Perhaps no transaction is as fraught with emotion and stress as the purchase of a holiday gift.
Will they like it? Will they use it? Will it end up in the back of a closet, or back on the shelves of the store whence it came? And what if the recipient reciprocates with a much better gift?
With the psychological stakes so high at the holidays, many of us spend beyond our gift-giving means. This season, nearly seven in 10 shoppers expect to overspend, according to a September survey of 2,408 Americans conducted by YouGov for CNET Money.
The obvious solution: Set a gift-giving budget, and stick to it. But where to start?
In the heat of holiday shopping, no amount of spending seems quite enough. There’s no universal standard for what to spend on a gift for a child, or a spouse, or a house-load of in-laws.
Happily, several sites offer holiday budget calculators: A starting point, at least, for planning your spending.
A simple budget for holiday gifts? How about 1.5% of your annual salary
Clearpoint, the credit-counseling nonprofit, suggests a simple target for holiday budgeting: Plan to spend 1.5% of your annual income. For a family that earns $75,000 a year, that works out to $1,125. Sliding buttons allow you to allocate shares of the total to gifts, parties, travel, donations and food. Once your gift budget is set, the planner helps you populate a gift list.
You’ll need an actual calculator to run the numbers in Wired magazine’s holiday gift calculator.
In the Wired model, you…