Real Life MMD: Do I need to spend more on Xmas pressies?

Former_MSE_Lee Former MSE Posts: 343 Forumite
Money Moral Dilemma: Do I need to spend more on Xmas pressies?

I do a lot of my Christmas shopping throughout the year, always trailing the shops’ clearance sections for bargains. However at Christmas time when my family and I usually set a present budget, I've been bargain hunting through the year and have bought most gifts already. Should I spend more to make up to the agreed budget or benefit from my year-round bargain shopping?
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  • katecheshire
    katecheshire Forumite Posts: 229
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Setting a budget is for an upper limit - surely it's about value not price so if you have got your presents at a bargain price , well done. Spending more just defeats the object of your bargain hunting. Perhaps you could donate something to a charity or do lendwithcare with some of your savings!
  • faerie_girl
    faerie_girl Forumite Posts: 461 Forumite
    If the gifts you are buying are usually priced around the agreed budget price then I see no problem in trying to save money. It's about the gift not how much has been spent!

    It can work the other way though, I do a secret santa with some friends who have children the same age as my son the budget is a minimum of 5.00 to make it a bit of a challenge as well as keeping it in budget. Managed to find an ideal gift half price at 6.00 so I was quite chuffed, it's something really decent but still in budget.
  • pennypinchUK
    pennypinchUK Forumite Posts: 383 Forumite
    You've been frugal (and probably a lot more thoughtful) all year round in order to reap the benefit at Christmas. So hell no, don't just spend more so you can say you've hit some magical sum of money that's been agreed. After all, your family have the opportunity to do what you do and shop around throughout the year.

    Isn't it all about the giving, rather than the amount you spent on someone? Anyone who judges the value of your friendship and/or family worth based on the price of the gift you've given them is very shallow, and not worth giving a present to in the first place.
  • bogwart
    bogwart Forumite Posts: 117 Forumite
    You've been smart enough to look for gifts ahead of time; why should you feel the need to 'top up' at the last moment? Surely you'll be defeating the whole point of "...always trailing the shops’ clearance sections for bargains"? Good for you, buy yourself an extra sprout - and make sure you remove the price tags from your gifts. :)
  • vikki_louise
    vikki_louise Forumite Posts: 2,358
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker I've been Money Tipped!
    No, go on how much the item cost/it's worth, if you brought it for £5 in the sale down from £10 then I see that as a £10 gift :)
    Best wins in 2013 £200 and Mini iPad. 2014 no wins. 2015 2 nights 5* hotel with £300 vouchers plus £1150 Harrods gift card
    Rehome an unwanted prize or gift with a seriously ill child through
  • Greveson
    Greveson Forumite Posts: 18 Forumite
    Personally I'd meet the budget halfway (or somewhere in between, not saying it has to be exactly halfway).

    For example, say the budget was £100, but you'd managed to get everything half price, so had currently spent £50, then I'd spent another £25. That way it looks to everyone else as if you've been generous and spent a lot, but you've still saved money. Win-win.

    Although I think the main lesson to take from this is that the budget is an upper limit so that spending doesn't get out of hand. But the true value of a gift is the thought that goes into it, what it means/represents, and the joy that the receiver will get from it (and the giver). If you're just going to reduce the gifts to monetary values, then you aren't really getting the point of giving, so you may as well not give at all (or just give the cash sum).
  • dirtmother
    dirtmother Forumite Posts: 137
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    It depends whether your choices have been more motivated by the bargain than by the appropriateness of the gift to the recipient - and perhaps how predictable that budget is. If you really know roughly what it is likely to be then perhaps you could be looking for bargains which would normally be too expensive rather than 'playing the system' to your own advantage (unless your bargain hunting is the only way to cope with what in practice is an unpalatable or unaffordable general budget)
  • Hime
    Hime Forumite Posts: 75 Forumite
    Definately not. The budget is a ceiling not a target! If you have been clever and organised all year, then you are sorted and if you have been buying for your loved ones all year, I am sure that you've thought about each gift and is it not the thought that counts?
    Well done.
  • Before I start, I should explain that due to financial circs I am on a VERY strict, tight budget this Xmas and would love to have known beforehand how bad it was going to be, so I could get in some early bargains. Lesson learnt for next year.

    As other posters have said, your budget is an upper limit to your spending. If you've spent the time securing bargains, then decide to top it up with some last-minute value-adders, you've wasted your time tracking down the bargains in the first place.
    Also, you run the risk of it looking to your friends/family as if you've hastily bundled together some pressies at the last minute, without proper thought.
    Far better, I feel, to keep track of your underspend. Then, if there's someone who's particularly difficult to buy for, or who you spot an ideal present for that's just outside your budget, you can spend it on them.
    Or you could use it to take them somewhere nice over Christmas. Or pay for the Christmas food, so your whole Christmas is in budget.

    You made those monetary savings by investing time. Don't render your investment worthless.
    Just think: "What would Martin do?"
  • borokat
    borokat Forumite Posts: 302
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Personally I would spend more - I would pass the saving on to the recipient. OR I would be buying things that would normally be out of range , but sales or offers had brought down to the agreed budget. I don't think it's wrong of you not to do this though, just personal choice. Although if you would struggle to meet the agreed budget perhaps you should make people aware and bring the budget down a bit?
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