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How Many Days Until Christmas Again?

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This year, we are scaling back our Christmas spending. In the past, we’d have a general budget in mind and if we found some great deals that just meant that we could buy more gifts. Not this year. We will still have a budget in mind but if we get some great deals, we will take the money saved and put it towards our debt or stash it in our savings account.

Our overall philosophy is that gifts need to be useful and have a good lifespan to them. So many times we have purchased things for our son that were only played with a few times and then forgotten. But there have been successful purchases (mega bloks purchased years ago are still used at least every other day by our son). We will take more time to think through every purchase.

Our tentative budget? $150. I say tentative because other things may pop up. More about that tomorrow. This budget does not include purchases for Toys for Tots or anything like that. It is only for gifts for our family and friends.

It will be tight, but I think it can definitely be done. What about you? Are you scaling back holiday spending this year?


17 Comments

  • Reply Money Funk |

    Definitely scaling back. Not because of the economic times, but because like you said, “played with a few time and then forgotten”. It is not worth spending $800 or $1000 on Christmas, like we usually do.

    This year, I set a $100 budget for each child. And my daughter is actually very excited about this. She is ready to help me with the difference, from her allowance, to purchase her own Christmas gifts! lol! And my son is pretty jive with it, too.

    My family/friends are fortunate to have jobs, beable to pay their bills, and have a bit of extras. This has been a hard year for many people. So, for friends and family, it is mega baked goods (cuz who doesn’t love yummy holiday treats?) with a note/pic saying ‘a toy or meal has been donated in their name to our local adopt-a-family’. It will be heartwarming knowing we brightened some family’s Christmas. 🙂

  • Reply Sammy |

    we are also scaling back. More or less for the same reasons. My dd’s room is full of unusedtoys, some of which needs to go to charity.

    Buying useful/long-life things is a good idea and should be the basis for most of one’s purchases in any case.

  • Reply Amber C |

    We are also scaling back. I called my sister last week and said no more of this exhanging gifts with the adults. I will probably save about $300 just with that phone call.

    I have a $1000 budget but now will probably only spend about $600.

  • Reply Mark |

    Last year my kids decided what they wanted for Xmas and I laughed. Then my youngest son age 9 decided to go through all his toys and find the original boxes and asked me to put them on eBay for him.

    My two other children decided not to be left and did the same. We put all their toys and clothes on eBay and believe it or not they actually got £934 and I took the money and bought them each a psp with games for £621. They then shared the balance between them and had a great Xmas and it cost me the listing costs only. What a result! I’m
    ‘m going to try it again this year, fingers crossed

  • Reply Danielle |

    I am baking cookies for everyone. I have too many people I want to give to, and everyone raves about my cookies anyway. My parents will probably get a lot of little stuff that looks like a lot. I never really get into Christmas that much.

  • Reply dana |

    We will be spending less mainly because of economic reasons. I hope to get away with spending less than $200. My son is in college and has asked for clothes and a Monopoly game. I will purchase on line and receive rebates and discounts.

  • Reply Thankful |

    We’re scaling back, just finished the gift budget yesterday. We have 12 family members to buy for, so it feels like I’ve assigned only a pittance to each for a gift, but I’m going to have to make it work. We’re giving a LOT of prints of photos from 2008, so hopefully I can make the presents special. Including family, secret santa gifts for work, and holiday tips, we’ll hopefully come in right under $250, which still seems like so much money. I’m hoping to work coupon code and sales magic. Any leftover will probably go to debt. We don’t have kids, and only two people to tip (mailman and sanitation). Guess we’re going to skip husband/wife presents AGAIN this year…

  • Reply Danielle |

    Re: Husband wife gifts. If you share a checking account, there really is no point to this. Best gift you can give your spouse is to not gripe when they want to do something they want to do. That, or you can make up for it in the bedroom.

  • Reply Thankful |

    Glad we’re not the only ones who skip husband/wife gifts. We actually haven’t gotten each other gifts since 2005, and our “gifts” that year were buying our wedding rings. But as Danielle pointed out, sharing a checking account does crimp gift giving on a tight budget. I’d probably throw a fit if my husband bought something extravagant. On one hand, I think it’s kind of sad the the only person I don’t buy a present for is really the most important. But we joke that our present to each other is a little bit of financial peace.
    We try to make it up during the rest of the year with small surprises. For our anniversary, he picked a rose of the bush in our front lawn and tied it to a bottle of wine with a note. It was an awesome gift because (1) I had no idea he knew where I kept the gift wrap and ribbon that he tied the flower on with and (2) the bottle of wine, while less than $20, was a particular year and varietal that I had out in Napa last year for a wedding and really loved. Him remembering that was present enough.

  • Reply Craig |

    I think you always have to be cautious about holiday spending because impulse buys are huge and it can get out of control quickly. Either way the key is to be patient. I think just like last year, you will see a lot of great and extended holiday deals to entice people to go shopping. Stick to what you know you want to get and you will be able to find great savings.

    Craig
    http://www.budgetpulse.com

  • Reply Mike |

    Bucking the trend, we’re increasing our budget…

    The normal gifts will be the same budget as last year, but we’re adding gift certificates to Kiva….

  • Reply Erin |

    I am actually prolly spending atleast the same or more this year. I live with my parents so i dont have a lot of bills ( im only 22 ) and i am making the most money that ive ever made before, I havent really determind a budget yet but i think it will prolly be around $300-400

  • Reply Stephanie |

    Wow, I didn’t know Christmas could be “done” with just $250! I think we may have set our budget too high this year. We set it at $1000. We spend about $125 on each other (this was considered a sacrifice after last year’s spending!). Then the rest is all family and friends. I was just looking at my 2009 Christmas savings plan and, now that we’ll have a baby and I’ll be working part-time only, I think I’ll slash it to $500. I wasn’t sure it could be done, but I see that you all are doing it for around $250 – 300.

    What type of gifts are affordable when using your budget? Some ideas would be great 🙂

    Thanks!

  • Reply Thankful |

    Stephanie, we’re giving some thoughtful books to a couple of people on the list, and a moleskine journal and a package of nice pens to one person. For my sister-in-law, who just got married this year, we’re giving her personal calling cards with her new name. I pick up nice holiday housewares for my mother-in-law every year from TJ Maxx or the like (we went over for dinner on Sunday, and she had out the two bowls I gave her 5 years ago–I think they were $14 with tax and she LOVES them). The key is to not just be cheap for the sake of being cheap. We buy a lot of simple, inexpensive, functional things.
    But mostly we’ll be giving printouts of photos from various events throughout the year. None of the older adults ever print out the pics from online sites, and I’ll be sending a personal letter with each batch. It took me about a week to come up with an inexpensive gift for each person. I basically made the list of people, assigned an amount to each and figured out something to make it work within that amount.
    For friends and coworkers, you might consider doing something like a cookie-fixings jar–you can buy a whole bunch of mason jars, fill them with the dry ingredients for cookies, attach a recipe and note with ribbon, and voila! They look cool because the dry ingredients are layered, and you don’t even need to be a good cook to get them done.

So, what do you think ?