At this time of the year the upcoming holiday season is apparent. People are hustling and bustling around at the mall, getting together with friends and family and maybe even smiling a bit more. However, many are asking questions about how much to spend at Christmas.
How much to spend at Christmas does not have a direct answer as it is different for many people. I have heard people say anything from I spend $10 on family members to I spend 7% of my income on my spouse. Neither is right or wrong as gift giving can be a complicated issue.
Many people are in a bind feeling they don’t want to give something to someone that is too cheap, or something too extravagant, or something too impersonal or something too personal, or whatever! When people feel this way gift giving becomes more of a stress than enjoyable. Others don’t have the same worries and spend way too much, putting themselves in debt to start the new year.
Christmas sales generate around $435 billion each year in the United States alone. At the start of the 21st century, the average American would tell you how much to spend at Christmas was $750. New Zealand statistics suggest families would say $900. Last year the average Canadian spent $728 for the season.
Retailers do everything possible to make people spend their money, and as the season gets closer people spend more. In the two weeks before Christmas that lovely question of how much to spend at Christmas is often not a question on people’s minds anymore.
So before you get into that 2 week before Christmas trap, here are some tips for how much to spend on Christmas:
- Set a budget for each person on your list and stick to it.
- Buy gift cards if you tend to spend more after you get in the store.
- If you can’t afford something, have to put it on a credit card and know you won’t be able to pay it next month – don’t do it.
- If you have most of what you need for Christmas stay away from the stores. Do something fun with the kids or bake some home made goodies to give to people.
There is no actual figure answer for how much to spend at Christmas. Unfortunately it is up to you. Just be smart and know this is one day a year and gifts are not really what matters! Spend time having fun with friends and family instead of worrying about starting the new year in the red.