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Finding Special Gifts While on a Budget

Where do you draw the line when it comes to buying Christmas gifts?

This year, I'm all on my own. 

Since getting my big-kid job, I've moved out and with that comes a whole lot of responsibilities. OK, mainly just never-ending bills. 

I'm sort of a sentimental sap, and I want to get my family really nice gifts since this is my first "grown-up Christmas." But I'm also buying grab-bag gifts for some cousins, too. And, holy cow does this stuff add up! 

I dread getting loved ones gift cards, or something without much thought, because I want them to open something special. But those "something specials" can cost you!

So what do you do when buying gifts on a limited budget? 

Julie Farrell December 14, 2011 at 07:11 PM
I hardly ever spend more than $100 on anyone other than my own kids....and that's usually only for my nieces and nephews. I set a limit on what I'm going to spend on my own kids, and start saving for it in June. Sometimes I take small loans from work to help pay for it, too. The easiest way to work your budget is to create a list of who you'd like to buy for, set a total spending limit, and prioritize. It sounds a bit callous, but you have to prioritize the people in your life for stuff like this or you'll never be able to get anything for anyone. When prioritizing, estimate a dollar amount per person. Trim your list down to make up for going over your originally-intended limit. It's the only way I've kept sane over the years. I honestly usually only buy for my kids, my sister's kids, my best friend's son, my mom, my sister, and my best friend....if there's a boyfriend around, him too. Aunts, uncles, cousins, even friends....have to get the gift-ax or my kids wouldn't have a Christmas at all. Especially now that they're older and into more electronic things. I also allow my kids to make a gift list with a $30 limit each. They usually choose 30 people and get each of them something from Dollar Tree. If I can up their totals, I may do that, too.
Tammy Hirsch December 14, 2011 at 07:19 PM
I often feel overwhelmed by the number of "extra" or smaller gifts that seem to keep piling up. This year, my girls and I made a big batch of spiced nuts (Barefoot Contessa recipe!), put them in canning jars and made labels and bows to glam them up a bit. Now we have been able to distribute a heartfelt and homemade gift to co-workers, neighbors, coaches etc.
Charlene Ann Baumbich December 15, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Resale shops. Sometimes you can find items brand new with tags still on. Other times, although second hand, they are first pick in design, purpose and match. I don't try to fool anyone by making them think it's "retain bought." My family and friends ALL dig bargains! "Resale gold" pretty much describes the presentation.
Charlene Ann Baumbich December 15, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Dumb typos. That was "retail bought."
Jill Paulus December 28, 2011 at 09:53 PM
What does anyone think of drawing a name so each person gives a gift and receives a gift?

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