The holiday season is already upon us. Do you feel prepared? If you have kids, you’ll likely feel a lot more pressure to have enough money for certain gifts and experiences. The average family spends nearly $1000 during the holiday season on their families gifts.
Having children can drive that amount even higher (depending on how big your family is) if there are tons of items on their wish list.
The funny thing about kids and maybe people, in general, is that the more stuff they receive, the less they focus on appreciating each single item. This means that less is more which is good news.
To save money on Christmas, consider trying the 4 gift rule with your kids.
What is the 4 Gift Rule?
The 4 gift rule is a holiday guideline put in place a few years back. Each child/person in your family would receive four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Yes, that rhymes, but it also works.
Practicing this could be an option to save you quite a bit of money because you’ll purchase fewer gifts but everyone will still receive something they really want. Here’s how to make this method work for you this holiday season.
Set a Clear Budget
This 4 gift rule/method is a great way to help you stick to your budget and not overspend. Set an individual budget for each of your family members and try not to exceed it.
The earlier you know the budget the better. That way you can practice saving throughout the year and be ready to fulfill each kids list.
Be sure to set realistic expectations as well. If your child asks for a $300 item for their ‘want’ gift item and that’s way over your budget, be honest and realistic about how much you want to spend.
Get Clear on What Your Kids Want
The 4 gift rule can help your children sit down and think what they really want. If they like video games, this can be a way for them to think about which game they’d enjoy most. So narrowing down their wants will be key.
Younger children just starting out practicing the four gift rule may have issues narrowing the list, but this can be the perfect opportunity to help them realize the things they value for the moment and what their favorite gift would be.
All parents have probably experienced their child choosing that one special gift that they use way more than anything else. In the past, I made the mistakes of purchasing many gifts for my son for Christmas only to realize he never really played with some of them as much.
Get Clear on What Your Kids Need
You probably purchase needs for your kids all the time when they happen to come up. This means you can be a little more creative when it comes to using the 4 gift rule for Christmas.
You can get your child a membership with a local club or maybe some extra curriculum activity of some sort they would enjoy. Our son likes art and sports so we try and sign him up for activities and clubs he can participate in each year. You can even place some money in an investment account while they are young and watch it grow through the years.
This can be the perfect way to invest in your child’s future and doing something that will help them down the road. It could be that new jacket for the winter or a new tablet for your college student to make their studies easier. Get your child something they need for personal development in some way and make sure it’s also something they would actually enjoy using or doing.
Accept Gifts From Others
Just because you do the 4 gift rule in your household it doesn’t mean more gifts aren’t a possibility for your children. You certainly can accept gifts from other family members, but don’t expect them.
Families do what they can for each other, but sometimes people fall on tough times. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents usually love getting their grandchildren or nieces or nephews a Christmas gift or two to put under the tree if it’s in the budget.My parents love getting Christmas gifts for my son and would probably never take no for an answer.
Just because you are only giving them 4 gifts, they can possibly get gifts from someone else too.
Why You Should Consider the 4 Gift Rule This Year
This can be great method for large families or just anyone who wants to stay on budget and enjoy other aspects of the holiday season outside of gift giving.
Limiting kids to four gifts can save a lot of money in the long run. Being on a budget for the holidays has many positives. Christmas shouldn’t be about getting many gifts anyway, it should be about family and spending time with loved ones.
Parents work hard to make holidays special for their children so when the holiday does actually come around it’s such a good feeling to get to see the smile on your kids face when they open gifts.
Not emptying your wallet on Christmas gifts can open your finances for other things as well. Debt payoff should be important and instead of going all out for Christmas, you can use the money on paying debt down and getting a better control of your money.
Important life events like college cost a ton of money so the earlier you think about putting money aside for something of that nature the better. Having only a few gifts can also change the mindset of your children as well. Only having a few gifts and having to really think about what they want can make them really cherish what they receive during the holiday.
Would you ever consider using the 4 gift rule? Why or why not?