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    Holiday Gifts On a Budget

    By Kristen Houghton     

    If we believed everything the media tells us about how the holidays should be, we would see our real lives as boringly dull and lonely. Happy married couples in perfect houses, surrounded by expensive gifts, abound in commercials. Comparing our own lives with this unreal perfection is frustrating especially when it comes to the gifts we buy for our spouse.

    Most married couples have some type of a budget they follow when it comes to gift buying for each other. A monetary limit is set and both spouses agree to “stick to it.” Unfortunately, hassled and hurried with holiday shopping for everyone on our list, we sometimes buy a last minute item that fits the budget but doesn’t quite fit the wants or needs of our husband or wife. Don’t let that happen this year.

    Here are a few tips to make holiday gift buying easier for you and your special love.

    Communicate with your spouse about what you’d really like for a holiday gift. Don’t assume he knows you well enough to buy exactly what you’d like. Don’t expect him to be a mind reader and buy the perfect gift for you. Ask your spouse to be completely honest about what he wants as well and tell him you’re not “gift-psychic” either. Lay your cards on the table.

    You should both know what amount you can easily spend without having to go into “holiday debt.” Try to stick to the agreed on amount but leave a little cash leeway in case something is a few dollars more than you’d expected.

    Never say “oh, I don’t really want anything.” That statement is not self-sacrificial, it is self demeaning. Of course you want a present! No one should be left out of the sharing of gifts.

    Determine if there is something you have both wanted for your house; maybe a new sound system or flat screen TV. These are big ticket items, so you need to combine the money you’d be spending on individual gifts for each other.

    Does a vacation or week-end away sound like something you both want to do? Tickets for this plus a picture of the planned destination can be nicely wrapped as a joint gift.

    Tell your husband if there is something for which you have been saving. If he agrees to pay the rest of the price tag for it, let him wrap and present it to you on the holiday. Do the same for him. He may be putting money aside for a special item he wants; pay the rest and let him enjoy whatever it is earlier than he would have if he’d had to wait.

    Remember that there are going to be years when there just isn’t enough money to go around. Almost every marriage goes through financially difficult times. When that happens, presents don’t need to be expensive; something as simple as a movie date or dinner out at a favorite inexpensive place can be a gift too.

    There is one more thing that couples need to remember. Never, ever, put your spouse last on your gift buying list. Do your shopping for your husband first while you’re fresh and still un-frazzled by the holiday rush. And ask him to do the same for you. This is not thinking only of “yourself,” it is thinking of “ourselves.”

    Putting each other first is a loving gift all on its own.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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