How do you balance a Christmas budget with all the stuff your kids want? Should you give them everything they want even if it means going beyond your pre-planned Christmas spending? This issue is causing some problems with my wife.
I think the first thing you have to do is stop and ask yourself one important question – what is Christmas? If your definition is lots of stuff under the tree, then I think you’ve got a pretty bad definition of the day and the entire Christmas season!
It sounds like you guys laid out a Christmas budget – that’s a good thing and now one of you wants to change all that because the kids have got the “gimmes.” That’s not a good thing. There are two possibilities. Either someone’s spoiling the kids and needs to learn how to tell them no, or the budget was too small because one of you has the spirit of a tightwad. It could even be a little of both.
It’s not a good thing for couples to fight over things like this – especially at this time of year. Sit down together and take another look at your budget. Compare the cost of what you’ve already planned to give them with the cost of the other stuff they want. If you’ve got the money and you’re not robbing Peter to pay Paul, you might consider increasing the budget a little bit. Just don’t jack it up so much that your kids start thinking there are money trees growing in the back yard.
But always remember this, Jim. Saying no may be the best gift you could give your kids. That word has started to disappear in our culture, but it’s one that can keep kids safe when they’re small, and can be part of a teachable moment when they’re older!
This year I’m paying for Christmas on a cash-only basis. I was wondering if you have any tips on buying jewelry at a discount.
I love it! Way to go! Buying Christmas gifts with cash is the best way to make sure you don’t carry a financial hangover into the new year. Stay away from the malls, and don’t go near retail jewelry stores. Jewelry and furniture have some of the highest markups of any items around. It’s not unusual for the prices to be double or even three times the seller’s cost.
You can get great deals on diamonds and other quality jewelry at high-end pawn shops. Yes, I said pawn shops – they’re a great place to bargain-hunt. Small jewelers who work on low margins will give you good prices, too. So will diamond brokers. Places like these aren’t even in the same solar system, price-wise, with the malls and retailers.
Check these places out, Cindy. Compare prices. Make offers. You’ll find some great gifts, plus you’ll have more money left in your pocket!
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