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Plan On a Great Christmas

by Don Current on November 19, 2010

Christmas Presents

Photo courtesy Diana

Today I talked with a reporter from the Daily Journal. He wanted to find out more about how my family handles budgeting for Christmas. I talked to him about how we set a budget at the beginning of the year for gifts and we set a little aside from every paycheck throughout the year. We have a set amount that we spend on each person.

In addition to having a strict budget, my wife Dyan keeps a list of what people want as gifts. As the kids or I mention various things throughout the year, she adds these to her list. I keep a pretty extensive list on Amazon(affiliate link) as well since there are a ton of books I want to read.

As the year progresses, she picks up things as she sees them that various family members might like and saves them for birthdays or Christmas. As the time begins to get closer, she and I will usually sit down at the computer and begin researching, primarily with Amazon and Ebay, to try and find the best price for the items we are seeking. This allows us to get the absolute best price we can rather than heading out to the malls and grabbing the item at whatever store we happen to be at.

The thing that probably makes the biggest difference in the number of gifts we receive is the fact that none of us mind getting used items as gifts. Of course we always make sure they are still in nice condition. The kids understand that if there is a set budget for their gifts, they’ll get more gifts if we buy used items at a fraction of the new cost. None of us have any problems with that!

So to really sum it up, it’s all about planning. We plan how much to spend. We plan what to buy. We plan plenty of time to allow research and shipping. All of these plans allow us to get the most bang for our buck, and gives everyone a great Christmas.

What kind of tips do you have for Christmas spending?

  • Momthequilter

    We start planning early, and it really helps when “used” is acceptable (it’s still new to me or my kids). We get many books from Half.com as well. We also set a low (less than $10) limit on nieces and nephews; fortunately, my sister’s family agrees. Even though it’s only for four kids each, it still saves us a lot. Her husband’s family used to have an exchange at $25 per child. Ouch.

    • http://www.currentfinances.com Don Current

      How we handle relatives varies from year to year depending on who is around. My brother and my sister both live in other parts of the world, so we don’t have to worry about gift giving there. When they do happen to be in the country, we draw names for the adults. We all buy gifts for the kids though since it has much more meaning for them. Dyan’s brother and sister live in Oregon, so we usually don’t see them for Christmas either.

      I’ll have to check out Half.com and see how it compares to Amazon for books.