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!

Today, I’ll outlay some ideas to make the process that much easier for the whole family.

These tactics can easily be applied to your lifestyle to keep your gifting budget manageable.

Let’s get started!

budget tips for buying gifts

Buying Gifts: Budget Tips For Any Occasion

#1 – Create a “Holiday Gift List”.

Follow the below steps to create your own “Holiday Gift List”:

1 – Make a list of the holidays and occasions that you’re planning to gift-give – Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, Christmas, etc.

2 – For each person (or group) on your “Holiday Gift List“, add the spending limit.

3 – Add the item(s) that you’re likely to purchase for the recipient(s).

4 – Keep an eye out for sale advertisements in-store and online for those items.

5 – When the item is a good price, pounce and buy – even if the occasion is months away.

The table below gives you an idea what the list would look like:

Anniversary x 2
List spouse5 total gifts$50/ea.3-mo. subscription
health/wellness item
$250 gift budget
Birthday x 6
Christmas x 10
List all family members16 total gifts$35/ gift (dessert)
$560 gift budget
Birthday x 5
Christmas x 5
List all friends10 total gifts$30/ea.secret santa item
3-mo. subscription
$300 gift budget

#2 – Create a “Holiday Savings Plan”.

Here’s the step-by-step of how to create your own “Holiday Savings Plan”:

1 – Take the total gift budget amount (from earlier) and divide it by 12 (or months remaining in year). From the earlier example, the total gift budget is $1,110. Divide $1,110 by 12 = $92.50/month.

2 – Transfer the money ($92.50/month) into a separate savings account solely for buying gifts. 

3 – Set it and forget it!

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.

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

#3 – Have your recipients fill out a “Gift Wish List”.

In order to ensure that your gift recipient(s) enjoy their gift, try having them fill out a “Gift Wish List“.

If the person you’re shopping for doesn’t know exactly what they want, have them fill out categories of interest – such as beauty, food, reading, etc.

Keep in mind, if you’ve decided to use a spending limit for gifts, let the gift recipient(s) know so they can be mindful of their choices. 



Are you wondering what to get your bestie, sister, spouse?

Subscription boxes are a great idea!

BIRCHBOX: For a 3-month gift subscription, it’s $45 for gals. They have options for guys, too!

FABFITFUN: For each seasonal box, it’s $49.99. There’s a discount for the yearly option.

For more info visit: The Ultimate Gift Guide For The Millennial Woman & Beyond

#4 – 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’ve 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 recipient(s).

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 many 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


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.

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

Related articles: 

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.

Ideas for gifts 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.

Get the Budget + Tracking Spreadsheet!  It comes with a 20-page guide to help you get started. It’s much more than having a “budget”. It’s about knowing where your money is going and seeing the big picture.



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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!



  • 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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