Making a plan for your holiday spending is the last step of pre-planning for you holiday gifts. You’ve already made a written budget but now you need to tell that budget where to go. You can’t do that if you don’t make a specific plan for what to spend it on. If you learn nothing else throughout this entire series, I want you to learn this: If you don’t control your holiday spending, your holiday spending will absolutely control you.
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Once you’ve gotten your budget broken down by the people on your list and know your holiday gift options it is time to start brainstorming gift ideas. Whether you are planning to buy or DIY, you need to develop a list of specific gift ideas for each person to prevent going over budget. To do this, think about each person’s likes such as:
- His or her favorite things
- Also his or her sizes (if you know them)
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Now that you have an idea of what everyone is interested in, it’s time to think about batch gifts since these will save you the most money. While normally when we think of batch gifts we think of homemade (which we will cover later in the series), don’t limit yourself to this thinking. You can buy batch gifts as well. You can get discounts for buying items in bulk and you can also purchase an item set that you then break down into multiple gifts. Some examples would be:
- Gift Cards
- Cases of Wine
- Canvas or Art Packs
- Jewelry Sets
- Essentially Any Gift Set (for instance, if a lot of the men on your list are fans of the same sports team, you can purchase a gift set that has a travel mug, t-shirt, and ball cap which you then break up into three separate gifts)
Determine Your Ratio of Buy, Thrift, and DIY
To determine what balance of the 3 holiday gifts options is right for you, you must first look at your gift idea list and your budget. Your ratios could look like:
- Buying 1 gift for each person and DIY-ing the rest
- Purchasing every gift
- An entirely thrifted holiday
Whatever combination you choose, it should reflect not only your gift budget but also your time budget. You cannot reasonably choose to make all of your gifts when you work full-time, have 3 kids in 3 different extra-curricular activities, and have 2 upcoming trips before the holidays. You simply don’t have the time to make everything (unless you started back in January). Be honest with yourself about you availability when deciding your gift giving style.
Have Concrete Ideas
You don’t have to strictly adhere to them but you need to have specific ideas written under every name on your list. I also recommend denoting whether it is B (buying), T (thrifting), or D (DIY). This will give you a clearly picture of what you need, including available time. This also gives you a concrete list of items you are looking for so that you can achieve the best deal possible. I also recommend carrying this list with you all of the time from now until you’ve completed it. You never want to have to second guess whether you need something or not (including supplies for DIY gifts). If you buy a gift or the supplies to make a gift, make a note on your gift planner. This will make it easy to keep track of.
Complete all of the steps laid out in this series and you are well on your way to a budget-friendly holiday. It is so important to get this foundation in place so that you have a clear goal and also a specific direction for your spending. Next, we will talk about some tips for keeping your spending on track. These will help you fight impulse buying and keep your hard-earned money in your wallet!