Holiday Planning: Budgeting for Gifts
First of all, let me say that you should never feel pressured to buy a gift you can't afford. A true gift is both a joy to give and receive, and if you're not feeling good about giving, please reconsider.
Gifts are something that we all give, but we often fail to budget for. One way to build gift-giving into your holiday planning budget is to create a gift spreadsheet. List all the gifts and occasions you typically buy for over the course of the year, including office donations, baby showers, teacher appreciation gifts and so on. Then, in the next column write in the amount you can afford for each occasion.
Now that you have an overview of your spending over a year, you can be on the lookout for ways to save. Toys get discounted in January, so snap up enough toys to give for birthday gifts throughout the year. Bath and Body Works runs a great sale in June—a great time to stock up on Teacher Appreciation gifts. Get the kids to help you make some homemade gifts for the grandparents.
If you really can't afford to give a gift but still want to do something nice, consider giving of your time or talents. A nice handmade card with a coupon for free pet-sitting or homemade meal at your house or may be even more appreciated than an expensive gift.
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