This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How does your family control spending during the holidays?

Posted by Matt

I just read a great article from Bankrate about de-commercializing the holiday season. Not only are they helping readers save money, the tips have some other nice side effects like making families spend more time together.

We've used several of these suggestions in the past, and I wanted to share my favorites.

  • Secret Santa - we do this with my immediate family and also with groups of friends. I really like the fact that you don't have to try to come up with something for every person and you can instead really focus on finding a present that your "assigned" person is going to love (even if it costs a little more because you aren't spending so much money trying to get a gift for everyone). We usually make the name draw part of the Thanksgiving holiday and young children are excluded, meaning they get gifts from everyone.
  • Spending limit - we do this in conjunction with Secret Santa, but it can also be used if you are buying for large groups. If the limit is set appropriately for the group, it can prevent situations where one person feels guilty for receiving a very expensive present from someone for whom they just bought a candle. I personally think that the whole mental process of deciding whether you are spending "enough" on a person's present is one of the craziest parts of the holidays.
  • Family outings - memories last longer than gifts. Take the family out to dinner, to a movie, or even up to the mountains for a ski trip.

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