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Gifts, gifts, gifts, Oh My!!

March 17th, 2013 at 04:55 pm

I am interested in your thoughts on the high price of gift giving and/or how much you budget for gifts.

It's funny, but I never really realized how much certain things cost until we started this spending plan two months ago. For instance, I always thought the gift category in our budget would be rather small.

Boy, was I ever wrong!! Although in my "fantasy" spending plan, not including Christmas, we would spend about $1,200 a year on gifts or $100 a month, for the past two months we have spent a WHOPPING $483.28!!

Walmart cards...$8.52
Victoria's Secret...$54 (girlfriend gift)
Victoria's Secret...$102 (son's fiance's bday gift)
Dick's Sporting Goods $161.96 (son's fiance's bridal shower - outdoor wear, go figure)
Target $117.00 (add'l wedding gift for son - after giving him $5K for wedding gift a couple of months ago!)
Cash...$100 (friend's daughter getting married)

Admittedly, since my youngest son is getting married, we had lots of gift expenses, but we have a MAJOR family bday month coming in April w lots of bdays...mine, hubby's, son's.

We will try to stay at $100 for son's gift and this year we will LIMIT our spousal gifts to $100 each.

In my previous financial haze period, GIFTS as a spending category was never really even on my radar screen. I now have learned two things about them:

1) Gifts cost much more than you think.
2) Buying gifts for others IS an investment in relationships so maybe it IS a worthwhile investment...much more so than buying myself yet another handbag.

ALSO, it seems there is ALWAYS an event which comes up and takes more money than you think. For example, at the end of March I am flying to Nashville to help my older son move to KC which is closer to home. To do that I will have more expenses than in my standard budget...already paid for flight, but hotel room, meals out during the move, new comforter I plan to buy for son's new place. There seems always to be a reason to spend money.

Once good thing, though. I now realize that these other things take so much money that maybe I don't need to SPEND my clothing allowance. Maybe there are better uses I have for that money right now. In fact, I have spent nothing on clothing in two months due to these other expenditures.

Gifts, who knew?

Do you all out there find gifts to be a pricey area? About how much do you spend? And, do you have any ways to keep it more reasonable or do you just accept it?

3 Responses to “Gifts, gifts, gifts, Oh My!!”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    Gifts are a big part of my budget, also. I have never really figured out how to pare it down!

  2. JulieAlbright Says:

    My planned gift giving budget (birthdays, anniversary, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc etc) is $1800 a year. We have a savings account at ING which I have titled Gift Giving and Vacation. Right now I'm saving $200 a month to it from our paychecks and then when we get extra amounts (bonus money, dividends etc) we save some of that to the account. We don't have a large vacation planned for this year but I'm hoping next year to be able to save more toward one. My husband racks up free flights and hotel nights through his work travel and we use those to take a lot of 3 day weekend type of trips.

    For Christmas (the Holidays) I earn Swagbucks all year and cash them out for the $5 gift cards. That is the start of my Christmas budget. There is always an "extra paycheck" month around the end of the year which covers the rest of it.

  3. Jerry Says:

    We just finished a rather lengthy period of "imposed financial austerity" because I was finishing school, and that has lead our gift giving to be at a near minimum for quite a while. In some ways I felt bad about it, but it also could not be helped... we were totally scraping by for four years! It did lead to some insurance against heavy spending on gifts, though, so I guess that was good. Hopefully now that work is beginning we will be able to add in some gift giving, while keeping frugal (but creative) at the same time.
    Jerry

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