The gift fund

After the fiasco of buying Mrs Lakendary’s friend a gift for her birthday, I told Mrs Lakendary we need to have a serious chat about gifts and how we are going to tackle it this year. She seemed a little hesitant but then I took initiative and created a list of people who will be getting gifts from the two of us for Christmas, birthdays, mothers and fathers day. She was pretty shocked at the length of the list and finally we got to talking.

The first problem we had to face was how much do we allocate to each gift. The lower the amount the higher the stress of finding a good gift to give but the higher the amount the less money we will have day-to-day. We agreed on an amount but also felt like it might be too low. The gift we bought my wife’s friend was higher than the allocated amount per gift.

My wife gets a 13th paycheck in November every year, it’s in her contract. So we decided to use that money for Christmas gifts to lighten the load on the monthly budgeted gift fund. It didn’t really make that big of a difference though.

The whole talk of finances just kind of made us sad. We just didn’t want to talk about it anymore. We had other big plans for the year but now it looks like something as simple as a gift fund might cripple other plans we might have. For instance we decided to each try the 52 week savings challenge. After last night we decided to rather do it together as a couple instead of as individuals, meaning instead of saving $26k this year, we’ll only be saving $13k.
Our holiday plans might also take a hit this year. We were planning on visiting my parents for Easter and also going to a wedding. My parents live 400km (~250 miles) away and the wedding is also close to where my parents live. My mother-in-law wants us to also go to her husband’s hometown, which is 1200km (~750 miles) away. Finally for Christmas, my parents want to go to Cape Town or Victoria Falls. That’s miles and miles away from where we stay. INSANE!

Just typing this blog post is making me more and more depressed about our current financial situation.  I know  there is a lot we could do to improve it but it’s so much easier to just sit back and not try at all,  not give up on the stuff that that makes us happy. 

For instance last night  my wife and I came to do the conclusion that we need this gift fund but at what expense?  Are we willing to give up eating out? We both like trying out new restaurants so we won’t feel happy if we can’t go. 

Sacrifices have to be made but why is it that we have to make those sacrifices? It’s not like we will be getting gifts from other people for the same amount we spent. Some of the people who are receiving gifts from us aren’t in a position to give us gifts like our nephews and nieces. 

I think we should just Google search frugal gift ideas, try them out and hope they people getting the gift at least appreciates the gesture.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

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10 comments

  1. There are a lot of fantastic frugal gift ideas out there, so I hope you find some that meet your needs.
    Are there sales in your neck of the woods? If so, you may be able to get items at a good deal now. I’ve got a “gift closet” that has items I can give as gifts some are earmarked for certain people while others are general and can be given in a pinch.

    1. That is an excellent idea. Buy the gifts way ahead of time whenever they are on sale or when I see something that would make an excellent gift for someone. Will definitely give this a go. Thanks.

      1. I second this. We actually have a “gift center” in our basement (lol). It has saved our lives more than once when we have forgotten a special occasion and don’t have time or money to shop and purchase something. If you have the room, give it a try!

  2. How often are you eating out in restaurants? If it’s fairly often, try cutting back a tad so you don’t feel so stretched. If you’re planning on travelling and aren’t on a cash diet, get a credit card with points so it either subsidizes or covers the entire cost. Some rewards programs (like my Aeroplan Visa) give extra points at certain restaurants, so I could definitely see that being doubly beneficial in your case!

    If you’re begrudging gift-giving though (“it’s the whole thought that counts”) then I dunno.. maybe it’s time to see who isn’t close enough to receive a gift? I love giving gifts, but only to those I love most! Everyone else seems like it’s an expense.

    If it’s a group of people, you can always suggest a no-gifts rule (e.g. no gifts for the adults on Christmas, only the kids?), or take them out for a meal at one of the restaurants you both have been dying to try.

    Good luck!

    1. The gift buying thing comes from my wife’s side of the family. Mostly her mom. She loves giving and receiving gifts. So everyone on my wife’s side of the family should be getting a gift.
      Recently my family starting giving gifts without me giving them anything. So I feel bad about it and decided I should return the favour.
      The problem I have is finding something the person likes. Kids are easy. The adults are tough.
      Last year Christmas we did the thing where only the kids get gifts. Oh and my wife, naturally.
      I’d like to avoid using the credit card and we don’t getting any awards on our credit cards this side of the Atlantic.

      1. Yup, I definitely agree that it’s hard finding something you know someone will like and that won’t just end up as clutter or garage sale stuff!

        We’re on a cash diet too at the moment so we will be avoiding using our credit card for the most part, but if I had a bigger purchase to make, I’d probably buy it on credit card and pay it off immediately to make sure I still get the points and the purchase protection/insurance that comes with it!

  3. This is something I think my husband and I should discuss. When I think about how many gifts we buy there are more than I care to admit and I dread to think of the cost.
    I’m trying to initiate a minimalist christmas this year (I need 12 months to persuade my extended family) where we all donate an amount of money, however much people want to contribute, then pick a name of a charity out of a hat and donate the money.
    It really makes you think about gift giving as a token gesture as opposed to genuinely finding something you think someone would love/use/value.
    Really interesting post, thanks!!

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