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You Asked: How Can I Afford Christmas This Year?

Dear Sugar,

I'm the oldest of four children and am currently living at home with my parents to save money, get out of debt and get back on my feet. I'm on a budget and suggested a spending limit on sibling gifts this year. It's not that I'm trying to be a Scrooge, but there is only so much I can realistically spend on each person on my list without going into more debt. I suggested a limit of $20 to $30 and was shot down by all my siblings. I would be happy to receive a new sweater or a gift card somewhere, nothing extravagant, but my siblings seem to think otherwise. One sister even went as far to say that she "wasn't flying home to get a $20 Christmas gift" (she is currently making nearly double my salary). Aside from now wanting to give her $40 worth of coal for Christmas, I don't know what to do.

While I don't want to look like the cheap one at Christmas, I don't want to put myself in an uncomfortable financial situation either. Do you have any suggestions? I want to get something nice for my family without getting dirty looks under the Christmas tree. — The Responsible One Olivia

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear The Responsible One Olivia,

I commend you for being realistic about your holiday gifts, and rest assured Olivia, you're not the only one having to cut back this year. With that said, it sounds like your sisters just don't understand the predicament you're in. I highly advise you not to give into their pressure; stick to your budget regardless of the looks you might get on Christmas day.

There are many ways you can do nice things for your family on the cheap. Write them a heartfelt card, give them something of yours that they've always wanted, or make some edible gifts!

Sure, it's fun to open presents on Christmas, but this holiday is really about being with your loved ones. Though it might make for a new kind of celebration, your sisters are just going to have to roll with the punches — they might be disappointed, but going into debt over their lack of understanding just isn't worth it.


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