Every year I hear how many people go in debt to buy their children/family gifts for the holidays. It is really sad knowing that they are going to be paying for months to come for just a day or two of happiness. I used to do this but about 3-4 years ago I had a brilliant idea. Instead of waiting until the last minute to buy gifts and spend money I opened a special savings account. We have $50 dollars a month deposited automatically so we do not miss the money from our spending/ bills money. This gives us a total of $600 for the year. Another nice part of having this account dedicated to this purpose is that if I find a great deal that one of my kids would love in June I have the extra money already set aside to buy the gift to put up.
Since I started this holiday account I have also limited the number of gifts my children recieve. I cut this down to one gift per child from the parents and one gift from the jolly man in red. There might be a few extra gifts for the whole family like movies or games but limiting the gifts has made for a much more pleasureable experience for everybody in my family. Since limiting the gifts I find that we do not spend the $600 just on the holidays, now it even includes the kids birthdays. I am so glad that I started this gift fund so that I am not one of the people going into more debt just for the holidays. I have recommended this option to some of my friends who do stress about the money at the holiday times but none of them has yet to do it. I will continue to try to give my advice when they are complaining about how to pay for the holidays but, you know no body will listen until they are ready for the help.