“Sorry.” My wife says to me.
“For what?” I ask.
“I over spent on your Christmas present.” She replies.
I shrug my shoulders, “It happens. I’ve done it for you on the odd year. How much?”
“$7.” She replies with a slight grin.
You see why I love this woman right. She feels the need to tell me she went over budget by $7. Not because she feels guilty, but we just have a long standing policy of being honest with each other. For the record, I under spent on her by $5 this year.
Yet to me that is a perfectly normal part of our Christmas budget. Yes you will over spend on somethings. That is entirely okay to do, as long as you are under spending on other presents. So for us, this has been the rule of thumb for years. Just because you have $5 left over in the budget doesn’t mean I NEED to spend it on one more item for their stocking. After all do you really think buying that one little thing will make or break their Christmas? The answer is no (and if not you have an entirely different set of problems). The result of this long standing rule, well we usually come under our Christmas budget. Which is good because some years we have made mistakes like forgetting to include mailing gifts to the other side of the family.
What also helps is we always set the budget prior to starting to shop and limit our gifts to mostly family. I don’t give gifts to our kids’ teachers, I don’t even know my mailman’s name and I don’t buy anything for a co-worker. We will bring a small gift is invited to a party or supper but usually the consumable kind (like wine or dessert). It also helps that both of our families have started gift exchanges for the adults.
In the end, I believe Christmas is about being together with people. I like getting a few gifts (I won’t lie) but really I don’t need much to be happy. I rather spend an afternoon drinking coffee and visiting than get another present.
So how do you keep your Christmas spending in check?