Christmas. The ultimate wallet-drainer. Fund-sapper. Broke-maker. You either have to save for months ahead of time or throw everything on credit and pay it off for the next year. It’s a difficult time, especially this year for a lot of people.
My side of the family is all pretty tight on funds this year, so for the first time ever, we exchanged names and are all only buying one gift. We increased the per-gift budget, but we’ll be saving about $300 in the end.
We also pared down our budget for the girls. Last year got out of hand with Eirinn (poor Avery was still at the stage where you could wrap an empty box and she wouldn’t have known the difference). She was two and got a portable DVD player, for Pete’s sake.
This year I think we’re spending about half on them, total. Between getting one bigger present for the two of them to share, instead of a big one each, and I haven’t spent full price on anything (BOGO’s and 50% off’s at Toys R Us and the standard Winners’ discount). Plus I’m putting larger sized things into the stockings, as opposed to a million little things.
Some of the stuff I’ve bought is stuff I had to get anyway, I’m just wrapping it up and pretending it’s a present (beach towels for a trip we’re taking, plate & bowl sets that we were running low on, etc.) I can almost not count those because I would have to buy them anyway, whether they were a gift or not.
Don’t get me wrong, they will still get their fair share of Barbie’s and Moxie Girls and baby dolls, but more like one each instead of one in every colour, which is usually my style (I did, however, have to get an entire collection of board books for Avery, but I got them at half price at Winners, so it was basically like I bought 2 books instead of 4, right?)
I think AH are forgoing large gifts for each other in lieu of saving for a tv that we’ll purchase at an enormous discount (fingers crossed) during the Boxing Day sales.
Another technique for spending less, or at least presenting the illusion of spending less, is that I’ve stretched my spending over a few months. Twenty dollars or so a week is a lot easier to stomach than $1000 dropped at once.
I’m still spending a ton overall, I’m a Christmas nut who likes to give even more than receive, but I’m slowly getting it under control and being more sensible with what I’m buying.
What are you doing, if anything, to make Christmas easier on the budget? Are you crafty and making gifts? Paring down your spending? Cutting people off of your gift-giving lists?
After I wrote all this, I did a mental inventory of the girls’ gifts.
They’re getting a wooden train set with a table to share, a movie each with a matching teddy bear (Snow White and Tinkerbell), a stack of books, two outfits, plate/bowl set, a Barbie car w/ two Barbie’s for Eirinn and a coordinating Barbie for Avery, a Moxie Girl for Eirinn and a present-yet-to-be-bought for Avery (the only thing I have left to get for them). And that’s not counting their stockings, which are about half full of beach towels, train conductor sets, two tree ornaments each, and more books.
Post re-titled “Do As I Say I Do, Not As I Actually Do, Because I’m A Dirty Lying Liar McLyington With Spoiled Kids And An Empty Bank Account.”
I guess I suck at self-restraint.