We have 20 nieces, nephews, step-nieces and step-nephews. I feel it's important for each of them to know that they are remembered and loved. I'm also on a quest to be the favorite aunt :)
When we first started having nieces and nephews, we didn't have children and both of us were working. So we were able to spend a little more on their birthdays and Christmas. But over the years, the numbers to buy for have grown and I stopped working outside of the home. Now that we are up to 20 (!) and have 2 of our own children, we were finding it very expensive to buy presents and ship them.
For several years, my husband's side of the family would gather in the summer. I would work hard before that gathering and send each family home with their Christmas presents during this gathering. Because the birthdays were all fall/winter birthdays, I would also get their birthday presents ready and send with them too. But as the kids get into school and money has gotten tighter, not everyone is coming every summer. Plus this last year, my life was so crazy I didn't get everything ready in time for those who did come to visit. So we had to come up with a new plan.
The plan - Generally, I have spent $5 - $10 on each niece/nephew (includes the steps) for each event. The exception is when they turn 8, I spend a little more because I make them a crocheted afghan. Love's job pays him twice each month so 24 times each year. With 20 nieces and nephews, we've added a birthdays budget. Each payday, I set aside a $5 bill into an envelope. Then when a birthday approaches, I go to Dollar General and buy a birthday card (I try to buy for the next month, not just the next birthday). I add a $5 bill, address the envelope and get it mailed.
I'm not perfect at sending the cards on time but getting better. Teenagers may not be happy at only getting $5 but it's more than $0 :) And it's what I can afford. Now my kids have 7 aunts and uncles so if even only half of them sent them $5, they'd be able go buy something very nice. Not that we expect others to follow our example and we've taught our daughters to not EXPECT any presents and to be THANKFUL for any and all presents they receive.
This $5 budget for birthdays Works for Me. Now I just have to figure out a less expensive way to send Christmas presents.
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38 minutes ago