Will the 4 Gift Rule Work for Your Family this Christmas?
Disclosure: This article contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For a full explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page for more information.
Every Christmas parents struggle with what to get their kids for Christmas. It can be a challenge to find or often, afford the ‘perfect’ gift. It can also be easy to lose sight of your budget when you’re out shopping and come home with considerably more than your kids need. I like to use the 4 gift rule for Christmas as a way to guide my shopping and save money. Whether you’re on a budget or just trying to discourage materialism in your family this holiday season, you might want to consider the four gift rule this Christmas.
The 4 gift rule has been circling the Internet the past few years. I do not know the origin but there are a few variations of it. The idea is that you buy your children no more than four gifts for Christmas, to help simplify shopping and not overwhelm your children.
what is The 4 Gift Rule?
The four gift rule sounds difficult. It’s not. It makes shopping simple, and can keep you from overspending. Here’s how the 4 gift rule for Christmas works:
1. You buy something they want
2. You buy something they need
3. You buy them something to wear
4. You buy them something to read
My husband and I have gone back and forth trying to decide if we are going to follow the 4 gift rule or just put money in their investment accounts instead.
I know we are just a few days away from Christmas, but we still haven’t decided what we’re doing yet. (Thank God for Amazon two day shipping amiright?)
If you like shopping on Amazon (or other stores for that matter), make sure to use shopping portals like Ibotta or Swagbucks to get cash back (up to 10% in some categories) plus a free $10 just to start.
It’s easy for us to have a small and frugal Christmas because our children are very young, and they won’t remember anything. They can’t even rip presents open, although they are extremely adept at trying to eat any kind of paper they can get their hands on.
We’ve opted to wrap a few gifts they’ve received from friends and family. They recently got baptized and a few people sent them gifts for that, which we just put under the tree.
One thing to add is that if you are considering the 4 gift rule for older kids this Christmas, you may encounter some disappointment, especially if they are used to getting more presents at Christmas or have friends who will be getting far more gifts than four under the tree.
Use it as an opportunity to encourage thankfulness and help them understand the importance of living on a budget.
Help them see that you are still giving them something (up to four somethings in fact) and are being responsible with your money so that you can help them later in life – like helping pay for college or a car or something else that they will appreciate much more when the time comes than more junk now that they’d just end up giving or throwing away.
The beauty of the four gift rule for Christmas is that you can modify it to fit your family. Gifts can get expensive, especially with older children; so, if you have multiple older children don’t feel bad buying just two gifts instead of four to fit your overall spending within your budget.
With that said, here are some examples of Christmas gift ideas for kids using the 4 gift rule.
4 gift rule ideas for kids
If you’ve always bought a lot of Christmas gifts for your children, it may be difficult to narrow down what to buy. Below are four gift rule ideas for kids you can use for your family.
1. Something they want: A nice, wooden toy
2. Something they need: Put money in their investment accounts. Ally Invest is a great option if you don’t already have an account. Ally Invest offers custodial accounts and the lowest price in the industry – $4.95 per trade, with no minimum balance requirement.
3. Something to wear: A puppet or socks since they have so. many. clothes.
4. Something to read: Any book that has something interactive in it. My son could watch me open and shut the little windows on Brown Bear, Brown Bear all day long.
1. Something they want: A play kitchen to use in their play room
3. Something to wear: Dress up clothes
4. Something to read: Something inspirational or memorable.
**Related – check out Amazon’s 12 Days of Deals for deals on gifts for your family!**
For Older Children
1. Something they want: A new bike to ride around your neighborhood.
2. Something they need: The musical instrument they’ve been practicing in school.
3. Something to wear: The sneakers everyone has but you swore you wouldn’t buy.
4. Something to read: An entire series they can enjoy during their winter break.
1. Something they want: A cell phone so they can talk with their friends.
3. Something to wear: A gift card to their favorite clothing store
4. Something to read: A new series, a magazine subscription (Amazon has some good ones to select) or something that has to do with their career aspirations.
If all else fails for a teenager, you can also buy them an American Express gift card to use on something they want to get themselves.
You can also get them an experience through Living Social if you’d rather get them something and not just cash.
Benefits of using the 4 gift rule for christmas
The main benefit of using the four gift rule for Christmas is it makes shopping much simpler, especially if you have a larger family. We find that having different categories to direct our shopping helps us buy items kids can actually use and enjoy.
Another benefit of using the 4 gift rule is it makes receiving presents much simpler for the child. If you have grandparents, and other family members who buy them presents it’s easy for your children to get overwhelmed with presents. By utilizing a system like the four gift rule you cut down on the presents, letting your child enjoy each present more.
The final benefit of the rule is straightforward – it can save you money in certain circumstances. Having a budget for holiday spending is great, but the 4 gift rule gives it a little more meat to help keep your spending in check. If you don’t have either it can be easy to overspend and end up carrying debt into the new year.
I’m starting to notice that kids get more expensive as they get older. However, you’ll notice that outside of these four gifts, there’s really not much else you would get your children.
The four gift rule really cover all the bases, and they can limit you from going over the top.
The best part is that the 4 gift rule for Christmas still allows for some nice splurges except they are concentrated in just one or two items. You can also do the bulk of your shopping on Amazon. If you’re like me and love to shop on Amazon, check out our guide on ways to save money on Amazon this Christmas to save even more money.
Please remember the above suggestions are merely options. You can customize the 4 gift rule to your budgetary needs and particular situation.
Would the 4 gift rule work for your family? Would your children revolt if you instituted the four gift rule this Christmas? Do you have a method you follow to stay within budget on your holiday spending?
Latest posts by Cat (see all)
- Should You Compare Your Money Situation to Other People? - June 29, 2018
- 9 Legit Ways to Run Errands for Money - June 22, 2018
- 6 Creative Ways to Save Money this Summer - June 15, 2018