This time of year I regularly get questions such as, “what should I spend on Christmas?” “How much should I budget for Christmas gifts?” and the kicker, “How much should I spend on my kids for Christmas?“. Truth: those are dang hard questions to answer. BUT…I take pride in being the resident “I’ll talk about things people really don’t want to talk about” mama, so here I am to do my best!
A few years ago I did a big 3-part post series talking about how much I recommend spending/budgeting for Christmas. I thought it was time to freshen it up and repost, to help give us all some guidelines for “safe spending” this year! While I focus mostly on gifts for our Children (since that tends to be our greatest Christmas expense), these concepts really can apply to any of us, in any situation.
I’m sure we can all agree that the true meaning of Christmas doesn’t involve gifts. Amen to that. BUT…I’m sure we can also agree that gifts are part of what makes Christmas so magical! I mean, we are human, aren’t we? Here are a few ideas that will hopefully help us from going overboard this year, especially for those whom we love to spoil the most…our kids.
I mean, come on, how can we NOT spoil these cute sonofaguns??
After writing this post I decided to break it into 3 parts so it doesn’t give you a headache trying to read it all in one sitting! So be sure to check out Part II (coming tomorrow) which is about helping us figure out why we shop the way we do, and Part III (coming Sunday or Monday) with actual numbers and budget guidelines.
Now, onto part 1!
How much to spend on your kids for Christmas: Part I
Before you even ask your kids to make a Christmas list, you fist need to:
Decide how much you can afford for Christmas.
Put a number to it. Look at your income, savings, and financial situation. Look at how much you have leftover at the end of the month. You will probably need to be setting aside for several months prior to Christmas, just FYI. We keep that money in our “family regular savings”. If you can afford $1000 this year, then decide if that’s what you want to spend $1000 on. If it’s $300, there you go. Many of us spend without keeping track. But when you stop and add it up, you might say “$2500 for Christmas? Heck, we could redo our kitchen floor for that! Honey, we’re cuttin’ back this year!”. Decide this first, then you work backwards from there and everything will be much, much, much easier.