Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
  • larindap3 Dec 1, 8:12 p.m.

    Budget, yes I try to budget, and usually stay on track, til about a week before Christmas, when hubby wants to celebrate and cook everything for Christmas dinner. I've about given up but continue to try try again. (I just paid $56 for a tie!! At least it is a frat. tie that my son is becoming a member of. He should be able to wear it f-o-r-e-v-e-r!)

  • SaveEnergyMan Dec 1, 2:22 p.m.

    For my extended family - sibling's family and parents - we draw names and spend $50-$75 on the gift. We do buy something for the children (there aren't but a few).

    For my in-laws, we make charitable donations in their names rather than buying stuff they don't need. It's still as much fun to see what was donated and we don't have to drive home with a trunk full of useless stuff! The gifts are also tax deductible!

  • Oxymoron02 Dec 1, 2:45 a.m.

    We don't spend any more money in December than we do any other month of the year, it just gets diverted from different budgetary cookie jars and spent on gifts. If I'm lucky, my husband won't dig too deep into the grocery budget (the literal cookie jar?) for gifts. Gifts are his job, so I don't complain too much.

    I would prefer to go cash only, but there are too many rewards to be had using credit. And my husband is a big boy, so it's not like I can take away his credit cards. I keep on top of it, we don't charge more than we can pay off every month, so we're not paying interest.

  • jdouglas13 Nov 30, 2:23 p.m.

    Some years we can afford to buy gifts, and we really enjoy being able to do that. Others years, not so much. This year, a $520 vet bill this month and an $800 car repair last month wiped out not only the Christmas budget, but the grocery budget for two months, the haircolor budget, and so on...

    Stockpiler that I am, we are okay for groceries. That includes ingredients for cookie baking, which has been my backup gift for the lean years, and is usually more requested than anything else. So, cookies it is this year. We still decorate the house, and always make a birthday cake in honor of my Mom's Christmas Day birthday, even though she's not here to eat it. We'll be ok. :)

  • pss3 Nov 30, 1:06 p.m.

    December is a big month for us, both DH and I have birthdays the week of Christmas. I prefer to save all year long in order to have the extra resources to spend on presents. I shop online/in-stores on Black Friday to stretch that budget even further. I also buy my son's toys from the Kids Exchange sale in July. We usually spend $500-$600 altogether on gifts for 3 boys (ages 1-4), 7 adult family members, and about 10 small gifts for friends and my son's playmates.

  • gumtickler80 Nov 30, 12:22 a.m.

    Oh, forgot to add one thing. I took a knitting class back in February. Therefore, everyone will also have a new winter scarf hand made by me. I have made 14 so far and have 1 more to go. I hope to have time to make 2 more to add in a box of items i have picked up for a young family. I try to help a little when I can, the husband/father lost his job earlier this year.

  • gumtickler80 Nov 30, 12:07 a.m.

    Having a husband who lost his job 2 years ago and is now working (out of his degree field) for slightly above minimum wage, we have been very creative the last w Christmases and this one will be no different. My siblings and mother will get a basket of canned fruits, veggies and homemade soup made form the blessings of our gardens this year. I tell them they have dinner/lunch/breakfast on me! :) My nieces, nephews and my 3 kids get a bag of items I have picked up during the year for free or little cost ( razors, lotions form Bath and Body etc.). I throw in some gift cards for my kids that have been great buys too. My husband and I celebrate our anniversary and my birthday in December too. I tease him that I get a kiss, a hug, and a Merry Christmas ( in that order) for gifts. We don't buy, just enjoy some time together!

  • cbrewer8 Nov 29, 8:37 p.m.

    We have a CD that we set up just to save for Christmas gifts. A set amount gets drafted out of our checking account each month and goes directly into the CD, which comes due in Sept. each year...just in time to start doing some Christmas shopping! That way I don't have big credit card bills to pay off in the new year! We also stick to a certain amount that we spend on each person every year, so we have no surprises!

  • meredith88 Nov 29, 8:20 p.m.

    My husband and I both come from large families so we have 24 people to buy for just within our immediate families. We have our idealistic budget of $5 per person and our realistic budget of $10 per person. Last year we ended up spending $6.50 per person and this year we are on track to spend even less :) We buy a lot from thrift stores and make a lot of gifts too. The hardest part is budgeting for each other because my husband loves to spend extra on me, but this year we set a budget of $20 for each other and have agreed to stick to it and give each other the gift of putting the rest of the money towards getting out of debt :)

  • ncveteranswife Nov 29, 5:36 p.m.

    We spend $500 on 10 family members and that is it. Everyone has everything, so we give a homemade gift and cash/gift cards. We have been doing this for years, so no leftover bills from Christmas to pay for in January!! Works perfect!!

  • jesussavesall Nov 29, 4:12 p.m.

    The good old fashioned "Christmas Club" is still alive and well at some financial institutions even if it is called by different names. Saves the holiday for me! Many are proclaiming 'cash only' as the way to go but if you use credit responsibly it is ok, esp. to protect online orders. I am using a cash back card that currently has 0% interest until July 2013 but still using my club money to pay it off as I make purchases. Please remember the less fortunate and the true reason for the season! Happy shopping.

  • heremeaj Nov 29, 3:58 p.m.

    I found out when we bought a Groupon for an activity for the kids(horseback riding) that the merchants many times will honor the Groupon price and sell you direct w/o any of the resrictions that are in the Groupon (like only a certain number of gifts or use by a certain date) so we have bought Groupons and similar deals all year long but made them work as Christmas gifts by buying direct from the merchant. Also, many people offer specials and deals on their Facebook pages so it pays to look for the places you would like to patronize and see if there is a FB special.

  • heremeaj Nov 29, 3:45 p.m.

    We are giving outings (like horseback trail rides or gymnastic lessons) to the children in our lives and letting them have experiences instead of more stuff. We are taking them to do things they would not get to do otherwise. And we are focused on how we can give instead of what we want to get. The kids love shopping for the shoebox items and talking about how blessed we are to be able to do it.

  • UNCW_Ash Nov 29, 3:20 p.m.

    This year with both kids knowing about Santa we are going with 3 gifts under the tree and the rest being "memories". We are purchasing events rather than stuff-Carowinds season passes, tickets to UNC game, Christmas at Busch Gardens, etc. We have been able to spread out the cost and use bonuses from work to cover the amount we are spending. Our kids both asked why we didn't have this idea before-they are very excited about making memories together.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Nov 29, 3:03 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your great budgeting ideas everyone! You are so right about the cost of stamps, kathrynmg.

    prisskat - I am with your mom - I count the regular cost, not what I paid after coupons and gift cards. Since many of the gifts will be $10 gift cards this year, I will really be spending $10 on them.

    Sunnyside - way to budget in those passports! I hope you have a fabulous trip and anniversary!

  • barbiedoll1967 Nov 29, 2:59 p.m.

    I did have a budget but I blew it. I've decided I'm going to do better next year. If I don't have the cash, I'm not going to get it. Plus my husband and I need to set a limit on each other and stick to it. This is crazy.

  • sunnyside Nov 29, 2:58 p.m.

    We have used a budget for years. We set aside $1000 total and the amount has not changed in a looong time. My husband is paid every two weeks - 26 times per year. We only budget two paychecks per month, so that leaves two "extra" checks per year. One covers car insurance for 4 drivers (ouch), and the other covers Christmas, with the remainder going into savings. Nothing gets charged. The budget includes everything related to the holiday - all decorating, party food, baking supplies, all gifts, etc. A pen and paper list works just fine. One side of the family draws names, the other gives to children only - both ways saves money! Whatever your total is, and however you do it, everyone should budget this big expense. We don't usually spend much on each other, but this year we splurged and got passports - our first! We've saved up for a big anniversary trip next year and decided to count the passport expense as our Christmas gift to each other. So Excited!

  • prisskat Nov 29, 2:50 p.m.

    Last year we did a "recycled" christmas. We use to give each other list and have to follow them to the T. Last year was so much fun, no pressure and no one was dissapointed. The gifts could be a funky sweater from a thrift store or great used books from out Local used book stores. I bought some stuff that I got a great deal on. Its only 5 of us. I do have a question: When you say $10 limit are you counting the Orignal price of the item or what you actually spent on it. My mom always said the original price I always counted what I spent. For friends and co workers I do home made jellies.

  • ctya Nov 29, 2:45 p.m.

    I have a total budget: everything from gifts to food I plan to cook and eating out. Anything left over will roll over to next year.

  • kathrynmg Nov 29, 2:45 p.m.

    Don't forget to factor in stamps for your Christmas card mailings in your overall budget! I tend to forget about that expense, which can really add up depending on how many cards you send.

  • jwstevens04 Nov 29, 2:35 p.m.

    First off...we went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and it made a WORLD of difference in our finances!!! We do have a budget but we also start very early because we have 2 young children. We utilize Layaway and don't put anything on credit, ever. If we can't pay cash, we don't get it. We use coupons like crazy too.

  • poeticallycorrect-InvNo1 Nov 29, 2:30 p.m.

    I always say that I am going to budget but I start shopping in January and throughout the year so it is hard to keep track of my christmas budghet. But I can say that I buy stuff when I see deals and sales and I was finished Christmas shopping in October so at least I can relax and enjoy the holidays and not stress out. I also am sending out christmas cards purchased at discount after last Christmas and I just decorated with quite a bit of Chirstmas stuff that I got for 90% off last year. I can't wait till the after Christmas sales this year!!

Oldest First