by Jamie MacDonald
It’s a common occurrence over the holidays to spend more than we expect. This often occurs because we fail to budget the amount we spend on gift giving. There is however a way to avoid such financially difficulties with a little planning and some personal touches.
To begin with, set the approximate amount that you want to spend, say $200, and keep within that budget. Then make a wish list of individuals that you plan on providing gifts this Christmas. The last step is to determine the average value of each gift by simply dividing the total budget by the number of people on your list. For instance, if you have 10 people on your list than the average value would be $20 ($200/10= $20). You can certainly adjust the value of the gift per individual but try to have the total amount for all gifts within your established budget. Now when you consider gifts for each of the people on your list, you have an idea whether it’s affordable. The problem is: what happens if you have too many people on your wish list or your funds are too low? There are other solutions.
As the old expression goes…it’s not the gift you give but the thought that counts. Some may feel the expression of a gift lies in its monetary value, while others strive for a more sentimental or personal touch. For those without the need for monetary constraints, gifts can come in all sizes and be rather expensive. A number of us, however, don’t have that luxury and the personal touch to a gift, a token of our affection, or simply thinking of them over Christmas has more value than the price tag.
Something as simple as a greeting card with a thoughtful note inside is an inexpensive gift but with a personal approach. Try creating your own or adding a gift card from their favorite store. This consideration would be truly appreciated and still within your budget. You don’t need to be an artisan to make your own gift. Share a part of you and your home with a baked good, herbs from your garden, or a photo from you or your family. If you are thinking of those friends and family in distant places, why not make it personal with a phone call. Let them know you were thinking of them at this time of year. Making the effort in creating the gift is rewarding and will truly be appreciated.
There are endless ideas for gift giving and with a little planning you can make it both personal and within budget. Take the time this year to plan your holiday gift giving and you may find that the true value in Christmas is not in what we spend but the thought that counts.
Jamie MacDonald, RHU JS MacDonald Financial Services