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How Much to Spend on Holiday Gifts for your Kids

How Much to Spend on Holiday Gifts for your Kids

Wondering how much other families spend on holiday gifts? In a season where the pressure to spend can feel oppressive, it's natural to wonder what kind of holiday budget other families manage to stick to. We were curious too, so we looked through the many Circle of Moms community conversations on the topic and culled the most common approaches to budgeting holiday spending on children.

Setting a "Per Child" Budget

One of the most common budget strategies that moms shared is limiting spending per-child to a certain amount. How much? Many moms say $100 for each child is reasonable. As Michelle Z. explained: "We usually do $100 per kid and per each of us, too. There's a 3-present max per person just to keep that part equal. They get a lot of presents from other people too so they don't suffer. It works pretty well most of the time."

Of course, many moms' per-child budgets fell on either side of the $100 mark. Kristel W. shares, "One year we couldn't really afford anything so my husband and I set a limit of like 5 dollars per person outside our family and $15 for us and went to the thrift store and gift-shopped for each other, it was probably the best Christmas we had." On the other end of the spending spectrum, moms like Emily K. spend upwards of $300 on each child, and several moms shared that they spend $500 per child.


Budgeting by Age

Not all moms take a 'per-child' approach to budgeting. After all, older children's objects of desire are often expensive tech gadgets, while a one-year-old could be happy playing with wrapping paper!

Instead of allocating budgets equally between children, some moms say they focus on getting each child at least one gift that they really want. Susan explains: "My kids vary in age (12, 8, 5) so it just doesn't work out to spend the same amount per kid...that would mean 1 or 2 gifts for my 12-year-old and a truckload for my 5-year-old."

No Budget?

"I don't really budget," says Michelle L., and she's not alone: Many Circle of Moms members admitted that they don't budget at all for the holidays. As Amy T. notes: "This year we have no budget. We've tried budgets before and always blow them."

How much do you budget for holiday spending?

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CherylForbes CherylForbes 4 years
We present three gifts like the wise men. One is one on their wish list. One small stocking stuffer and one hand written note to tell them how special to God and us they are. Keep it simple and meaningful. Looking back at my childhood, it was the time with relatives that meant the most not the toys!
Oh compared to what everyone else spent, I am way over spending on my 7 year old!! I do get 600$ a month child support so why not spend it on her Christmas!
SylviaHogan SylviaHogan 4 years
not a clue but different on all 16 year old will get more than 2 year old,,,, xbox bike ... teddy car? generalize can you i would never spend more than can afford silly way to go older ones ie 20s up well there at work so get something but not lots ,,,, thats the way it is ,,, we got 1 a puppy this year as dont play with toys and loves dogs
JuleyBarber JuleyBarber 4 years
We have 2 daughters & our limit per child is £250.00. This year they are not having a "main" present & we have only bought things that I know they will definately play with/use as I,m sick of buying things that never get touched - hence this year we are way below our normal £250.00 mark which makes me very happy!!!! - but I,m sure they,ll make up for it in the coming years :)
JessicaHarris21685 JessicaHarris21685 4 years
I only have 1 daughter, and I spent about 150.00 on her total. But for other family, we just buy for the kids, after all that's who its all for anyways. I spend about 20.00 to 25.00 on each nephew and cousin. But I'm a bargin shopper as well. I start shopping in the summer, so it doesn't get so expensive I. December. :-)
ChristinaJones90083 ChristinaJones90083 4 years
I shop all year so I know it adds up to more then my husband wants to know I'm sure. I have 3 daughters 10,11,13. And a lot of neices and nephews. Nieces and nephews get 5-10.00 each but they et nice stuff bcause I bargain shop. My counsins ad sisters I lso buy for and again 5-10.00 but they et nice stuff nd always think I spent more :) I also thrift store shop and clearance racks and get my kids clothes(only if nwt or look new) and then they get make up, hair stuff, note books, 1 big ticket item but then I put together a big box of intrest items. This year my oldest loves to draw so I made her a box of drawing items, middle daughter jewlry making, youngest misc craft stuff..... I spent a lot on them but they also do not et gifts from anyone lse in my amily like most families do.
CoMMember13631159171734 CoMMember13631159171734 4 years
Depends on the age. Right now, $100 because she is young. When they are older they will want more expensive gifts. $500/ child would be max.
DanielleCandlenSavoy DanielleCandlenSavoy 4 years
We put $12.50 each week year-round aside direct withdrawal from our Bank into a Christmas Club - It totals $650 a year.. We have 3 kids of our own and 5 neices & nephews. We spend about $400 combined on our 3 kids, We spend about $20 each on the nieces and nephews, and that Leaves us about $150 to spend on ourselves and the few other adults (parents, siblings ect..) on our list..
ProudMommy52972 ProudMommy52972 4 years
$40-50 on each member of the family
MiriamLee33971 MiriamLee33971 4 years
I think it depends on your situation and how many kids you have. We have one son, two nephews and two nieces. We did $400 this year for our son and $50 each nephew/ niece. We have a $100 limit for my husband and myself, which , of course, I exceeded by $20. I think we spent too much on our son this year.
kayleighgale kayleighgale 4 years
i live in ireland and spent just under 600 euro on 3 kids and they gettin tons :)
DeniseTurk DeniseTurk 4 years
We are in the uk and the budget is £300. My son is 7 and we have managed to buy him 3 presents and a stocking of goodies for that.
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