Avoid going too far and going over budget on holiday gifts for kids

IIt’s hard to resist the holiday message to buy gifts – and lots of them – to make the season brighter and more fulfilling.

However, supply chain disruptions can make this year’s shopping stressful, especially for parents looking to purchase in short supply of toys. Shortages aside, going too far with gifts for your children could create budget stress and unintentionally create unrealistic expectations for years to come.

The extra pressures this year could offer parents a chance to rethink their holiday shopping and budget strategies. These expert budgeting and parenting tips can help you cut down on the noise and find what works for your family.

Define your vacation budget

A budget is crucial to control spending. If you’re struggling to come up with a realistic vacation budget, review spending from previous years.

“You can literally grab your credit card statements from last November and December if you want to get a general idea of ​​where your money is going,” says Andrea Woroch, a money saving expert who focuses on counseling mothers . Consider whether you want to repeat this spending pattern or if it got you stressed out when January rolled around.

Budgets change from year to year. “Things can change drastically in a year,” says Woroch. “Have you had another child? Have you divorced or married, bought a house, found a new job, lost your job? Either way, you kind of need to re-evaluate based on your current situation.

Take inventory and get organized

Things get lost in overflowing toy boxes. Taking an inventory of what you already have is a great way to determine what your children need and an opportunity to put aside items they have outgrown.

Items in good condition can be donated or sold in online marketplaces to other parents looking for a good deal.

Keep track of the first purchases

Gifts bought weeks or even months ago may have fallen off your radar, especially if you’ve kept them well hidden. Before going to the stores, make a list of your previous purchases.

“If you don’t write down what you bought, you’re going to forget what you had,” says Woroch, who suggests using an app called Santa’s Bag – although a note on your phone or a pen and paper old fashioned way. just as well. Tracking purchases throughout the season can help avoid overspending.

Find a giving strategy that works every year

“Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read” is a popular phrase, and for good reason: it sets parameters on gifts and works regardless of age. the child.

Another strategy is to buy fewer toys and focus on what is good for your child’s development, which is especially important for younger ones. Kathryn Humphreys, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, suggests finding toys that allow collaboration and open play.

“Fewer well-chosen toys are probably better than a large number of toys that it would be difficult for the child to keep up with on a busy day of opening the present,” she said in an email. “I find with my own children that anything over two or three presents is quickly forgotten as Christmas is already quite exciting. “

Have experiences that last all year round

Woroch suggests purchasing a children’s subscription box for a “gift that keeps on giving” after the holidays. There are tons of options for kids that feature everything from art projects to Montessori toys and various books every month. Some of these services may have holiday promotions, so be on the lookout for an offer.

Resist the comparison game

It’s hard for parents to resist comparing themselves to others, especially when social media feeds are overloaded with vacation photos. Remember, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.

“It’s so easy to get carried away with what other families are spending and moms that you feel bad about and end up spending more,” Woroch says.

You look at a highlight reel and you don’t know if this family is spending beyond their means.

Souvenirs are free

If the holiday gift frenzy takes hold of you, remember this time of year is about more than things.

“At the end of the day, it’s really important to remember that the holidays aren’t about the physical gifts,” says Woroch. “Creating memories and maybe creating traditions that don’t cost a lot of money is a great way to connect and bond with your kids. “

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

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Amanda Barroso writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]

The Avoid Going Too Far and Over Budget article on Kid’s Holiday Gifts originally appeared on NerdWallet.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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