When it comes to how much money you should spend on Christmas gifts, it really is a personal question with no concrete answer.
You could ask a thousand people this question and end up with a thousand different answers. Some people may tell you that you only have to spend $5 on a gift while others may tell you that $100 is more appropriate.
Since, there really is no right or wrong answer, I’m going to share my opinion when it comes to spending money on Christmas gifts.
Make a Christmas Gift Budget and Stick To It
Making a budget for Christmas shopping was one of the best things I ever did. I started doing this once my kids were born years ago and ever year I change my budget depending on how much money we have that year as well as who we need to buy gifts for.
The first thing you need to do is to figure out how much money you want to spend or in my personal opinion find out how much you can afford to spend without having to go in debt or not be able to pay the bills.
I don’t believe in going into debt for Christmas gifts. This is why I start planning my budget early, usually in the early summer months, so I can start saving money then and not have to worry about where I am going to get money from to pay for the gifts.
When it comes to making your actual budget, you can go month by month and see how much extra money you may have left over each month and then put it towards your gift fund. Or, if you know that you will be getting a bonus or some type of extra check during the year, you can choose to save that for your gifts. Probably the worse thing you can do is to wait until the middle of December to see how much money you may have for Christmas gifts.
Once you have determined how much money you have to spend, make a list of everyone you are going to buy Christmas gifts for. Be sure to include family and friends as well as other gifts you may buy for people such as teachers, mail delivery person, coworkers, and I even include one or two “unexpected” gifts that may arise.
The next thing I do is I take a look at the list and try to divide it out according to max amounts I am going to spend on gifts without going over my budget.
For example, I have 4 kids, so I may put aside $150 for each kid, but for someone like my brother and sister-in-law I may only put down $25 for a Christmas gift.
Where you get your spending limits from will determine on any pre-set spending amounts that you have with your family as well as what your budget is for the year.
Once you have a good idea of what each gift is cost and you have your total budget you can have a little wiggle room in that you may not spend the whole $50 for your parent’s gift so you may be able to go over $5 for another person’s gift if you find something that you can’t pass up. My goal is to never be more than $15 over my total Christmas gift budget.
One last piece of advice, is that no matter what your budget is, whether it is only $100 or $1,000, it really is the thought that counts. Try not to get too caught up in spending tons of money on gifts but instead concentrate on the real reason behind Christmas.