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."
"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?