Pinching Pennies: How I Save On Christmas Gifts

It's April and you know what I did this last weekend? 

I finished my Christmas shopping for my family (not including my children).

That's right. 

You are probably thinking, "Hun, you have 8 more months to work on that."


But now I have 8 months of carefree bliss without having to worry about what to buy everyone, how we will afford Christmas gifts and waiting last minute running around finding the time to finish up. 

There are so many perks to buying Christmas gifts throughout the year. One of the biggest perks for me is how much money I am able to save by buying gifts the entire year rather than waiting until last minute. Here's how I do it:

  1. Budget. This is probably the most important element of saving money on Christmas gifts. I set a budget for each family member of how much we can spend. For example: Parents. We have a $20 spending limit on each one of our parents for this next year. I have that written out in the column with their name.  Secondly we budget for Christmas gifts all year long. As far as our entire budget, we set aside $75 a month out of my husband's paycheck for Christmas and birthday gifts. This budget includes Christmas for all family, each other, our children and birthday gifts for each other and our children. This comes to $900 a year. However, we save each month so that we are able to purchase throughout the year. Plus we do not have to worry about how we are going to afford Christmas come November.
  2. Buying all year long. I love to shop. Especially for others. Being able to shop throughout the year gives me a chance to shop for our family all year long which I love, but it also allows me to shop for the best deals possible. Take last year Christmas gifts for family ( 4 parents, 3 siblings, 2 nieces, 1 nephew). Everything retailed for $600. I spent $182. My budgeted amount was $240. Not only was I able to get gifts that were worth a lot more, but I stayed way under budget as well.  

For our children's gifts I am working a little more slowly on those. We use the budget and the buying all year long but this year we have decided to do three gifts each, a Santa gift and stockings. 

It's so easy to get carried away with Christmas gifts and buy, buy, buy for your kids. We noticed some of our friends had started to do a three gift minimum since Jesus received three gifts from the wise men. We had to really think it over but thought it was a very important thing for us to start with our kids while they are young. 

So this year both baby girl and B are receiving three gifts under the tree from us. 

Two traditions that were big for me growing up was Santa and stockings. So we have decided to keep both of those traditions. So our children will have one gift (unwrapped like I had when I was little) under the tree as a Santa gift and they will have their stockings filled. 

We have budgeted $150 each for three gifts, a Santa gift and stocking stuffers. Buying throughout the year allows me to buy when I find a wonderful gift at a discounted price, but with B I am making sure I wait awhile until I buy everything since at this age their favorites change so often. One day it's Elmo, the next day it's Mickey Mouse and then we are on to Dinosaur Train. You just never know! :)

Here is a detailed post of how I divide up our budget for Christmas and birthday gifts throughout the year:

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