We're doing a white elephant gift exchange with family - no gift purchase can be more than $50 - the gifts get put in the middle of the table (or Xmas tree) (we're going to celebrate Xmas eve this year) and each fam member will get a #, which prioritizes who gets to choose a gift from the collection first ... you can then 'steal' a gift from someone else, only 2 times and that gift is then theirs - it's a huge amount of fun ... and makes one think about the gift purchase and put some fun into it ... I learned this from my previous company who did this every year with all their employees and it really is so much fun, with folks 'dressing' up the white elephants to attract the gift recipient .... so, that equates to one gift per person, as opposed to a gift for every member.
We have however never taken our boys (23 and 27) on a family vacation, so we'll do this next year and this will be our 'real' Xmas gift to ourselves (mom and dad) and kids, but we're fortunate to be able to do this (thanks to the bonus check).
Fortunately our family is small - 5 in total, so this is much easier to do.
Cash all the way - relief - we paid up all our car loans and credit cards and probably have about $300 in total debt - doesn't get better than that. We also tend to buy Xmas gifts during the year instead of waiting until the last minute.
Try the gift exchange, it's a ton of fun - the bigger the crowd, the better ...
Credit Scores 770 and over for most family members ... I'm trying for 800.
Nothing. My wife is in charge of gifts, and so far she's spent $320 on our credit cards, and she wants to get her sister a $150 spa gift certificate! I hope I get my holiday bonus before the bill is due!
She didn't have much growing up except around the holidays so she feels obligated to go all out.
I didn't track our spending last year like I am this year, so I don't know if we spent more or less than the >$470 we'll have spent this year.
I have asked my family and friends NOT to purchase a Christmas gift for me this year. Instead, I asked them to take the money that they would have spent on my gift ($25, $50, $100) and use it to pay down on their credit cards, car loan, or student loans.
I plan to do the same.
I wish we could have done this. Close to $500 would have been a decent chunk (5%) of my car loan.
All holiday spendings are budgeted so no problem here.
Hopefully next year, we'll be in this situation. I am expecting a fairly large bonus from work, so the $500 or so we're spending this year should be easy to match for next year.
Cash only - working OT and a 2nd job and that $$ is used for Christmas - we also asked other family members NOT to buy for us - we are only buying for kids and scaling back with them as well.
Once 12/26 hits - the $$ will be applied to paying down the credit cards like we have been but laid off the past month due to holiday and it will be a relief not to pay interest or late fees on what we just purchased.
Its a great feeling to pay in cash - never felt like this before - i kinda like it
First, I spend only money that I have (I haven't charged in three years -- but I am now trying to improve my credit scores now that I will be solvent in January 2009.
* I knit, so if I am gifting, I have made my gifts ahead of time
* I bought my boyfriends gift earlier. I knew what I wanted to get him and waited for a sale.
* My sister is moving, so she told me not to bother getting her anything until February.
* This leaves my mother and my brother, and I have a certain limit for them already.
* I'll buy small gifts for the kids in the family.
Anyway, bottom line is that it takes a little planning ahead of time.
The main step I am taking is not buying into the hype of the consumer credit and banking industry.
I like gifts, love to give gifts, but I refuse to go into debt to buy something someone does not need.
I pay my bills as soon as they appear on my accounts. I regularly read posts on this forum. I review my budget daily.