Gifts For The Family
It started out as clothing, then purses, and then household appliances.
Eventually, we started running out of things to get so we evolved into gift cards.
We'd get a gift card to Future Shop and she'd get a gift card to Walmart.
Next we'd get a gift card to Walmart and she'd get a gift card to Canadian Tire.
Getting a gift card is nice, but a few months ago, it dawned on me that we were spending too much money exchanging gift cards.
I approached my sister about our situation. I proposed we halt gift giving altogether. There was no sense in buying each other gift cards. Personally, I preferred cash.
However, exchanging cash at Christmas would be strange. Imagine my sister give wifey and me $50 each and, in exchange, wifey and I would give her $100.
That made no sense in my mind. It was better to stop.
She agreed with my assessment and we agreed we'll just celebrate special occasions with get togethers.
Of course, not every family will have people like my sister.
For that, you can do what wifey and I have done since we started budgeting.
Create a budget for family expenses.
Anything that is for our family will go under this category.
Mother's Day? Family expenses.
Father's Day? Family expenses.
Seeing grandma for Chinese New Year? Family expenses.
Christmas at the in-laws? Family expenses.
Currently, wifey and I have allocated $200 a month for this budget. In a year, that's $2,400. That's a lot of coin. Fortunately, we over budget for this expense. So far, through August, we're averaging $100 a month (this includes things like lunches, gifts, and cash for lucky envelopes).
In previous years, this budget also covered two of my cousin's weddings and another cousin's baby gift which is why we have such a high budget. I still have a lot of unmarried cousins.
If you want to go that extra kilometre, you can also split the costs of Mother's Day or Father's Day (etc.) with your sibling(s). No more competitions to see who got the better gift and a smaller hit to the wallet. Win-win!
Of course, don't be surprised if you're left out of your parents' will*.
*I kid. However, on a related note, our (sister and me) mom prefers we don't spend so much money on her. They (mom and dad) don't have much room in their condo, so I guess that's part of it.