How much should you spend on Christmas gifts? Now that’s the big yearly question, isn’t it.
I love Christmas. LOVE!!!! And honestly, what I love most about it isn’t getting a bunch of stuff, or all the holiday parties, or even being able to stuff my face for a few days straight without any judgement — it’s seeing my family’s faces as they open the gifts I got them on Christmas morning.
I wasn’t always able to afford gifts for my family for Christmas. Throughout high school and university I either made or baked gifts for everyone because I was just too broke to even afford $20 per person.
Now that I work full-time and have a few side hustles on the go, I do kind of take advantage of this time of year to spoil the people I love.
Of course, when I say spoil I’m not spending $1600 on everybody like the national average. Maybe that number isn’t so crazy when you factor in kids, but since I’ve only got 5 adults to buy for, that’s a bit crazy for me.
Over the past few years, I’ve been sticking to a budget of about $100 per person. I feel like you can get a pretty nice gift with that kind of money, and so far I haven’t really struggled to stay within that budget.
I do however save quite a bit of money by not buying gifts for friends, but I honestly think everyone benefits from that. I’m fine with a gift exchange in which you only have to buy one gift for someone, but if I was to buy a present for every one of my friends, I’d definitely be spending all the cash I’d get for Christmas to payoff my maxed out credit card.
Last year, I actually did pretty well in sticking to my budget. I spent just over $500 total, which included my parents, two sisters and my boyfriend. And that also includes additional gifts for my sister and mom for their birthdays, which happen just before and after the holidays.
I was able to stick to my budget by shopping early in October and November, buying things online and signing up to a few e-newsletters to help me track stores’ sales. Unfortunately, this Christmas I know I won’t have as much free time to be really thorough in my deal finding. With planning an upcoming wedding and a backpacking trip to Thailand, I kind of just want to buy the gifts and be done with it.
I’ll probably be doing most of my shopping online this year, because honestly it’s just more convenient. I found signing up to some of e-newsletters last year to be very helpful in scoring free shipping or getting some extra discounts exclusive to subscribers.
But I’ve also just recently discovered (fine it was my little sister who told me about it) a site called Asos that has free shipping worldwide and a large variety of cheap clothes and purses. I really wanted to get into using Piperlime, but I found the shipping and duty fees were just outrageous.
It sure can be frustrating being Canadian, while the U.S. has so many awesome retail websites we can’t access. But I’m going to try my best and hopefully spend even less than I did last year (fingers crossed!).
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The first step in getting your finances right is starting a budget. I've been using mine for over 6 years, so why don't you give it a try!