Personal Finance

Avoid Going Overboard and Over Budget on Kids’ Holiday Gifts | Personal Finance

“If you’re not writing down what you bought, you’re going to forget what you had,” says Woroch, who suggests using an app called Santa’s Bag — although a note on your phone or old-fashioned pen and paper can work just as well. Tracking purchases throughout the season can help prevent overspending.

Find a gifting strategy that works every year

“Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read” is a popular phrase, and for good reason: It sets parameters on gift-giving and works no matter how old the child.

Another strategy is buying fewer toys and focusing on what supports your child’s development, which is especially important for younger children. Kathryn Humphreys, an assistant professor in Vanderbilt University’s Department of Psychology and Human Development, suggests finding toys that allow collaboration and open-ended play.

“Fewer well-selected toys is likely better than a large number of toys that would be difficult for the child to keep track of through a busy day of present opening,” she said in an email. “I find with my own kids that anything over two to three presents is quickly forgotten given that Christmas is already quite exciting.”

Spend on experiences that last all year

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