Welcome to another reader question! I love the questions, so if you have something you want to ask either me, or The College Investor readers, please use my contact page and get in touch.
This week's question comes from Leslie, who is curious about what people spend for Christmas gifts…
I'm on a pretty tight budget as I'm still at my first job and trying to pay off my students loans as quickly as possible. This will be my first Christmas with my husband and new baby (it was a big year!) and I want to make it special. However, I don't know what is considered reasonable to spend on gifts and decorating. Plus, I don't know what I should expect when it comes to giving gifts for his family. I know this isn't super-investing related, but I'd love to know what you and your readers think the average Christmas spending for a family is?
Leslie, thanks for the great question! I don't just answer investing questions, and remember my motto: Get Out of Debt, Start Saving, Build Your Investments. Looks like you're right between #1 and #2.
First, I thought it would be interesting to share the results from the National Retail Federation about how much people spent in 2011. This is a great starting point, but it may not fit your exact needs:
Average Amount Spent on Gifts: $515.94
Average Amount Spent on Decor: $46.73
Average Amount Spent on Holiday Food: $96.75
I thought these amounts for gifts and food were pretty reasonable, but decor was low. If you're celebrating your first Christmas, chances are you'll spend a little more on this category because you're decorating your own place for the first time. However, this may go down a lot in future years since you'll typically reuse the same decorations.
However, let's open it up to readers and see what they have to say about the average amount spent during Christmas.
How much do you typically spend on your family during Christmas?