According to a Holiday Consumer Spending Survey by Consumer Affairs the average person celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa and/or Hanukkah will spend $804.42 on gifts this 2014 holiday season. If you are separated or going through a divorce, chances are that figure is simply not feasible for you. The good news is, that is just an estimated average, and for the most part completely unnecessary. The holidays can often be a budget breaker – but they don’t have to be!
Saving for the holidays should not start on black Friday! Develop a budget that accounts for gift giving year round. Consider all the holidays, birthdays, and any anniversaries that you typically choose give for. If you have kids, once they are in school they will likely get invited to many birthday parties. You should also account for these occasions and develop a system that works for your budget to allow your child to take a gift to the party. Whether that means stocking up when a popular age-appropriate gift goes on sale, or just having the room in your gift budget to account for these gifts. Often times these party invites may come with less than a week’s notice. Being mindful of your gift giving budget will help you not to blow $50 on a gift on a whim.
When you were married, and probably had more disposable income, you may have fell into a gift giving routine that included birthday and Christmas giving to you friends and neighbors and their children. Decide where your gift giving priorities lie, and don’t feel guilty being straightforward and setting lower expectations with people. Giving makes people feel happy, and if that’s the case for you, you don’t need to completely cut back. Look for ideas on Pinterest – handmade gifts go a long way. Find a fun quote that fits your Mom/Aunt/friend/etc., print it off, and put it in a dollar store frame, viola! Dust off a bottle of wine to give to your wine loving friend. Go on a nature walk, find some pine cones and create a holiday wreath. If you like to can foods in the fall, make jam, or bake, those goodies make wonderful gifts! Turn your children’s old broken crayons into brand new fun shapes with the help of inexpensive molds. Find clip art online and create a personalized children’s coloring book using the child’s name throughout the book, which you can print off at home. The possibilities are endless, and inexpensive, handmade gifts don’t look “cheap,” they look thoughtful!
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