Buying Gifts: Budget Tips For Any Occasion

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Is buying gifts one of your major budget busters?

No surprise – it’s one of the easiest categories to overspend on!

Do you want ideas on how you can approach buying gifts and stay within budget?

Today, I am going to highlight how my household approaches this exact process.

For me, it’s all about being more intentional.

I will also outlay how to implement a savings plan to make the process that much easier for the whole family.

These tactics can easily be applied to your own lifestyle to keep your gift-giving budget manageable.

Let’s get started!

budget tips for buying gifts

Buying Gifts: Budget Tips For Any Occasion

#1 – Utilize gift-giving lists.

A few years back, my husband and I incorporated gift-giving lists.

This tactic was a gamechanger. No more guesswork as to what the other person wants.

This exponentially increases the likelihood that the receiving party will actually USE the gift.

It’s a win-win!

An easy way to fill out your gift list is to think about what you WANT. These may be items that you don’t necessarily want to buy for yourself.

For instance, you may want to try out a subscription, but you’re on the fence about buying it yourself, so you think – why not put it on my gift list!

#2 – Set a gift-giving limit for each person.

Do you mindlessly spend on gifts because it is a special occasion or holiday? *me a few years ago*

$100 here.

$100 there.

$150 here.

$200 there.

You get the point – this all adds up.

How about setting a spending limit so that you don’t overspend on certain gifts.

There may be different amounts for each person (ie. $50 for family members / $25 for friends…and so on).

(There is a printable that you can sign up for at the end of this article that will help you do just that!)

In my household, the gift-giving dollar amount is normally $50/person for each holiday.

If you need some ideas – visit the gift guide I curated for the millennial woman + beyond – All $50 and under!

Let’s move into the topic of buying gifts for family members!

#3 – Group gift-giving.

I believe I have the perfect formula that works well for my household.

In prior years, I used to feel obligated to purchase at least one item for each person on my gift-giving list. Nowadays, I have started buying group gifts for each group on my list.

The way I proceed in making this work is considering what each household would enjoy collectively. What do you think would be the answer at the end of this rainbow?


Ahem, food…


Everyone has to eat and it makes a rather great gift when the food is delicious.

Naturally, I resort to purchasing delectable desserts in the form of coffee cakes, pastries, or chocolate-filled croissants.

From time-to-time savory options make the list if they are crowd-pleasers. It’s great for groups of people AND for my wallet.

Plus, it’s super simple to peruse online, choose the right product, and have it sent directly to the recipients.

Since it is an edible product, the delivery is a matter of a few days. Furthermore, because delivery can be troublesome during the holiday season, I have less to worry about as perfect timing is not necessary.

In the case of my recipients, what arrives is a sweet concoction that can be enjoyed prior to, during, and after the joyous occasion. How easy and satisfying is that?!



With any type of purchase, check out Ebates to get more value for what you are already paying! They have an array of retailers under their umbrella – and sometimes they offer double cash back which could be up to 10%!

Get $10 with a $25 purchase with my link. Visit my resources page to learn how it works and for other offers!

 ♦ Group Gift Options

Do you need suggestions on what gifts would be practical to give to multiple people while still abiding by your budget?

Here is my list of online retailers I have used to gift edible treats in the past and come highly recommended:

• QVC (food section)

• Murray’s Cheese

• Godiva

• The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg

Keep in mind, the price range varies considerably, but there are many options that may have a place in your budget. If you are needing specific recommendations, let me know!

Does anyone else think a sweet treat sounds really good right about now?

#4 – Buy throughout the year OR Sell one item for each item purchased.

If you are a planner, it always helps to purchase goods throughout the year when they are at their cheapest.

If one of your gift recipients wants a snuggly scarf (or you know they love scarves) buy them as winter is ending.

You may be able to get a good enough deal to get a couple of them – whoops, one for you?!

Not quite the planner? That’s ok! Consider selling one item for each good that is purchased in your household. Not only does this offset your cost, it ensures there is no excess build-up that gets stored elsewhere.

#5 – Set-up a savings plan + free gift-savings tracker.

You may enjoy purchasing one gift for each person on your list or giving the kiddos one too many gifts to open – and that’s ok!

There’s room for it all if you make the proper adjustments and it doesn’t break the budget.

A way you can do this with minor effects on the budget is to set up a savings plan.

First, start by considering how much you plan on spending on gifts for the year.

Take that amount and divide it by 12. If I were to use this methodology, let’s say my total gift budget is $600 divided by 12 – that’s $50.

Allocating $50/month into a separate account will leave my household more than enough funds for gift-giving throughout the year.

Secondly, transfer this money into a holding account each month so it’s off-limits to only buy gifts.

Essentially, that means – set it and forget it! I transfer my funds to a holding account that I use for the sole purpose of collecting cash for buying gifts. It’s helped me feel like I have “found” money when it’s just me being responsible – right?


If you start this at the beginning of the year and start saving $X/month, you will have the funds to reimburse yourself throughout the year.

If at the end of the year the account is depleted that means you were successful in incorporating a gift-giving savings plan! Furthermore, this assures there won’t be a money hangover once the special occasion or holiday passes.

Buying gifts with no lingering worries – wouldn’t that be nice?

Gift savings
Get yours below! It comes 4-per page so you can save for each and every person (or group) on your list.


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The Bottom Line

Gift-giving should be a happy time when you carefully think about what you would like the recipient to receive – from YOU.

In summary, ideas for gift-giving in the future can include an eye for quality over quantity, group giving, and planning ahead for must-give gifts.

Having lots of prezzies to open on that special occasion is fun for a half day, but then when the bills come rolling in, it makes it all the less appealing.

Take your time and consider if the savings you would accumulate from each of these options would make it worthy of a second look, and proceed accordingly.

Full-Time Dollars

Read more about my mission HERE.

Ways to stretch your money further + earn extra cash:

Ebates – receive $10 when you spend $25 (online/in-store shopping)

Ibotta – receive $10 as a welcome gift (grocery in-store shopping)

Visit my resources page for more information on each service and to view other offers!

Check out my resource page for more offers!

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Readers, do you have any nifty gift-giving ideas? How are you saving money in this area? Please share with the community in the comments below!

Photo cred: Pixabay
Last edit 5/2/2018


  • Damn Millennial

    Quality over quantity for sure! Nothing is worse then giving something to someone that they wont care about by the end of the month. If you are going to give a gift make sure it is something that will be well received and the person will be so much more grateful…this doesn’t necessarily mean more money either.

    • Full-Time Dollars

      Yes sir, it certainly doesn’t have to cost much to get something of quality. I joke with my husband about how easy it is to shop for me. Just go to Sephora, go to skincare, close your eyes, turn round and round, and likely I will be happy with the item he sees once his world stops spinning.

      On the other hand, it’s realllllllllly hard to shop for guys, that’s why I need that list..!

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