Kids, family and extended family; when you shop for everyone, it is easy to break your budget on holiday gifts. The financial strain of holiday shopping causes more stress to people than anything, but there are some things everybody can do to cut back on expenses and relieve the stress. Simple things like toning down the gifts for the kids and making creative gifts for friends and extended family will make your expected Christmas cash last much longer; the same with your sanity.
How Many Toys Do Kids Really Need?
Before you go out holiday shopping for the kids, make a list. Your list should include what your kids need, not just what they want but what they need. All kids want toys they already have. There are boys who constantly want a new Lego set or a new video game that is exactly like the one they got last year. While they may want one of these things really bad, how many Legos do they really need? If their room is overflowing with Legos, then they don't really need any more. Kids should get toys that they will cherish for the entire year, not just something they are going to play with for an hour and then throw aside. The best way to keep kids, and your budget, happy during the holidays is simple; buy one big “Santa” gift; this should be something that they really do want but also something that they don't already have. You may need to get creative and really bug them to find out what their new interests are or what they want to explore. Then you can buy some less expensive gifts that should go along with the big one. For instance, if they got a new iPod for the big present, then buy them an iTunes card for another present. Of course, pajamas and clothes are always things that kids need and the holidays are the perfect time to get them.
If you have a large extended family, pick a day when everyone is together and draw names out of a hat to see who shops for whom. This way, every person only shops for one person, instead of 20. This allows you to save money by limiting your shopping. The hat draw method can be done in a few different ways. The first way is a sort of secret Santa where one person notes who picked who and only those two people know. The other way is basic general knowledge of who drew who's name. This is a great way for all extended families to budget their holiday expenses while making sure everybody gets a present.
There are many ways to make your own presents; your kids may not enjoy these but they work great for friends, extended family and coworkers. One of the most popular homemade gifts are cookies in a jar or hot chocolate in a jar. All you need to do is buy the basic ingredients and then put them all into a jar. Recipes for these gifts are abundant online; they are very simple to make, and yummy to eat too.
The holiday shopping season does not need to break your budget. There are many things you can do to streamline expenditures while making sure that everybody is satisfied and nobody is left out. This creates a happy holiday for those around you because not only are they getting the presents they want, they are also getting you with much less stress.