OH I can relate to the hardness of not giving the gifts early. I love giving gifts, so like you, I pick up things all year and then stash them - the hard part is not to spill and give through the year. I agree with you, doing it this way does keep it off the cards and keeps one using cash. Which is much better for your overall debt load.
This year, I have been buying gifts as I find them (and have cash available). I started in July and have a stash of the things. This may not lower the total I spend, but it will keep it off of credit cards. The hard part is wanting to give the things to them now.
Your approach to gift giving is very heart- felt and lovely. I love the creativity and the thoughts behind all the gifts. I've also done that with babysitting. I made up certificates for my "nieces" (bff's daughter and daughter'n'law) and put in the cards, they were thrilled. I agree that Christmas is about celebration, not how much money goes into gifts and gift giving. I've grown up with a budget on gifts, and still stick to it. I admit it does make it easier when it's already been part of the family for decades.
I have cut my gift list drastically over the past few years. My family decided that it was being together that matters and we put most of the gift giving on the kids. I don't have any children so I mainly give gifts to my parents, my brother and his wife (as a couple) and their 3 children. My nephews and niece are all under the age of 10 and are very easy to shop for. I live over a thousand miles away from them so I primarily do gift cards and I make all of my cards. My husband and I mainly give one gift to each other and love doing stockings for each other. I love filling my husband's stocking with all kinds of things that I know he loves. Candy is not the only thing that goes into the stocking either. We love to get creative. Sometimes I make homemade things for friends and other relatives. Most people love the cookies I bake, or when I make my mother's cranberry bread. Sometimes in the past my friends have loved the fact that I offer to babysit their kids for a few hours so they can have some time to themselves. I never use credit cards for Christmas....in all honesty I have not touched a credit card in years for anything and I never have regretted that decision. Gift giving does not always have to be about buying things. I think it is the thought that counts and I personally appreciate anything that is given to me especially when I know that someone took the time and put some thought into it.
It's that time of year again, how are folks doing with gift giving, upcoming Christmas spending and debt reduction. I already purchased two gifts, as I was on vacation and found unique gifts on sale. The difficulty is not giving them too early, as I love giving gifts and find it hard to hold until Christmas. I'm also saving up for Christmas spending, not that I spend much but it's nice to have the "extra" to spend rather than dip into the existing budget.
HI, I didn't read any Spark blog about Christmas spending. I agree with your comment about "if you don't have it, don't spend it". I hear far too often from those around me that they "can't" afford Christmas. Christmas isn't about the money, it's not about the gifts and it shouldn't cost you over the next year in credit card debt. I remember one year I gave a gift of time to the "children" in my life. My friend's daughter and daughter'n'law both had small children and I gave them babysitting gift certificates. I made a homemade gift certificate, put on the amount of babysitting sessions (4) and that it had to be used by the end of the year. They were thrilled with the gift. Christmas is a good time to be creative.
Sounds like you have a good plan with the savings account. I have a tax free savings account and due to financial stuff this past year, I had to dip into it a few times. I don't save much, only $50/month but if I can actually leave it alone it will eventually add up. I think that's a good plan to have a way of saving all year so that you dont' go broke over the holidays.
I admit that I only skimmed it. There seemed to be good ideas there but I would have liked to see a little plainer talk and spell it out a bit clearer...avoid debt by only paying cash...if you don't have it (the $$$) then don't spend it.
The article also talked about having a Christmas budget but I don't think it covered where to get the money for the budget. I have a Christmas account with my credit union that automatically takes whatever amount I set out of my checking each month and puts it in a savings account that becomes available in November (or unless I physically go to the bank and request access to the money).
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