Christmas Gift Budgeting

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The Christmas holiday season is still some time away, but fiscally responsible families know that the sooner you start shopping for gifts, the easier it is on your budget! So what I want to know from all you Type-A Moms (and dads!) out there, do you carefully budget your holiday shopping? Do you always overspend, or do you come in under budget? Do you start shopping in January for next year’s holiday season or do you frantically try to find everything you need in mid-December?


I love to start shopping for Christmas in the fall. It’s not so early that I forget what I purchased or buy poorly sized clothes for my nieces or toys my kids don’t even want anymore come Christmas and it’s not so late I’m spending a fortunate in just one month. Not that we spend a fortune anyway, we’re on the conservative side (I think!) Each of our children gets one “big” present from us and one from Santa. They get a few small stocking stuffers and that’s pretty much it. Nieces each get something of around $25 value at most and we don’t exchange with many of the adults, other than to buy a nice gift for my grandmother and my husband’s mother. With everyone else we agree to just enjoy celebrating the holiday together, no need for pricey presents. A big dinner, an afternoon of board games or just visiting – these are the things that bring us pleasure during the holiday season.

In fact, one of the biggest parts of my holiday budget is making sure I account for extra baking supplies! I love to have enough fudge, shortbread cookies and other treats to share with family and friends. And butter, chocolate and nuts can add up pretty quickly, so I start buying extras with each grocery shopping trip starting in the fall too!

My husband and I also usually avoid buying presents for one another. Some years, if we are financially able, we buy a “family” gift, like the year we bought our Nintendo Wii. It’s a gift we all enjoy and it was expensive enough that there was no need to spend any more money.

So tell me – what are you holiday shopping habits? Do you buy for a huge list of people or keep the giving in the immediate family? Do you start buying early or late? Can’t wait to hear from you!!

*image credit Chris_J

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Avatar of Laurie MappAbout the author: lsmapp (61 Posts)


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