December 7, 2007

How much is too much?

Arun is still sick, although he is perking up today. The first antibiotic had no effect, we are trying another one. It turns out that he also had an ear infection - his first ever.

In the meantime, I am going to take advantage of the fact that I have opened anonymous commenting up. Two questions for you and you can comment anonymously if you do not want to 'fess up publicly.

How much do you spend on your kids for Christmas? If you do not have kids, what do you think it reasonable? I am limiting myself to $50 per kid this year and it is HARD because it is FUN to buy toys, no? However, Arun has seen a steady stream of toys since Anjali was born in our desperate attempt to keep him entertained when we were drowning. Then, he even got a Melissa & Doug train set for his birthday. I am trying to apply a tourniquet to the situation. The goal for future Christmas is one big gift and several small gifts. No matter what our financial situation is, I do want Christmas to become overblown, but I still want it to be fun. We are lucky in that not a lot of extended family buy for our kids anyway.

Also, how many outfits do your kids have? I try to limit myself to no more than 14 since I do laundry every Sunday anyway. Anymore than 14 and I feel bad that the clothes are not getting enough mileage. Am I weird?

What do you think?


Mojavi said...

i honestly don't think about it. I shop until I feel I have enough, or I have gotten them what I want to get them. I do have a budget for myself however if I see something big I want to get them I will budget it in the next month. If I then see something else I want to get I will use some of my allowance. I don't think about clothes because I again get them what I think they need or what I want them to wear. I guess what I am saying is I don't really think of it in terms of dollar amount or number of outfits.

Mamma Sarah said...

I'm like Mojavi... I get what's needed (i.e. toddler bed, snow suit, shoes). We have asked that there are no toys because he just has so many already and would rather get books or savings for college fund. As far a other people's kids we're trying for $15 each (which is actually for 6 kids total).

As far as clothes... Alex has way too many, but not enough sleepers. We've got to squash Grandma from her clothes shopping... ugh! Then again, she is the one that does his laundry, so should I really complain?

Marilyn (aka callistawolf) said...

For Christmas, we set a budget of $100 per kid. However, we spent a lot less than that on Liam since his tastes are pretty simple at the moment. With Harry though, he's 8 and a lot of his interests are a little more sophisticated and they cost more. For instance, he asked for a telescope and a computer game and both of those were over $50 for sure. He did ask for a Wii and there's just no way.

As for clothes, Harry probably has ten outfits and definitely needs more. He grows like a weed, so hard to keep up! As for Liam, he has a LOT MORE outfits, but I've maybe bought him three articles of clothing since he was born. We've been lucky to get a lot of hand-me-downs with him and he's a very well dressed baby because of it. ;)

Now, you need to ask how many outfits *I* have because I *know* I need more. ;)

Cagey said...

You of all people know how I have gone overboard buying things for the kids. :-) I guess that is why I am trying to pare down a little for Christmas. We will see how I do, eh?

Mamma Sarah,
We are pretty lucky in that we do have a lot of folks buying for the kids.

Confession: I will probably steal from Anjali's budget. For example, I did buy some of the Secret Agent Jo Flash Cards, which are technically for both of the kids, although Arun will use them first.

Dooneybug said...

Let's see, here's what we have for the kiddo's: a penguin bowling set (a shower gift for my girl that I'm saving for Christmas), Mr. Potato Head set (bought with a gift card we were given at a shower for my girl), 2 Mr. Potato head expansion sets, shape sorter, ring stacker, play telephone, magna doodle, 2 Christmas rubber duckies and books. All the toys that weren't free were on sale at Kohl's for 50% off and I got the books at the $1 spot in Target. I've spent $30 total for both kids. I'm thrifty. I believe that until they are older than 3, they really have no concept of how many gifts they got or the amount spent on them. Therefore I can still get away with being cheap and keeping it minimal without needing to do any explaining.

Clothes? Well, we get lots of hand-me-downs from a friend who has a boy almost exactly a year older than our son. That works great. My mom also sent me some used clothing for him for the winter as well. He has so many clothes it's hard to close the drawers (there are three dedicated drawers to shirts, pants, and pj's). We also got tons - TONS - of girl hand-me-downs from people at our church. My girl doesn't need a thread of clothing until she's a year old. There are already so many things she has never worn that I'm packing away and I can't imagine her wearing all of the next sizes too. Unless I never do laundry. I have bought things for both my kids in future sizes but really, we are given a lot of the clothes we have.

Kirsten said...

I admit, we were spoiled as kids and my parents still spoil us to this day. Although now it's more with stuff for the house, or clothes or things of that sort.

But our house always had a 2 or 3 hour gift opening. Not that they went way overboard or anything, but they always made sure that we knew Christmas was special. We would get one 'big' gift... and the rest would be little things that we wanted.

Tina said...

We're in kind of a different situation. Neither set of Grandparents spoil the kids or go overboard--so part of me wants to go big to compensate for that. Yet we're sticking with the 3 gifts per kid idea (plus stocking)-- this year it's more because money is REALLY tight. I've like how some of our friends try to do a fun/wanted gift, a 'need' gift and then a gift that can be shared with the family (ie. game). Our boys are 4 & 2, so the gifts are more along the line of construction trucks and cars--things they'll love and things that don't cost as much.

As far as clothes go I’ve never really counted outfits. The 2 yr. old gets hand me downs from brother & a cousin, so he's set. I try to have enough pants I can go a week before doing laundry. Considering I have to deal with the occasional accident, I usually end up doing a load or two during the week. For my older one, he had LOTS of long sleeved shirts, several sweaters and only 1 fleece pullover, and always seems to be cold so I've made a note to look for pullovers on sale/at the consignment store. Again, there are two sides to this...if I only have a minimum of clothes, he'll wear them more--but then I'll have nothing for his brother down the road (and it’s not like boys clothes change much over time or vary in style at this age). Plus, I don't really want to see him in the same things week after week, so I try to have some variety. So I try to balance the two, but it's a struggle!

Sorry this is so long! You’re seeing is someone who’s has a side that is a shopper who wants to buy lots of stuff struggling with the “we don’t have money and need to be responsible” side.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

I guess I've had a similar experience as kristen. Present-giving days (birthdays and especially Christmas but even Valentine's Day and Easter) have always been done big in my family. I can say that my spending on the boys has increased each year since they were born. Their first Christmas was 2 weeks after they were born, and they got a couple books each, bought on Christmas Eve. I budgeted $250 total for their birthday, which is one $100 joint gift and the rest is individual gifts. Christmas was budgeted for $500 total, less than $100 for individual stuff and some larger joint gifts. One of the larger gifts took up almost all the joint budget without my including the train set to go around the tree, which was simply a necessity due to my boys' obsession with trains, so the individual gifts ended up being about $75 for each kid to allow for the good joint gifts.

This of course is just what I bought. I know my husband (currently deployed overseas) has bought them some stuff, too. His parents sent a huge box that came from in addition to opening and contributing to their education funds. My mom has been shopping right along with me, although she is trying her best not to go completely overboard for my sake. Then, there's my ex and his mom, my grandparents, and probably my uncles and aunts. So, yeah, it'll be craziness around here for my kids, but we just can't seem to say 'no';>

Henny Penny said...

For Christmas, Bob and I each buy one toy for Henry. We also might get a clothing item for two. He's only two so his desires are not expensive. He wants a Buzz Lightyear and Zorg which are on Ebay in a pair for $4. Then we have the stocking, which may cost more than the actual presents. Last year I put wooden trains in his stocking. This year, who knows. I anticipate his aunt and grandparents buy him a lot of clothes, books, and projects.

As for clothes, Henry has way to many and not enough. When he was one we bought a box of 100 items of clothing off Ebay. He is still wearing some of those. He is getting so tall so fast that I have to buy clothes all the time but I don't retire his clothes at the same speed. I did freecycle 3 paper grocery bags of 2Ts last month. I'm asking relatives (who requested his size) to buy 4T slim for xmas. Over all he probably has 1 1/2 weeks worth of clothes. Except T-shirts, he probably has 25.

Christy said...

I have limited myself to $50 too. I am not going to waste tons of money on a Christmas she'll never remember. Also, I only buy 9 outfits for Porgie each new season. We always do laundry on the weekends too, so I know that she'll have enough clothes. Because I am cheap, I only buy clothes on the clearance rack.

Christine said...

Hurrah! Anonymous commenting back (I have no blogger or google accounts, so I could not weigh in on the student loan conversation, much to my chagrin).

We have traditional gifts - pajamas and an ornament. Then this year we did 3 gifts plus a couple of small stocking stuffers. Max's gifts cost more, since gifts for 3 month olds are cheap, and a little boring. My parents always did equal numbers, not equal value, until we were adults.

We didn't do clothes, mainly because my mother loves buying them clothes, so I just give her a project (shirts with trucks!) and she gets to spend some quality time hunting for them.

Frema said...

Luke and I will be having our first baby any day now (hopefully!), and at first I was against buying her anything for Christmas. This whole year has been about buying things for her - she definitely doesn't need anything else! However, we ended up spending about twenty dollars on a set of cloth blocks and some fun teething things because hello, it's our baby's first Christmas. :)

Cagey said...

Confession - I have TONS of hand-me-downs for my daughter, although not so much for my son. Does that keep me from buying clothes for my daughter. Not so much. I do love shopping clearance, though.

I am hoping to go the One Big Gift route, too!

Celebrate Woo-Woo,
Yes, it is hard when you have a lot of folks buying stuff, too! I do feel lucky that I do not have to face that.

Henny Penny,
It doesn't sound like you guys go overboard or anything. I am impressed with your restraint!

That is interesting your parents did equal numbers, not equal value. I am guessing no knew and thus, did not tally up their totals?


I did not buy much for my son on his first Christmas, either since he was an October baby. I bought him a personalized book from I See Me, which he now LOVES because he thinks seeing his name in print is v. v. cool. The same goes for my daughter because she is already playing with all the baby toys that were my sons. She does not really "need" any more toys at this point. Baby toys are gender neutral at this point anyway.

Modern Day Hermit said...

I wanted to stick to $100 and some toys are just too damn cool to pass up. We bought him a Gears 'thing' and that shot the budget immediately. We did buy him a couple little things - a peg set that was maybe $10, a playdough set for $7, a few books from Target's $1 aisle and Border's sale section, a couple $5 from Target and a storage furniture thing that we purchased on sale - not much of a Christmas item for a small kid.

There are so many things I want to get him at this age. He recently got back into his animal figures from Target so of course I WANT to get him the entire set. But then I don't want to spoil him anymore than he already is. Not to mention my Mom is going to flood him with gifts.

It's hard to just stop, especially (for me) with the educational and learning perspective. He's already started to get something every time we go to Target and I have to stop that right about yesterday.

M&Co. said...

We've set an "unofficial" budget of $150 per kid this year. We will, however, probably go over it for the GirlChild because she's at a point where everything she wants is expensive and probably go under for the BoyChild because everything he wants needs pretty cheap.

We don't have any specific number of outfits because it seems to ebb and flow depending on the time of year. The BoyChild had plenty of clothes when he could still wear his uniform shorts to school, but since it's gotten too cold to wear shorts, he always runs short of pants. I usually ask my family to get him clothes, so his wardrobe should improve after the holidays.

Lainey-Paney said...

we only have one child. we spend a few hundred dollars on him.