When it comes time to buy the kids Christmas presents, the big question on most parents’ minds is, “How much is too much?” A reasonable question, especially for this time of year. After all, a lot more money goes into the holiday season than just the kids’ presents. When you add in the decorations, ugly sweaters, food for dinner parties, and even the pretty paper and gift bags needed to wrap presents, that Yuletide bill can quickly add up – not to mention all the extra gifts you’ll be picking up for Christmas parties and out-of-town relatives!
The bottom line: Christmas is an expensive time of year. But, fortunately, you don’t have to go “to infinity and beyond” with the toys, gadgets, and party favors this time around. With a little bit of planning, you can give yourselves and the kids a Christmas to remember without putting yourself in need of a title pawn by the time it’s over. Here are a few quick Christmas shopping tips for parents on a budget.
Obviously, the most important thing to do first before venturing out on a Christmas shopping spree is to set a budget. Without a budget, it’s ridiculously easy to overspend this time of year. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on presents and go from there.
A good way to make sure you have enough to get all your gift shopping done is to cut back on buying all the “extra” things like decorations, ugly Christmas sweaters, matching elf pajamas, treats, etc. Consider all this stuff unnecessary and stick to the basic goal: giving your kids presents to open on Christmas morning.
Along with your budget, it’s important to know exactly what you’ll be getting your kids this year. If you’re trying to save money, then it doesn’t pay to add things to your shopping cart that your kids didn’t ask for in the first place. Does your son want a PlayStation 4 for Christmas? Get it, but don’t bother with the added accessories (an extra controller, more games, a headset, etc.). Those could make great birthday presents down the line.
A PlayStation 4 is $400 by itself. That’s a lot of moola to drop on one gift. But this Black Friday (November 23rd), stores like Target and GameStop will be offering a PlayStation 4 bundle with the popular Spider-Man game included for just $199. What a deal! Of course, if you’re not too keen on waiting in line all night to get first grabs on the sales, there’s always Cyber Monday (November 26th), which will have similar deals all over the web including Amazon.com.
Stocking stuffers are always nice, but they’re really not all that necessary. You can put a few things in their stocking if your budget allows, but don’t go too crazy with the candy and knick-knacks. Your kids will get much more out of the main presents anyway.
It’s important to remember that Christmas isn’t about the presents. Your kids won’t have a better Christmas because they got more stuff from you. This is the time of year for family and giving because you care. You don’t have to offer your children a surplus of goodies under the tree to send them a loving message. Your kids won’t love you any less because you didn’t get them one more present to open. Buy them just a few gifts they’ll love and leave the extra stuff at the store. This way, you and your kids can enjoy Christmas a little bit more.