Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Getting Your Year Into Gear - The Gift Giving Budget

As part of my  budget revising  time in January each year,  I like to take a look at the gift giving budget.  For me,  January is a quieter time of the year with fewer cleaning jobs to go to,  weather restricting some outings / housework and fewer social commitments.

My gift giving list is written into an exercise book ( one of those 5 cent ones ).  On one page I write the birthdays and occasions in order as they happen throughout the year.  For example,  Megan's birthday is in January so her name is always first on the list.  Then Valentines Day in February,  my Dad's birthday in March and so on.

On the opposite page in the exercise book I write a list of all the people I give Christmas presents to.  This list  includes Kris Kringle gifts for Darren's work,  my card making group and extended family gatherings.  The Kris Kringle names might not be known until very late in the year but I like to have a spot to fill in when the time comes.

After the lists are written out,  I draw up a budget for each person and occasion on a separate page.  For example,  on Valentines Day Darren and I only spend $5 each.  This might not seem like much but it's enough to buy a little chocolate treat.  I make cards so we know to grab one from the box.  Easter we spend $20 in total.  For extended family members we might spend $5 - $10 each for birthdays and Christmas.

Once the budget is written out,  I try to reduce it here and there.  Some people we don't see any more so a gift is not really needed.  Sometimes the people on the list say they don't really need ' things ' to fill their house.  If that's the case,  I reduce their budget and make a jar of biscuits,  or give a jar of jam.  Both presents cost next to nothing yet the receiver absolutely loves them.

Once the budget is written out,  I add it all up,  then divide it by 12 to give me the monthly amount I need to put aside.  I shop all year round so I need the money all year round.  Not just in December.

Getting back to the names on the lists,  beside each name on both pages,  I write in any presents I might already have on hand.  These can include fantastic op shop finds ( new or near new items ),  regifted presents ( when appropriate ) and other goodies I've bought during sales all year round.

Sometimes I look at the list and shop from home to fill in the spaces.  For example Aunt Bertha ( not real ) would love some new hanging tea towels.  So I write it in because I can make it or I already have them made up.

Remember,  budgets are not set in stone.  They should be flexible to suit any occasion that arises.

Here's a quick guide for the gift budget -

*  Write a list of names and occasions.

*  Write a budget for each person / occasion.

*  Check your present cupboard for gifts already purchased.

*  Make or bake what you can.

*  Reduce the names on the list if possible.

*  Reduce the amount for each person where possible.

*  Regift or op shop if suitable to reduce the budget. 


  1. I make a list too but I don't do valentine's day or Easter. Instead I buy the grandchildren pajamas for Easter as its cheaper than buying them eggs. The pajamas are usually around $12 a pair.

    1. We did the same when our girls were little. We bought a book each too.

  2. Thanks for some very helpful advice Wendy. I will certainly start a gift book of my own. You always have such practical advice.
    I have chatted to several people about Secret Santa, or Kris Kringle. We have one in our family and the most we spend is $40. A lot of money I know but a lot less than spending out on each person. Some people have told me they spend $50 and even one said they spend $150. That’s silly in my opinion. I have always thought that the spirit of the gift is far more important than the cost. My home is full of things that have been made for me and I cherish every one.
    I hope you are getting cooler temps now, you have certainly sizzled this summer. We are in the SW of WA and it’s been a very mild summer, thankfully.

  3. I so agree it is so much easier when you have a list to buy from. My partner is getting two as new CDs from Savers and a home made cake normally i would spend about 30$ and make a cake. The CDs were $2 each less 20% and the cake mix is from my stockpile. As im having a buy nothing new year i asked him to buy me only used goods when we were at Savers he found 7 Seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer they were $5 each after discount he paid 28$ all up. Hes happy and i'm really, really happy! We used to have a date night once every 6 weeks at the movies it probably cost around fifty or sixty dollars. Now we drop into Savers when we go to the market pick up a DVD for $2, a packet of chips and a box of Coles cone ice creams and we spend around $9. It works out cheaper than getting a movie on loan from the library as we use public transport and to return the movie would cost us more in a fare than we spend buying a movie. It is our new once a month date night. Have a great week everyone and Happy Valentines Day. Leanne.

  4. We have 6 children 3 boys and 3girls, and now have SIL's and 3 DIl's, and 5of the couples have 27 children between them, ranging in age from 18 down to 1 year old.
    We allow $20per person for each person and $100 per family for Christmas.
    I average out this total over 26fortnights , we are pensioners, and we manage this quite well.
    This year's birthday presents are bath towels, and I have found some very nice ones at
    Target for $15 each, I will decorate/trim all the towels, differently to
    make them all personal to each recipient.
    Cheers, Lorraine

  5. What a great idea. I try and keep a separate drawer for gifts, but I forget what I have.

  6. Debby in Kansas, USA14 February 2019 at 08:40

    I buy very few gifts during the year as we have no kids & no relatives to shop for. I send my brother money because he's severely disabled and often runs short each month. My husband and I do very small gifts for VD and Easter and we certainly aren't the big Christmas spenders the stores love lol. I make the gifts for a few good friends. I cant' imagine having to work a budget for a large amount. A dear friend of mine spends over $1000 for Christmas alone. I'm so frugal, it would give me hives!

  7. This is such good information; I need to really guard my gift giving budget as I tend to go overboard in spending on others. I love giving, I just need to be more deliberate and careful with my spending. Thank you for this post! Love, Teresa


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