Holiday Gifts…What’s Your Spending Rule?: Insights from the Credit Union
The bright lights, cheery music, and busy planning can put anyone in a “holiday haze”. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the feel-good holiday season, and lose sight of the buckle tightening around our wallets. How do you determine the price tag for spending on family and friends during the holiday season? And how do you stick to it?
We asked around the credit union for insider thoughts, tips, and tricks to keeping holiday spending in check.
Exact dollar amount or round it out?
Everyone does it differently.
What’s your typical budget or spending rule during the holiday season?
While some may stick to a specific number for their spending…
“Friends and family will have different budgets. My budget has been $500 for my family as long as I can remember. My friends and I set up a $25 limit.” –Pamela L.
“We have a $50 limit to spend on each of our parents, with a $25 limit on our siblings. And we talk about it with our family, so everyone knows we have a budget.” –Kayleigh W.
“My family’s budget is a flat $600 for gifts. I know we can budget that amount appropriately, and it encourages us to be as meaningful as we can with our holiday shopping.”-Nikki L.
Others will develop a system for their holiday budgeting…
“Our family rule of thumb is: Don’t spend more than can be paid off within two payment cycles. And don’t dip into savings for holiday gifts.” –Harrison R.
“My spouse and I set money aside from every paycheck to spend on things like vacations and Christmas. As the holidays approach, we decide how much we are going to spend on gifts.” –Michelle K.
“We pull names for gift giving and don’t spend more than what’s in our Christmas savings.”—Danita R.
(Wait a second, didn’t we just talk about not pulling from a savings account to buy holiday gifts? Yes. But, Danita is talking about a holiday savings account. It’s a great way to save all year long for special occasion spending.)
“When it comes to holiday spending, we assess our finances a few months earlier, create a budget, and save a little from each pay period. We have a large family, so this helps me start buying and wrapping gifts early. We also take advantage of gift cards or special coupons to help offset some expenses.” –Lorna A.
“The biggest priority is to have a few gifts for each grandchild to open, so I shop throughout the year to make sure I’m finding exactly what they want and not go into any debt.” –Jamie G.
“There’s no special dollar amount, but each member of my family receives three gifts: a book to read, something to wear, and an item from his/her ‘wish list’.”—Linda B.
“My only holiday gift spending rule is ‘Never borrow money to buy gifts’.” –Jeff S.
What about friends versus family? Do you spend the same amount on family and friends equally for holiday gifts?
“Typically yes, we spend about the same amount on all of the adults in our lives. However we do spend more on the children in our family because we feel the gift part of the holidays is more about them.” –Lorna A.
“Yes, we try to keep the budget around the same amount.” –Michelle K.
“I always spend more on my grandkids, but the amount may vary based on their ages or what they like that year. When it comes to the adults, we do try to spend the same amount on each person.” –Jamie G.
“We always spend more on family and typically don’t buy gifts for friends, unless we go to a gift exchange party. And since we attend two or three gift exchanges per year, we’re okay with that.” –Harrison R.
“No, it’s on to spoiling the grandbaby.” –Patty R.
Here are the key takeaways from our credit union insiders:
1. Knowing how much you want to spend for the holidays doesn’t have to stop you from purchasing meaningful gifts-or spending different amounts on friends and family.
2. It’s okay to tell your loved ones what your budget looks like. No one wants to go broke or be in an enormous amount of debt because of the holiday season.
3. Planning ahead of time can mean a big difference to your wallet!
After you’ve taken these tips home with you, put it into practice and read our post 6 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Gifts to learn more about saving money during the holiday season.