Machiavelli's rule number 670,979,843,101: Don't be generous. It's not worth it.
We know you want to seem awesome and have everyone think that you're the best ruler ever, but seriously, don't. You will waste all of your money and your people will hate you because you have to raise taxes.
Funnily enough, you can seem generous by not spending any money because everyone will be happy that you didn't tax them.
Old Niccolò likes to back up his claims with examples, if you haven't noticed already. This time, he says it worked out for Pope Julius II, The King of France, and the King of Spain, so it can work for you! (And he'll even sell it to you for only 3 easy payments of $29.99.)
Anyway, if people are upset with you for not giving them presents, ignore them. Oh, unless it's other people's stuff. If it's other people's stuff (i.e., you pillaged some other country) then feel free to throw money everywhere. Actually you have to. Otherwise, everyone will hate you, and that means that they might rebel against you.