Here’s a radical idea to keep your gift budget under control. Don’t give all the gifts! If you’ve overdone it for someone, just put one of two of those gifts aside for their birthday.
I keep a list of all the gifts I buy during the year for Christmas. I keep checking my list (yes, I’m the Santa at our house) to make sure that I’m giving equally to my grown kids. I keep track of what I paid for the item and what the original cost was–I buy on sale about 2/3 of the time. I try to keep the number of gifts the same too. I guess it’s from years of doing this when our kids were young.
Then there are the grandchildren, my weakness. I try to not spend too much on them, but invariably I do. I keep finding great gifts for them and they have their wish lists too. The solution? I keep back a few of the gifts that were not on their wish lists and give them for their birthdays instead. Sometimes I do that for our grown kids and their spouses also. It’s a good feeling to have those birthday gifts already bought and tucked away in the gift closet.
So if you blew your gift budget and you don’t know what to do, be ruthless! Put those gifts away for birthdays or other occasions. You will keep your costs down and still be able to give the gifts.
Now are you ready to get really radical? Think about taking back some of the gifts that put you over budget. Get your money back before it goes on sale. I told you it was radical. Your choice. Now that you are sure I’m Scrooge, do some serious thinking about what you really want to spend on gifts for next year.
I don’t expect anyone to actually take gifts back to the stores as our giving spirit overwhelms us this time of year. However that’s just the problem. How can we ever change our spending habits unless we find a way to allow a sensible budget to keep the emotions in check? Our generous tendencies and wanting to put a smile on someone’s face lead us down the garden path. I’m open to suggestions!