The cost of Christmas gifts can add up very quickly, and in a down economy families must be mindful of their budget during the holiday months. When children are involved, people can sometimes be tempted to load up the credit cards in order to buy the kids certain gifts. Unfortunately, this is a strategy that people often regret when the credit card bill comes in January. If people are smart and resourceful, they can save a certain amount of money on Christmas gift. Here are a few thoughts on how to minimize the cost of gifts for kids around Christmas time.
Shop throughout the year
One way to save money on Christmas gifts is to think ahead and purchase things throughout the year. That way, people can take advantage of sales and discounts, which are not necessarily available during the holiday season. Buying throughout the year is also a good way to spread the expenditures into different months so that all the money does not land in December. Granted, people may be spending a similar amount overall, but it is often easier to swallow if it is distributed evenly.
Sometimes a good way to save money is to purchase or acquire items from friends and family members that are no longer being used and are still in good condition. This can include things like “hand-me-down” clothes, toys that have been outgrown, or bicycles that are too small. Perhaps these are not the most exciting gifts and they may not be the latest thing, but in tough financial times it can be necessary to do a bit of re-gifting. If younger children are involved, they may not know the difference.
Saving money is often about having discipline and being willing to shop around in a variety of settings. This includes physical stores but it also includes online sites that may be more competitive. Too often people will want to get their shopping done, so they grab the first thing that meets their criteria. Unfortunately, this can be rather costly, particularly if something is not on sale and very popular at the moment. Therefore, comparison shopping can help people save a bit of money if they are willing to put in some effort.
Set a limit
Finally, it may help to set a limit on the number of gifts that a child receives. This helps with “fairness” and it also creates a boundary for parents who might be tempted to acquire “just one more thing” for the child. If children know ahead of time that they will receive a fixed number of presents, then they are not disappointed by what they receive when it is time to open presents.
Overall, saving money is often about making difficult choices. Depending on the child, some kids may understand if the parents are unable to purchase a large number of gifts. While smaller gifts or a lesser number may be disappointing to some kids, it may be necessary to make these sorts of decisions, particularly if times are tough. A parent may have good intentions about making the children happy by spending a lot of money on gifts, but in the long run he or she may put the family in more financial jeopardy if practical decisions are not made.