Dec 05 2007

A Christmas budget

There I was, decorating our artificial (and obviously so) Christmas tree, humming a jolly tune, when all of a sudden it hit me.

No, the tree didn’t fall over.

I realized that we haven’t set a budget for our Christmas spending. D’oh!

I’ve made a list of people I want to give to, but my husband and I haven’t established an overall budget for how much we’ll spend on gifts this year.

It’s already December 5 (20 days until Christmas!), and I figure it’s time we sit down and crunch numbers.

In the future, I hope to have part of our budget set aside to save for gifts. But this year is our first Christmas as a married (merried?) couple, and it just hasn’t come up yet.

I don’t have a final dollar figure in mind yet, but this much I know:

• Our family (and probably friends) would likely be uncomfortable if we spent a ton of money on them. They know we’re just starting out, and would probably appreciate a meaningful (but frugal) gift.

• At the same time, I don’t want to give a gift that’s just plain cheap. Know what I mean?

• We’d like to be generous, but stay within a reasonable budget.

• Homemade gifts are certainly an option; but gifts of time and service aren’t this year. Meep.

What’s the story with your Christmas gift-giving budget?

Do you have set amounts to give to each family member/kid? Does your extended family draw names out of a hat, a la “secret Santa”? Do you save a little bit each month for Christmas gifts?

Relevant posts found in my blog reader:

Visit The Digerati Life for a whole collection of Christmas-related money tips.

Wooly Woman has outlined specific goals for her Christmas saving by putting certain amounts in savings and being extra-conscious of flexible spending.

Joanna has some great ideas on low-impact (on the environment/budget) gift-giving–ideas that are sure to have a high-impact on recipients.

SAHMmy has ideas for how to maximize your Christmas budget, and smart ideas for keeping track of what you’re spending on presents.



5 Responses to “A Christmas budget”

  1. We have a gift budget that we pay into all year long- we figure out at the beginning of the year who we’re going to want to buy for for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, etc (plus unexpected gifts for babies, weddings, housewarming, etc) and approximately how much we’re going to want to spend on each. If we over-spend on birthdays early in the year, we have to cut back for Christmas. I like this because there’s no “Christmas panic” and we don’t have to diverge from our normal budget.

  2. For the first time in our twenty year marriage we saved through a Christmas Club account in the bank. (Now is the time to sign up for next year.) They automatically deduct a bit each month (or week if you prefer) and then cut you a check the first part of November.

    With my family, I only exchange gifts with my mom and sometimes my dad. I send each of my grandparents a poinsettia. With my husband’s family, we draw names (kids included) and set a $ amount (it’s $30) this year.

    This year I am trying very hard to keep my kids stuff in budget. They basically only get one thing they really want (this year there’s a wool pea coat/new Bible, an iPod nano, a digital camera and a small digital camcorder – no gift more than $150). Then I get them pajamas, slippers, clothes, socks, etc. and a few books. This year I am also making them polarfleece blankets.

    Next year I hope to do more consumable/handmade gifts for family. We all have enough stuff!!

  3. I really need to start a Christmas Club/Gift account in January! We buy for a lot of extended family,including a lot of nieces and nephews. I make a list of everyone, and write down how much I’d like to spend, then check them off the list when I’m done. I just kind of pay-as-I-shop, but it’d be nice to have the money really earmarked/set aside!

  4. My side of the family draws names, we have a big family (10 adults and 14 kids plus my mom and step dad). Each couple buys presents for another couple and 2-3 kids.
    My husband’s family is pretty low key, this year we are getting his two sister’s families each a game or something cheap, and us girls are making cookies and stuff together as presents.
    We always have intentions of buying presents through the year so that by December we have them all bought, but we never do that. So December comes and we have no money set aside and no presents bought. God always provides extra money through different things though, so we never have to skimp on presents or bills.
    This year we ARE going to either set money aside in a savings account or buy a few presents each month so we have things taken care of. I’m making sure of it.

  5. Just wanted to thank you for the mention! First time visitor here and I’m glad I found your site! My Christmas budget this year is staying about the same as last year so it’s all good.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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