From Spending $500 for Kids Gifts to a $200 Bill: How To!


I have two nephews and a niece. We’re also very close to a couple who have three kids. I used to spend at least $500 on Christmas gifts for them (they were less in number at the time too!). The more I thought about it, less sense it made.

I’ve always enjoyed giving nice gifts. When I was younger and didn’t have children of my own, I was spending A LOT for my sister’s kids. I surely don’t regret it. But Christmas is a lot more than that to me. It has more to do with quality time. The years went by, my budget tightened up and my real values seemed to talk to me. There was no point in keeping such spending going. I needed to find a way to shop better, smarter.


1. Have a Clear Limit

This year, my total limit was $200. I’ve also set a limit per child. My sister’s children all have a limit of $40. Then, our friend’s three children were allowed $30, $25 and $25 (one is our godson so it is important to us to offer him something more noticeable). Surprisingly, there are plenty of gifts for such amount that are appreciated by children.


2. Do Pre-Shopping

We have the habit of exchanging a list of ideas or suggestions to help each other find something each kid will enjoy. Going through the list, I pre-shop for what I’d like to give that meet my budget. It’s also a good timing to look for discounts! With the Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the end of November, it is a perfect timing to see if what you’re looking for is part of these rebates! Sometimes, you can also get inspired and find something similar that will do the job so to speak.

You can also go with the simple shopping mode like I did this year: shop in only one store for all the kids! I went with this option because I’m currently 8 months pregnant and didn’t want to spend hours standing and shopping. I wanted to make things short and sweet. So I went on the store’s website (a well-known library here) that offers hundreds of ideas of all sorts and see what I could get for each child and on budget.


3. Have a List

Once the pre-shopping is done, it is time to make final decisions and create a list of your choices. Do not procrastinate too much as rebates (if not ordered online already) change very fast during busy times of the year like Christmas. Shopping!


4. Let The Surprise Get You

You’re all prepared but you can still get surprised. It happened to me. I had two things on the list that wasn’t there, in the store. One I could order, the other was just gone. I ordered the one I could, but as I was prepared, I could easily find another similar gift at similar price as well.

I also got surprised for one of my godsons. What I wanted on my list was not doing it. It was smaller than I think and thought it wasn’t worth the price. Thing is, there were plenty of other ideas around me I didn’t really think about. My plan changed, but for good. I found a better gift for the same price. I’m pretty sure he will like the surprise as well.


5. Forget About it!

There’s no need to still look around for them when you shop. Your gifts are done, you met your budget, everyone will be happy, so MOVE ON! Temptation will be around until Christmas day! Don’t let it get you. 😉 Once my shopping is done for the kids, I put my purchases away and forget about their names! All I know is I’m done. Otherwise you’ll get in the “what if” mode.

“What if I buy this and return the other one instead?”
“What if I just add an extra $10 to get this one?”
“What if he or she would like this better?”



6. Wrap Them All!

Another trick to stop thinking about other things you could have gotten is to wrap them all up as soon as possible! Get the ribbons on and the names too. You’ll see, you won’t feel like doing much exchange anymore!

Of course, I wrote about kids’ gifts, but these steps could surely be applied to any gift you want to give! I don’t give much to the adults around me, we do a gifts exchange that we appreciate and that’s all. The kids’ ones were the most expensive so that is why I focused on reducing the amount spent for them.


Happy Shopping!


Any trick on your own?


Image from author’s library.

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