We buy gifts for 6 children as well as some members of our extended family. I also like to include the boys’ school teachers and church leaders. With every gift, the money is spread thinner. Every gift we buy at Christmas has been budgeted for and is done with cash. We never ever use credit cards or debit cards. When Christmas is over it is really over, meaning we don’t pay for it the rest of the year with credit. This makes giving gifts even more rewarding as we aren’t cringing on the inside wondering how we will pay our enormous credit bill in the months to come.
Here are 10 tips that I implement to help me stay on my Christmas budget:
10- Make a budget, and reward yourself (Starbucks stop 🙂 for not exceeding it.
9- Take advantage of after Christmas sales to stock up on gifts for the next year
8- Adapt a system for gifts, I have friends that only buy their children 3 gifts that represent the three gifts that were given to Jesus by the wise men. Some families also use the gift giving philosophy of want, need, wear, read (one gift for each category)
7- Remember to include a limit for everything (teacher gifts, stocking stuffers, gift cards, hostess gifts, even food). Nothing like a last minute stop at the store to ruin the budget.
6-It may not always work for every child to have the same monetary limit, we vary the budget every year based on age and the gift.
5-Implement a lottery system when buying for large extended family (pick numbers and every family buys one gift instead of many)
4- Withdraw your budget money and keep it in cash envelopes (every category has their own envelope), and then leave your credit cards at home
3- Buy when an item is on sale and put it away.
2- Look for stores that use layaway programs, and use them!
1- Make Christmas more about traditions than gifts. The meaning beyond the holiday and the time spent together is what your family will remember.
Guest post from Christina Lang
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