Dreaming of an easy-buy Christmas

So I have been thinking about Christmas, because my son’s birthday is coming up at the end of November, and this makes me think about what we will get him at Christmas vs his birthday.

At least I have a present in mind for his birthday – it’s a little vehicle dashboard, with a rolling display of the road, steering wheel, gears and all the appropriate bells and whistles. Best of all, it’s only $24.95 (I found this out after I decided to buy it as his major gift – I thought it would be more). I don’t really buy into the need to pay more than that though. I know he’ll love it and I’ll probably wrap up a few little extras like a bubble wand and a hand puppet, to have a couple of extras on hand to unwrap. But he’s only 2 years old and he’ll get a truckload of things from my family, so he certainly won’t go without.

My father-in-law likes to halve his gift of $50 so that some goes in an investment and half goes towards a gift. However, we haven’t figured out the best way to put money away for our children yet, so we are just putting money like this in a high-interest savings account for now.

My exams finish on my son’s birthday so I will be a lot less stressed and we will have a lovely afternoon sitting under the trees and enjoying each other’s company. I might even decorate a sponge cake if I get time.

As for Christmas, I’m not sure what we will buy my son, but I do have the budget planned. We run a bill-paying account through the year. Each week we put a certain amount away, based on our calculated spend in a range of areas (medical, Christmas, insurance, utilities, registrations etc). Each year I allocate $1000 from the billpaying account for presents, food, postage etc. This is a little more than we end up spending, but as I’m the only child from my family who contributes to the expenses my mum incurs to hold Christmas each year, it’s nice to have a cushion. There is also the fact that New Year runs close behind, and this usually means buying snack food, champagne etc. This all comes out of the same money.

We usually spend $20 on each of the children in the extended family (8), buy a nice bottle of wine for hubby’s brother-in-law and his wife ($40), and swap a Secret Santa gift with the adults on the other side of the family. Of course, we usually buy something nice for each other too, and since we are usually pretty good with our budgets throughout the year, we have a pretty generous maximum amount we’re allowed to spend on each other.

Anyway, I always find it so much easier leading into Christmas knowing we will have the cash available by the time it rolls around, and it means that – even though at times I’ve managed to rack up credit card debt, when the January credit card statement rolls around each year, I’ve never had to shreik in horror because of over-spending on Christmas.

PS: If $1000 (Australian) sounds expensive (it did to me!) and you have never added up all the little costs of Christmas (including gift wrap, cards, groceries, work Secret santa gifts, Christmas functions, stocking fillers etc), spend a few minutes thinking about what you are likely to spend this year. It might surprise you …

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6 Comments »

  1. […] debtfretter placed an observative post today on Dreaming of an easy-buy Christmas.Here’s a quick excerpt:Anyway, I always find it so much easier leading into Christmas knowing we will have the cash available by the time it rolls around, and it means that – even though at times I’ve managed to rack up credit card debt, when the January … […]

  2. […] debtfretter put an intriguing blog post on Dreaming of an easy-buy Christmas.Here’s a quick excerpt:So I have been thinking about Christmas, because my son’s birthday is coming up at the end of November, and this it makes me think about what we will get him at Christmas vs his birthday. I have a present in mind for his birthday … […]

  3. Melissa said

    Why don’t you try to see how financially savvy you are on gifts this year? We have a limit of $10 a kid since we have 39 nieces and nephews (number 40 is on it’s way), so we hunt for bargians year round. You’d seriously be amazed at what you can find and the gifts we give are usually the favorites. For instance, we gave my niece a cheerleading dress up outfit that normally retailed for $50 and I got it for $6, brand new. It takes work but it’s become a game for me to see what kind of deals I can get.

  4. debtfretter said

    That sounds like a plan, Melissa. I might give it a whirl in the next few weeks.

  5. […] debtfretter Did a great write-up today on sosickofdebt.wordpress.comCheck it out: […]

  6. JvW said

    I think $1000 is a good budget, especially considering you have food & New Years in there, too. Great plan putting money away every month so you have the cash.

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