Planning for Gift-Giving in 2011

by jessicaturner on February 14, 2011

I have done my gift shopping year-round since I was in high school. As I have gotten older, I have learned a trick or two. The internet makes it easier than ever to save A LOT of money, if you just plan.

This week, I will be sharing all my secrets! I hope you will enjoy this series and that it will help you to save money and give generously.

Here’s the run-down:

Monday: Making Your List and Setting a Budget: Who do you buy for during the year and determining how much you want to spend
Tuesday: Clearance Sales: The best times to buy
Wednesday: Flash Deal Sites: Easy ways to save 50% or more
Thursday: Freebies: How to get gifts for free or almost free
Friday:  Storage and Staying Organized: Keeping your gifts organized, especially with limited space
Saturday: Being Generous: Giving to those less fortunate

Okay, so let’s get started!

Lesson 1: If you don’t make a list, you will forget what you have bought and overbuy. 

I used to ue a notebook to keep track of all my gifts. However, I have upgraded to Google Docs.

This is my second year using Google Docs to keep track of all my gift giving, and I love it.

I use two simple spreadsheets for each year.

One is exclusively for Christmas gifts and the other is for all other gifts (birthday, wedding, baby, etc.) In both spreadsheets, I list all recipients, what the gift is and if they are DONE.

Lesson 2: Determine what you spent last year and what you are going to spend this year (or at least have an idea).

Budgeting is going to look different for different people.

For me, I know what the total value is that I want the gift to be (ie: $50), but my goal is to spend substantially less than that (at least 50% less). This is VERY easy when you are shopping year-round, as you will learn this week.

A lot of times, because I will get SUCH great deals, I will often give a gift valued at more than what I plan (ie: $75 instead of $50), but I do my best not to go overboard.

I do not set a budget for total gifts, but you might want to. (I once read that a blogger’s goal was to do all her Christmas shopping for $50 – she basically got everything for free or almost free!).

Instead, my goal is to spend a little each month, so that:
a) all birthday/baby/wedding gifts bought ahead of time;
b) all done Christmas shopping is done by November; and
c) we never, ever go into debt to buy a gift.

Tomorrow’s topic: shopping clearance sales!

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