Do This Now to Make Holiday Gift Shopping More Affordable and Less Stressful

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KEY POINTS

  • For many people, the holidays are a time to shower their loved ones with gifts.
  • If you're feeling extra financial stress this season, you may want to handle gift-giving differently. 
  • Discussing different gift-giving approaches with your family and friends can be worthwhile for everyone's wallets. 


Reconsider your gifting strategy. 

The holiday season can be fun and exciting but it can also be a time of extra stress. If you're going through some financial struggles, you may be worried about spending a lot of money on holiday gifts. Luckily, there are ways to show the people in your life you care about them without going overboard and breaking your budget

As we get closer to the winter holidays, keeping your personal finance goals in mind is essential. Whether you're saving for a future costly expense, are working on getting out of credit card debt, or are putting more money toward investments, your goals are important. 

Don't feel tempted to overspend on gifts. Talking with family and friends about how everyone plans to handle gifts this year may be worthwhile. There are likely other people in your life working toward financial goals, and they may be on a budget, too. 

Discuss gifting strategies early on in the season 

It can be beneficial to discuss gifting strategies with your family. If no one brings up this topic, everyone may assume they need to buy a gift for every family member.

Buying a gift for everyone in your life can get expensive, but it's not the only way to go about gift-giving. There are other ways to celebrate without going overboard. Suggesting different gifting strategies can help eliminate stress and make the holiday season more affordable.

Here are some ideas you and your loved ones may want to consider: 

  • Do a gift exchange: Instead of buying a gift for everyone in the group, a gift exchange is a more affordable way to have fun and celebrate the holidays. With this method, each person is only responsible for buying one gift, and everyone leaves with a gift. 
  • Set spending limits: Whether you're buying multiple gifts or one gift, it's a good idea to set a spending limit with your family and friends. Discussing spending limits early on in the season is recommended. By doing this, you can ensure that no one feels left out or embarrassed by spending a lot less money than others. Plus, everyone has clear expectations while shopping. 
  • Do group gifts: For bigger families, it may make sense to do group gifts. Instead of buying a gift for everyone in each family, you can get a gift that the entire family will love. This can help everyone keep more money in their bank accounts, plus it can also take some of the stress out of the gift-shopping process. 
  • Focus on the kids: Another option is to focus only on the kids while buying gifts. For many families, it's fun to see the magic of the holidays through their kids' eyes, and watching them open gifts is exciting. Only buying gifts for the kids and teens in your family is one easy way to honor your budget. 

Most importantly, do what works best for you

Even if your family or friends aren't open to handling gift giving differently this season, that doesn't mean you have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or jeopardizes your financial health. You're in control of how you handle the holidays. 

Doing what works best for you is the best strategy. If that means setting a gift-buying budget, that's okay. If you have no extra money to spend on gifts, that's fine, too. There's no right way to celebrate the holidays, and there's no rule that says you need to spend money on gifts. 

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