this little lady has a lot of money but where does it come from? Did Pawnee find themselves in debt due to paying their parks employees too much? Did she get her money from her missing father or privileged mother?
Today we’re taking a look at just 10 things Leslie paid for out of the goodness of her heart that proves she’s one loaded woman.
10 GALENTINE'S DAY GIFTS
Galentine's Day is the day before Valentine’s Day. It’s a day that’s dedicated to women and their gal pals. It’s also a great mini-holiday for girls who don’t have significant others. Regardless of your reasoning for celebrating, Leslie is a big supporter of Galentine’s Day.
In one special episode, we see Leslie celebrating February 13th by hosting brunch with seven of her best gal pals (Ann, Donna, April, her mom, and some random friends) where she gives them all a personalized gift for coming. Among a 5,000-word personal essay on why they’re awesome (where does she find the time?), Leslie also gave them a personal mosaic of their faces! There’s no way personal art is cheap for seven+ women.
9 CHIS TRAEGER'S BLUETOOTH WATCH
Most viewers are obsessed with the relationship between Leslie and Ben. After getting off on the wrong foot, these two were destined to be together.
When they finally decided to become exclusive publicly, Ben lost his job and Leslie was punished. Although things were tense between Chris and Leslie, she still got him a Christmas gift. Was it a gift card to his favorite health store like a normal employee gifts their boss? No. She ended up getting him a Bluetooth watch he can wear while he works out that sends his information to his computer to analyze post-workout. Talk about expensive gifts for someone who just works with you!
8 SHE DONATED $1,000 TO KEEP RECREATION CENTER CLASSES
Remember early on when Leslie was dating Ann’s friend Justin? The two didn't have much in common so Leslie decided to throw an epic dinner party to show him how dignified and worldly she was. Due to bad timing, Leslie was under some pressure regarding her dinner party and ended up hiring all of the recreation teachers (that were about to lose their jobs) to help make her party a success, which means she forked over the $1,000 donation the department needed just to keep those teachers staffed.
Donating $1,000 of your own money just to make sure your dinner party goes off without a hitch means you have money to spend.
7 SHE ALSO SPENT $1,000 IN ONE YEAR ON WAFFLES ALONE
If there’s one word fans had to use to define Leslie, it would be waffles. Leslie and waffles together equate to pure magic. And being from Pawnee, the best waffles in town are from J.J.’s Diner. We see her there on dates, business meetings, and just stopping by for a waffle pick-me-up. Heck, she may as well be the face of waffles and J.J.'s Diner.
In one episode, J.J. himself noted that Leslie was his best waffle customer, spending over $1,000 annually on waffles alone! We’re all subject to spending money on things we love, but $1,000 on waffles at a diner that probably sells them for around $6-7 is a lot of money, honey.
6 THAT REPLICA OF THE IRON THRONE FOR BEN
Leslie is such a good gift-giver that it almost becomes a competition. She even described gift-giving as a sport. People like Ben and Ann often get sick of Leslie making them look bad for getting subpar gifts when hers are always personal and from the heart.
For their anniversary, Ben decided to plan a full day of romance with Leslie but when her work kept interfering with his ideas he brought Jerry instead. To show Leslie how much she missed, he made a scrapbook detailing their “would have been” date. But what did Leslie get for Ben to show how much he means to her? An actual Iron Throne from Game of Thrones. It was massive, it was an exact replica, it was expensive AF, and Ben practically cried from happiness.
5 THE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS SHE SPENT AT THE SIGN SHOP
In season seven, we see the ins and outs of campaigning. We learn how much legwork goes into making a campaign a success and how much money it requires.
In one scene, Leslie is seen picking up banners for her campaign when we learn she spent over $100,000 on signage alone! The dollar amount was so high her credit card company even called her to see if she was okay! Who has that kind of money laying around for signage!?
4 SHE BOUGHT RON'S HONEYMOON TRIP TO SCOTLAND
When Leslie wins an award for her hard work and dedication in Pawnee, the office flies to London for the awards ceremony. While they’re across the pond, Leslie sets up a small trip for Ron as a honeymoon/wedding present.
Knowing Ron isn't a fan of Europe, we actually see him venture to Scotland where he takes trains and boats just to get to the distillery of his dreams. He had no idea where he was going, he just followed the directions given by Leslie. It’s not every day your co-worker plans something so elaborate and expensive to celebrate your nuptials. Especially knowing how indifferent Ron was about Europe in the first place! Think about how much she spent on his travel, his hotel, the actual tour...
3 ALL THE GIFTS SHE GIVES FOR HER ANNIVERSARY DAYS
Some people may call Leslie selfish but she’s anything but that when it comes to gifts. Although she steamrolls people with her ideas and dreams, she makes up for it with her awesome gifts.
She loves Ann and Ben so much that she has special days and anniversaries for most of the moments in their lives. Her gifts are always so rare and unique that the other person always looks careless in return. Leslie doesn't care, of course. All she wants to do is celebrate her relationships with people. Now, if you don’t have money to spend, you’re not gift-giving every week for multiple people.
2 SHE DIDN'T BAT AN EYE ABOUT HAVING TRIPLETS
Viewers all thought it was a joke when the doctor told Leslie and Ben they were having triplets. Twins, sure. But three babies? Leslie is one busy woman — how was she going to have the time to do all the things she loves?
While Ben was rightfully having panic attacks over having three brand new babies at the same time, Leslie didn’t even bat an eye. Ben is going through countless calculations in his head, worrying about his family’s financials while Leslie is just excited to have a big family. Call me crazy, but only wealthy people don’t worry about how they’re going to finance their children and household.
1 RON SWANSON'S BIRTHDAY DINNER
It took Leslie years to find out Ron’s actual birthday. He’s a very private guy who doesn’t want the attention on something as silly as his birthday. However, in typical Leslie fashion, she found out his birthday and threw him his perfect night: his favorite steak dinner from his favorite restaurant in Indianapolis, a comfortable leather chair, his favorite movie, and a bottle of his favorite scotch. The real kicker is Leslie even had the security guard stand outside his door (which probably took a hefty tip) and a cab waiting and ready to take him home. So, not only did she pay for the taxi but she also found a way to bring his favorite steak dinner from Indianapolis to Pawnee!