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I need quick holiday spending advice!

September 30th, 2012 at 01:46 pm

Hi Guys!

I've been thinking a lot about the holidays, and I was wondering how you guys budget for gifts and holiday outings, how you handle gifts for your kids and for extended family and friends without going broke. This is a hot topic in our house this year as we try to tone down the holidays without going totally scrooge. Please share your strategies!!

9 Responses to “I need quick holiday spending advice!”

  1. Looking Forward Says:

    Homemade gifts. "Coupon" for a service (Example: one year I made a coupon for my grandparents that we would take them out for a meal and window shopping the antique stores). Small, but meaningful gifts.
    For the kids we usually have one big "Santa" gift. Maybe two from me and DH, they get lots from the rest of the family, so they get plenty.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    This year, I have been saving all year to have Christmas Funds. We buy for our girls, usually about $150 worth, includes stocking stuffers. Sometimes we send cards, sometimes we don't. I look for great deals for friends and extended family members. If a store has $10 coupon for spending $10, I try to figure who I can get a gift for using that sale. Older neices and nephews get cash, usually $15. Younger ones get a very simple gift. Parents, spend about $40-50 each. My DH generally don't exchange gifts, but when we do we set a limit. Others, are in the $15-25 range, but again, this is the value of the gift...not necessarily what I spend in the end since with sales it is often less.

    I think our overall budget is only $750.
    Good luck!

  3. Blessed Says:

    Several years back we had the talk with both sides of the family. At one time we were buying for 28 people. I really hated to be the one to bring it up but it was out of hand and taking away from what we really wanted to do with our holiday spending.

    One side of the family decided to draw names and everyone buy for the Grandparents plus who you drew so we have 6 there. A limit was set at $25 each. The other side of the family only consists of 3 people but we also set a $25 limit per person. That took us down to 9 plus 2 friends we bought for. The friends and I decided to start exchanging baking gifts instead and donate what we would have spent. Dh and I spend $150 0n each other and $150 on each kid. Christmas is much more fun without the pressure to shop for 28 people! Now it is just the people I mentioned and the kids we sponsor for the holidays.

  4. crazyliblady Says:

    When I was growing up, there were always hundreds of gifts under the tree, mostly for the kids in the family (me, my brothers, cousins, etc.). After awhile, it did seem out of hand and I actually counted that one of my cousins got a total of over 50 gifts from various family members one year when he was small. I also observed that some family seemed to appreciate homemade stuff more than store bought (like plates of cookies, muffins, pies, quilts, blankets). Now that I am older, we don't do holiday gifts in our house. However, I am guessing that gift-giving is important in your family. How about something like drawing names out of a hat at Thanksgiving? Then, set a dollar limit, whatever the group is comfortable with. That way, everyone gets to have the fun of shopping for a gift and does not go broke doing it. I personally think that holidays should be about togetherness and sharing with your family and friends and not nearly as much about gifts.

  5. snafu Says:

    I don't believe holiday spending get gift certificates or event tickets from their uncles & aunts. Our families like to participate in a lot of community/church events that are low cost or free and fun for families. Traveling can cost a lot if you fly or gather at a resort.

    Hope this is the type of info you are looking for.

  6. snafu Says:

    I'm sorry, my computer is not functioning properly.

    I was trying to say it takes a lot of cooperation with your own family and extended family to plan for the holidays. I think you and your own family need to decide what activities, events and experiences they like best. We all give the tykes gifts from Santa and see they enjoy the unwrapping and excitement of it all the most. In our family Teens get gift certificates or event tickets but it can cause friction with their parents.

    We do the extended family draw and try to have at least one component home made as that was our gran's idea and we want to carry it forward.

  7. Jerry Says:

    I do Christmas shopping all year long, because that is one thing that I find leads to some insurance of less expenses come December. We also try to keep the gifts down to a manageable number, and focus on building the holiday around the experiences, the food, the decorations, and the special meanings of the season for our family.
    Jerry

  8. ThriftoRama Says:

    Thanks guys! I just know something has to change. Last year was almost perfect. I made a real effort to make all of December a season that was about creating and giving. Me and the kids (3 and 4), made chocolate candies and cookies, and treats (and gave them as gifts), picked out gifts for foster children, went on tours of lights and to special holiday concerts. We decorated the house, and had the in-laws in for Christmas. We made a great christmas meal. It was great--except for all the presents!

    I have talked to my mom year after year about toning it down, but she doesn't get it. Or, she doesn't want to. Last year, I thought the message sunk in. She told me she had put $100 into each of the boys' college funds, and had toned it down, but she still showed up with a carload of gifts (no exaggeration) and we were opening presents until 9 p.m. and still had more.

    The drawing names and stuff, well, won't work. We are a small family. Dh is an only child, so only have to buy for his parents and his aunt; on my side, we buy for my sister and mom. For friends, we do gift bags of wine, homemade goodies, and little things we've bought on sale or at yard/estate sales. Family gift, really.

    I think we really got into a good groove last year on the activity and baking side. Now, I just have to manage Christmas morning and gifts to us and the kids. The funny thing. I read the $100 holiday and loved it. Really summed up all the points I was trying to make to my mom about the holiday. So, I got the library copy, took it to her house and asked her to read it so we could talk about it. She brings it back a week later, and I said "What do you think?" She said "What? Oh, I didn't know you wanted me to read it."

    I laughed so hard. My mom loves Christmas, and our kids are the only grandkids, so I'm guessing she just doesn't want to tone it down. She thinks I'm ruining the fun. What to do!!

    As an aside, I have done some good gifts. people have so much stuff, who needs more? Last year, one of my favorites was the gift of ladies movie night with my sister. We went to a theater with a bar and a full restaurant (all served during the movie and had so much fun we stayed for two movies in one night. That is my idea of a good gift!!)

  9. My English Castle Says:

    Love the movie night with your sister! How fun is that!

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