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Teens want expensive electronic gifts & $$ is Tight ... is this a good idea?


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Two of the boys want new iPod Touches for Christmas -- 32 GB minimum.

 

One of them has a Classic, but the on/off switch broke after 3 years and it is useless.

 

One has a 1st gen Touch, 8 GB, filled up with songs and cartoons.

 

So I am thinking of offering to buy the 32 GB touches, but they will have to chip in $100 each from their allowances.

 

That means each iPod will cost me $188. That fits within my budget if no other emergency expenses pop up. It leaves me some leeway to give them something besides these infernal, always needing to be replaced, electronic high-tech items -- like a couple of books or a bottle of bacon-flavored soda.

 

I hate giving them only one gift apiece, which is what will happen if I foot the entire bill for this. It's so different from when they were kids and we could shower them with toys on Christmas because toys didn't cost $300 or more apiece!

 

These iPods will be the last ones I buy for these boys. They are getting old enough to buy their own, but there are no jobs here, so they cannot do that right now.

 

Is this okay -- to ask them to chip in to pay for a Christmas gift? Or am I being miserly? Mean-spirited? Tacky? Kooky? Or (insert negative descriptor here)?

 

Thanks for your input.

 

RC

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How about one that's refurbished? That's what we got. It came in a new box, package exactly like the others BUT now video conference, etc since it's the previous model. Honestly, the video thing sounds like a bad idea anyway.

 

If not, I don't think it's bad to teach them that you have a Christmas budget and have to stay within it. Good example. Dave Ramsey would love you!

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I think it's OK. It's not 'miserly' to try to live within your income, it's 'responsible.' :D I am, however, a little worried about your statement that it will be OK as long as there aren't any emergency expenses; 'cause you KNOW that your washer will break down as soon as you're hoping it won't.

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I agree. Sounds generous to me, especially if they are requesting 32 MB ones. We tend not to spend that much per kid on Christmas, so even our oldest (14) wouldn't get that expensive a gift unless other family (grandparents, aunt/uncle, etc.) went in. I am finding that, as my kids get older, they are satisfied with fewer gifts if they get something they really want. Quality, not quantity, KWIM?

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I am, however, a little worried about your statement that it will be OK as long as there aren't any emergency expenses; 'cause you KNOW that your washer will break down as soon as you're hoping it won't.

 

I have $1000 saved for emergencies, but I will not use it unless there is a Real Important Emergency.

 

The washer and dryer broke permanently a year ago, and have been replaced. We bought Sears' extended warranties, as much as I hated to do that, because I was afraid they'd break and we wouldn't have the money to get them repaired.

 

My car just had another $1K work done on it last week, and has new tires, too -- so it should be okay. Same with DH's car.

 

The dog's recent vet bill has been paid. If he needs further treatment -- short of MRI's and surgery -- we can handle that. Due to his age and our experiences with having pets undergo surgery, we have decided not to go the MRI/surgery route should the vet advise it. Not that we have much choice -- we can't come up with $3K-$8K for that anyway.

 

So I can't foresee any emergencies coming up. Also, if they do, DH has a couple of bills to send out that I did not count as future probable income in the budget, just in case of emergencies.

 

I don't think any of this means we cannot afford Christmas, although it is on a much more slender budget than it used to be.

 

It does mean we can't afford to increase our planned spending, though.

 

Do you agree?

Edited by RoughCollie
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I think it's OK. It's not 'miserly' to try to live within your income, it's 'responsible.' :D I am, however, a little worried about your statement that it will be OK as long as there aren't any emergency expenses; 'cause you KNOW that your washer will break down as soon as you're hoping it won't.

 

I agree, and also worry that it's still too much to spend, considering the need to consider emergency spending. Your kids are old enough to understand/learn about spending within your/their means.

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Two of the boys want new iPod Touches for Christmas -- 32 GB minimum.

 

One of them has a Classic, but the on/off switch broke after 3 years and it is useless.

 

One has a 1st gen Touch, 8 GB, filled up with songs and cartoons.

 

So I am thinking of offering to buy the 32 GB touches, but they will have to chip in $100 each from their allowances.

 

That means each iPod will cost me $188. That fits within my budget if no other emergency expenses pop up. It leaves me some leeway to give them something besides these infernal, always needing to be replaced, electronic high-tech items -- like a couple of books or a bottle of bacon-flavored soda.

 

I hate giving them only one gift apiece, which is what will happen if I foot the entire bill for this. It's so different from when they were kids and we could shower them with toys on Christmas because toys didn't cost $300 or more apiece!

 

These iPods will be the last ones I buy for these boys. They are getting old enough to buy their own, but there are no jobs here, so they cannot do that right now.

 

Is this okay -- to ask them to chip in to pay for a Christmas gift? Or am I being miserly? Mean-spirited? Tacky? Kooky? Or (insert negative descriptor here)?

 

Thanks for your input.

 

RC

 

I'm being very generous and buying all my dear daughters new snow shovels this year, since they wore out the old ones last year.:D

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I am finding that, as my kids get older, they are satisfied with fewer gifts if they get something they really want. Quality, not quantity, KWIM?

 

Yes, I KWYM. There really isn't much my boys want, other than iPods and video games.

 

I like to give them more than one gift. It is just so frustrating when what they want -- iPods, laptops, X-box, and one wants an iPhone -- is so far out of my price range. Now, they know we can't afford most of that stuff -- but I know they want it. I am not deaf. :-)

 

DD is a different kettle of fish. She never has a list because she always likes what I select for her. She gets lots of presents because she doesn't want all that high-tech stuff. For me, buying gifts for her is pure fun.

 

Last week, I bought the boys a video game they wanted for Christmas. It came out last week and they decided to pool their money and buy it for themselves. I sold it to them myself -- it had just come in the mail that day.

 

Video games cost around $60 each! It's maddening.

Edited by RoughCollie
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(But, I come from and married into families where adults don't get gifts for Christmas).

 

My kids aren't adults yet. :001_smile:

 

We don't exchange gifts with our extended families. So what my kids get for Christmas comes from DH & I.

 

One really great thing about having moved here, is that the vast, vast majority of families are not making much money. So my kids won't be in a situation in which nearly every classmate gets a new car and/or many expensive high-tech items. What they receive will be similar to what their friends and classmates receive.

 

That is a Big Relief!

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Would they be okay with a Zune instead? I got my 32 GB one for $180. I have no experience with an ipod touch I think they do about the same things.

 

One of the boys originally wanted a Zune. The problem is the apps -- there aren't nearly as many as are available for the iPod -- and apps are where it's at. (Forgive me, Grammar Police.)

 

He is planning to sell his new iPod (if he gets one) on Craigslist as soon as there are plenty of apps available for the Zune. This presupposes he finds a job to pay for whatever new thing he wants.

 

Last time around, he wanted a Classic and ever since he got it he has yearned for a Touch. He tends to want things that are different from what his brothers want, and then regret it. That's why I want him to have the Touch, and we talked about it at great length, too many times. His first choice is an iPhone, despite the fact that he has no one to call.

 

DS1 would never be satisfied with anything other than an iTouch -- except for an iPhone. In his dreams or after he gets a job and pays for the iPhone himself.

Edited by RoughCollie
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One of them has a Classic, but the on/off switch broke after 3 years and it is useless.

 

 

Broken Classics go for a surprising amount on eBay. I think people get them and fix them and resell them. So there's a source of some $ towards a new 'Pod.

 

Also, we've sent an iPod to Apple for repair in the past. We were very happy with the service. Perhaps it would be worth it to repair it and gift it to someone on your list who would appreciate it.

 

I *love* my Classic.

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We have a $100 cap. It used to $150, but well, it is what it is. I have 2 that want iPods. They are getting refurbished, last generation, and it will be their only gift. They know that, and they are happy with it.

 

Honestly, consensus has said that their 1 big Christmas present years were some of their best... just somethin to think about.

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Broken Classics go for a surprising amount on eBay. I think people get them and fix them and resell them. So there's a source of some $ towards a new 'Pod.

 

Thank you for telling me this. I'll pass it on to DS2; he will be thrilled. Then DH and he can handle the eBay stuff. I love ideas in which I am out of the loop when it comes to implementation.

 

Also, thanks for putting the link to your website in your sig. I bookmarked it for perusal tomorrow when I'm not so tired.

Edited by RoughCollie
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Honestly, consensus has said that their 1 big Christmas present years were some of their best... just somethin to think about.

 

My problem is that in the last several years, we have severely downsized our Christmas spending. If there is a love language for giving gifts, then that is mine. I love selecting or making gifts the recipients will love, wrapping them beautifully, seeing the happy look on their faces if possible (I don't always know the recipient) ... everything about it. The perfect career for me would be Fairy Godmother. Maybe that is a fault of mine, I don't know.

 

The kids aren't greedy at all. When the dog became paralyzed 8 days ago, they each came to me and to use the Christmas budget to pay for the vet.

 

Anyway, whatever my flaws, not having more $$ to spend at Christmastime distresses me greatly. I am trying to figure out how to make it better.

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I have done this for my son. He likes all the high technology stuff, but it is not in our budget. He generally gets $ from grandma so he can put that to it too.

:iagree: Our family does this too. DH's parents told him if he'd chip in 1/2 of the price, they'd pay the other 1/2. We do the same for son. But son is now realizing how hard he has to work to earn his share of the money. In his teen years, he is getting more frugal. LOL ;)

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Video games cost around $60 each! It's maddening.

:iagree:This is our current issue with son -- he buys himself the video games out of his own money. We have learned not to buy them for him.

 

Often, he will finish the game in a few days. He has learned to rent them or use his money for a wiser purchase from those expensive lessons. I was recently sad one time ds spent his money on a brand new DSi game he really really wanted. He had it in his DSi (he and Grandma went half/half on it a year ago...) and we went to our monthly doctor appointment down in Houston. DS accidently left it on a table in the hospital cafeteria for a moment. He went back to the table and it was stolen. OMG. That was a big lesson.

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I totally understand what you mean about gift-giving being a love language! That is totally me too. The best compliment my dad gives me is when he tells me I pick or make the perfect gift for him!

 

I think your idea is a good one, though it doesn't feel as satisfying as being able to just get the "perfect gift". What if you were to phrase it slightly differently like, "We know you've been really wanting and saving for an IPod touch, so we thought we'd contribute X amount toward that, or if you change your mind while you are saving the rest of the money for it you could purchase something else with the money or save it for something bigger." That way it gives them the opportunity to feel responsible and wise with their saving/decision making.

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But son is now realizing how hard he has to work to earn his share of the money. In his teen years, he is getting more frugal. LOL ;)

 

My kids are becoming frugal too. It's amazing how Dire Needs become Unnecessary when the kids have to buy things with their own money. My kids' allowances, which they have to earn, cover everything except winter coats, Christmas gifts, and birthday gifts. (And, as I point out to them, housing, non-junk food, medical care, utilities, transportation....)

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:iagree:This is our current issue with son -- he buys himself the video games out of his own money.

 

My kids are lucky that they are all in the same age range. Three or four want a game, so they can split the cost.

 

DD received an iPod Touch for her birthday last year. We told her not to take it to school because it could get stolen or she could lose it. The consequence would be that we would never buy her an iPod again. Sure enough, within 6 weeks, it was stolen out of her backpack during gym class (no locked lockers allowed at the gym).

 

This year, I gave her a $30 4G Sansa for her birthday. If she loses it, she can afford to replace it from her allowance. I took pity on her since she went without portable music for nearly a year. She loves it even though it isn't as fancy as an iPod. That's what I should have given her last year, but at the time DH bought it, we had no idea she would want to take it to school.

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I"We know you've been really wanting and saving for an IPod touch, so we thought we'd contribute X amount toward that, or if you change your mind while you are saving the rest of the money for it you could purchase something else with the money or save it for something bigger."

 

I thought about that. At first, we were going to give them cash for Christmas, towards an iPod or whatever else they wanted to save for or spend it on. Then I thought, since I already know they want it So Much, it would be better for them to have it on Christmas Day -- so they can mess around with it.

 

The cat will be out of the bag though -- it sure won't be a surprise. But that's the trade-off: They will either be surprised by their gifts or they will get what they really want.

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I agree, and also worry that it's still too much to spend, considering the need to consider emergency spending. Your kids are old enough to understand/learn about spending within your/their means.

 

I think that I have to be another one in this camp. I am another gift giver. I love finding the right thing that makes my kids happy.

 

But it also sounds like you don't have a comfy cushion for when life happens around you.

 

I don't doubt that your kids want an iPod touch. They are very cool. But it also seems that electronics are a particular area where there is an ever receding wave of capabilities. It is hard to have something and not be wanting after the next thing. (Trust me, I am having a real struggle not buying myself a new laptop with more memory than my current one, which is almost full.)

 

What about giving each of them a fresh $100 bill and a promise to drive them to the Apple store. Or $150 in fresh $50s if you're being more generous. Then they can decide if they want an older 8 gb, to kick in more money for the 32 gb or to make do until the prices come down again.

 

You might point our that the price points for iPods do seem to have stability, but the capability you get for the price changes. So $150 in a year might get them a lot more iPod.

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LOL (I would insert the rolling/laughing smiley here, but I changed a setting on my computer and it won't let me do smileys)
For the :lol: smiley, just type in a colon : followed directly by lol then another colon. : lol : (no spaces)

 

He is planning to sell his new iPod (if he gets one) on Craigslist as soon as there are plenty of apps available for the Zune.

:svengo: His plans may change after he has the touch for awhile. The touch is amazing, even without the apps.
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I think the idea of having them chip in is a good one. It is better to to contribute toward one item that will be used and appreciated than to purchase several that will just gather dust. I would also investigate a pp suggestion of trading in their older models. It would bring the price down some.

 

As far as loving to give gifts, can you be creative with stocking stuffers?

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What about giving each of them a fresh $100 bill and a promise to drive them to the Apple store. Or $150 in fresh $50s if you're being more generous. Then they can decide if they want an older 8 gb, to kick in more money for the 32 gb or to make do until the prices come down again.

 

You might point our that the price points for iPods do seem to have stability, but the capability you get for the price changes. So $150 in a year might get them a lot more iPod.

 

:iagree:DS wants a touch too. We told him he had to buy it himself, so he has asked the grandparents for gift cards, and we'll most likely be doing the same. He's been trying to save too. If you can't afford it and are feeling guilty, I'd just give a nice gift card for them to put towards the touch or whatever else they want. If they want it THAT badly, they'll save.

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I would definitely set a limit for yourself and allow them to chip in the rest. I agree with the refurbished route. You can stack up some real savings going that route, and you get the same warranty, etc...

 

Also, they should sell their old ipods on ebay, even the broken one. Loads of broken ipods sell very well on ebay. People buy them for the parts. My oldest son just sold an old (working) ipod nano for $40, and my other son is about to list his broken one in hopes of earning a little $.

 

My two oldest got ipod touches last year, but we didn't pay for the whole thing. To begin with, I got a great deal on Amazon, and since I bought two, I received a whopping amt. of $ off an audible.com membership (which ended being my own Christmas present.) My parents used their Christmas money toward the ipod touches, too. If you have relatives who usually give gifts and won't be offended, you could let them know your kids are wanting to pool their Christmas gifts into one item. Just a thought. The ipods ended up being from both Mom and Dad and Meme and Grandpa.

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Ordinarily I would stretch and try to accomadate a request like this especially if it was the only gift they would be receiving but this year I simply would not be able to. This year our Christmas will consist almost entirely of visiting family and enjoying the good food and company. We plan to get family pictures taken, hopefully take in a movie and exchange white elephant gifts. I think some of the kids are slightly disappointed but they seem to be taking it in stride.

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Is this okay -- to ask them to chip in to pay for a Christmas gift? Or am I being miserly? Mean-spirited? Tacky? Kooky? Or (insert negative descriptor here)?

 

[haven't read the thread yet]

 

i don't see anything wrong with that ~ as it happens, we're doing similar. dd13 wants a laptop for christmas - she has $250 saved toward the cost of one, so our plan is to put in the rest and get her something really good. she's totally on with that. :)

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When I give an expensive gift that is outside my comfort zone (ie: budget), I make it a birthday/chanukah gift.

 

My daughter got a new computer for her birthday/chanukah gift this year.

 

They swam with the dolphins (courtesy of grandma) as a birthday/chanukah gift this year.

 

We have been doing this for several years.

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:iagree:DS wants a touch too. We told him he had to buy it himself, so he has asked the grandparents for gift cards, and we'll most likely be doing the same. He's been trying to save too. If you can't afford it and are feeling guilty, I'd just give a nice gift card for them to put towards the touch or whatever else they want. If they want it THAT badly, they'll save.

 

That's how ds got his Touch - he asked for money for Christmas and paid for it himself.

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I just would say no if the item were that big a strain on my budget. I'd encourage them to save. . . and/or to ask other relatives for $$ towards the purchase. . .I might offer a portion (say $100) towards the purchase. . . so long as that allowed me some fun gift $$ left over.

 

My kids know they have to save up and buy their own expensive electronics, unless I have some ulterior motive (say the laptop we got dd13 last year which would largely be used for school). . .

 

FWIW, my ds bought his own ipod classic over 2 years ago w/ $$ he saved up for over a year. Dh & I bought both girls (one older than ds, one younger) nanos a few months later as gifts (both girls had them on the TOP of their wish lists).

 

Ds's classic is still going strong. Dd younger lost her nano w/in 6 months. Dd older was wreckless with hers, tossed it down a fllight of stairs, darkening the screen (but it was still functional for music). . . and subsequently lost it as well. So, the nanos WE bought were both lost/gone inside a year. Meanwhile, ds's classic is still going strong. Note that ds is typically our MOST forgetful loss-prone, wreckless child. I don't think this was a coincidence!

 

This has definitely reinforced my theory that kids should buy their own pricey electronics!!

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I don't see it as any different than if your kids get a giftcard and need to make up the difference because what they want is more expensive. My kids regularly do this for large purchases, including their computers. I think they appreciate and take better care of things, too, if they have a financial investment. ;)

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Buying presents for teens is expensive and difficult. My DS is 13 this year and asked for a new WACOM Intuos drawing tablet (medium at $300) and Windows 7. That's a $450 Christmas - which isn't unusually high compared to previous years (last year he went to Space Camp ~ $1200) but still - $450 bucks is a lot - especially in these lean times.

 

But the tablet is practically a school item - he has graphic art every Friday using expensive software. What good is it to have only half the tools you need? He does have a cheap tablet but it doesn't take a genius to see why one tablet is $50 and one is $300 (and that's with the academic discount).

 

Typically if there is a way to pull it off - I will buy the expensive gifts for Christmas. Kids only get one childhood so I try to make it is great as possible as often as I can.

 

There have been plenty of disappointing holidays in the past so I don't feel guilty - besides, sometimes you have to live in the moment and stop thinking about the future because futures don't come with a guarantee. :001_smile:

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My kids are lucky that they are all in the same age range. Three or four want a game, so they can split the cost.

 

DD received an iPod Touch for her birthday last year. We told her not to take it to school because it could get stolen or she could lose it. The consequence would be that we would never buy her an iPod again. Sure enough, within 6 weeks, it was stolen out of her backpack during gym class (no locked lockers allowed at the gym).

 

This year, I gave her a $30 4G Sansa for her birthday. If she loses it, she can afford to replace it from her allowance. I took pity on her since she went without portable music for nearly a year. She loves it even though it isn't as fancy as an iPod. That's what I should have given her last year, but at the time DH bought it, we had no idea she would want to take it to school.

 

Ugh. What an awful lesson. I'd be sick.

 

It makes me angry to hear about all the stuff that gets stolen from school. And I don't mean just electronics...sneakers, sweatshirts, sports equipment. Disgusting.

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Thank you all very much for your replies.

 

I have thought this over carefully and have decided to spend $188 each on the ipods for the boys, with each of them chipping in $100, to bring it up to the $288 each cost.

 

I discussed it with them and they are all for it. They would rather have the ipods than anything else, and this way we can afford it. Plus, they want them on Christmas Day.

 

After that, I've already bought each of them a book, and still have to partially fill their stockings. This year, each of us will put one thing in everyone else's stocking, so I don't have to go hog wild on stocking stuffers.

 

I don't think this is too much to spend on the kids, because they get nothing extra except on their birthdays and at Christmas. Plus, I've been saving up for Christmas all year, mostly by doing without thing myself, and I'd hate for all that sacrifice to go to waste! :-)

 

Thank you again for your replies. I really appreciate each of you taking the time to advise me.

 

RC

Edited by RoughCollie
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