First Person: I Cut $270 Out of Our Christmas Gift Budget

Yahoo Contributor Network

The holiday season tends to bring financial stress upon many couples, even if they were not struggling in prior months. This is a hard year for my family, especially since the last four months have been nothing but financial chaos. Gathering and purchasing gifts has been harder this year than in previous years. We are constantly trying to find a bargain and ensure that everyone gets something. I decided to cut some corners on gift-giving this year and ended up saving us $270. This is how I did it, and where the money was saved.

Limit the gifting

If we bought for my husband's entire family, we would be broke before December rolled around. There are several adults and children on his side, totaling close to 40 people. My family is significantly smaller, but we still don't buy for everyone. I decided to scale our buying back to just the children under 18, in-laws on both sides, and one special friend. In doing so, I was able to save $150.

Enter the grab bag together

On Christmas Eve, there is a grab bag set up for the adults in the family. Each person brings a wrapped package and draws a number. The limit on the gift is $20, and you can enter individually or as a couple. This year we are entering together instead of separately. This will save us $20 and still allow us to participate in the fun. This is one place where cutting out a gift was not so bad.

Opt out of buying gifts for each other

Usually we buy each other small Christmas gifts. I like to pick something out for my husband and sign the kids' names, and he does the same for me. This year we have decided to spend the money on others and forgo our exchange. We normally spend $50 a piece, which means it was $100 total. That was an easy expense to cut, and a nice savings by doing so.

After re-evaluating our budget and gift needs, we concluded that by scaling back on small things we could save money. By sitting down and going over everything with a fine-tooth comb, I was able to see where the problem areas were and how we could fix them. I was able to save my husband and I an easy $270 on Christmas gifts with very little effort.

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