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The holidays will soon be upon us and there will soon be a lot of reason to spend. The media is filled with images of expensive trinkets that are ready to be sold. There are delicious pictures of food items everywhere that show all the good things you can buy. It really is a great thing to see all the colorful, holiday-related things this time of year. The thing that is not so great is the pressure to spend with everything that the holidays bring. Is it okay to spend or should the holidays be just another frugal time?
I have always been a very frugal person. I rarely splurge on gifts unless it is for close family members. In that instance, it is hard to decide what is appropriate to spend. I tend to spend around $100 per close family member, and I only have a couple of family members that I spend this kind of money on. The funny thing is that I usually get gifts of the same amount right back so it is like getting my money back. For me, it is not about the amount of the gift but the meaning behind it. I totally wouldn’t mind a five or ten dollar gift card to a coffee shop because I love coffee. On the other hand, I would hate it if someone spent a hundred dollars on camping gear for me because I hate camping. It just depends on the gift recipient.
There are people that feel the holidays are the perfect time to spend and that’s okay. Well, it is okay as long as you can afford it. If not, then you have to be creative. Making baked goods as Christmas presents can be a great alternative to spending lots of money. Make Christmas decorations out of paper towel rolls and pipe cleaners. You can make a lovely Rudolph out of a candy cane and some construction paper. It doesn’t take a lot to be festive and you can get your family to help you for a fun activity at home.
The holidays can be a financially stressful time for everyone. Whether you think that it is ok to spend a lot on the holidays is up to you and your situation, but you can certainly cut back if you don’t have the funds. I think that we can all agree that the important thing is that you spend the time with family and friends. Even if you have all the money in the world (and if you do, please give me a call), then you can still appreciate the little things that holidays have to offer. The truth is this is a very special time of the year and it deserves to be enjoyed even if you don’t have loads to spend. Happy holidays everyone!
This post was featured on The Outlier Model, Len Penzo, Aspiring Blogger, thank you!
Dee @ Color Me Frugal says
Well said! I’m not really a big gift giver either unless it’s for family. The problem that I always run into is that people at work usually give me gifts and I feel obligated to get them something too. This year I think I’ve got that problem figured out because we’ve decided that we will make up some homemade cocoa mix for those unexpected people that I end up needing to get something for. I guess it’s just about having a plan for the situation, since it always happens, without fail!
Michelle @fitisthenewpoor says
I tend to spend around $100 for my siblings and parents, $50 on my nieces and nephews, $40 on my aunts and grandparents, $20 on my coworker(s) and friends. My husband is the only one for whom I do not budget for. If there is something that he wants, I work and save to afford it. But I do my best to not let the holidays “surprise” me with costs. I budget throughout the year so I can be a bit more extravagant than I typically am for birthdays or special events.
I’m glad to hear that $100 isn’t considered all that crazy. I buy for my mom, my in-laws and my husband. My in-laws have very limited means but still like to give us something. So we set a $30 limit. We definitely have to get creative, but it’s kind of like a game. My husband and I are probably going to do a $50 limit each this year. We get most of what we need throughout the year, so there just isn’t a lot of call for big spending.
Anne @ Unique Gifter says
I tend to spend about $100 each for my immediate family. My spouse’s family doesn’t quite do gifts the same way and we spend more like $50 per person on them.
We pay for all of our gifts out of cash flow, so it’s not really a surprise at all.
I try to find the “right” gift rather than adhering to a certain dollar amount. It usually works out to be ~$50 a person or so, so it’s not terribly expensive and well within my budget.
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
I think it’s definitely okay to spend a lot on the holidays if you are in a good financial position. Like CF, it’s nice to find the right gift, and I find that when you do that, it’s cheaper than buying a bunch of little things. I like to spoil my family but at the same time don’t want to put myself in a bad position.
Budget and the Beach says
I don’t have to spend a lot on my family at all. But I do try to give where it’s meaningful, like adopting a family. It makes it that much more special when I’m giving something to a family that really NEEDS stuff. Even basic stuff.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
I have a small family and we buy everyone gifts. In all honesty it ends up being an even exchange as we all end up spending about the same on each other. Granted we do get gifts for some others that are not reciprocated but overall it’s pretty even. I agree that it should be enjoyed no matter how much money you have to spend.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
You make a great point on knowing who you’re buying for. If you’re gonna give a gift card and you don’t know the recipient well, sticking to something like a visa gift card or an amazon gift card is probably the safest bet.
If you’ve got the wallet then buying expensive gifts is great – but if your broke, then gift buying can be extremely stressful.
I always buy kids toys or books, adults always get a nice bottle of good quality french wine.
Maybe boring – but at least I’m consistent
The holidays should be a time spent together with your loved ones, a time to rest and have some fun. We don’t spend on holidays too much (we don’t really spend much from a regular month anyway) and we focus on the time together more than splurging on useless junk.