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.