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3 Steps to Eliminate Surprise Gift Expenses

Christmas is not an emergency!  I know, I know... That should be common sense right?  But here's the thing... We are way too busy in our culture and we often just roll with the punches when it comes to covering the cost of gifts, and that is why this is one of the Top 2 areas of spending that people completely underestimate.  This week I'm going to show you a 3 step process I use to always be on top of ALL the gifts and not just Christmas, and if you use this process on average you will consistently beat your goal.

1.  List All the Occasions

This can be an empowering moment.  Rather than listing everything and thinking "Wow, all of this??" you instead can realize "Yeahhhhh... there's NO way we are doing all of this."  Information is power and you can't make quality decisions without quality information.  So, start by listing every single occasion you usually buy a gift for.  ALL OF THEM.

  • Valentine's Day
  • Mother's/Father's Day (don't forget yourselves if you are parents!)
  • Graduations
  • Baby Showers
  • Weddings and their showers/jack & jill's/stag parties
  • St. Patty's Day?

The point is... if you buy a gift for this occasion (even if it's just a card!!) LIST IT.

2.  Know Your Peeps

Next, go occasion by occasion and list under each all the people you have decided you will buy a gift for. Birthdays Dad Mom Aunt Suzy etc. Weddings Joe & Sally Winston & Shaniqua etc. Again, this can be an empowering moment where you have to prioritize your dollars.  Don't be roped into the thinking that everyone has to get a gift.

3.  Know Your Numbers

Now, make one last pass through the list and give each person a budget you will spend for that occasion. Birthdays Dad - $30 Mom - $30 Aunt Suzy - $20 etc. Weddings Joe & Sally - Shower $20 (smaller registry item), Wedding - $100 (larger registry item to prioritize what's left that they really need) Winston & Shaniqua - Shower $30, Wedding - $50 etc. Here's a secret.  With each of these mini-budget amounts it doesn't have to be just ONE gift!  Your dad's birthday budget could be 1 big thing or 3 different smaller things or whatever!  Ultimately, make sure to stay in budget. Lastly, don't forget to include the costs of cards and any shipping to wherever the recipients live if you won't be seeing them in person.

Bonus Tip

Don't be controlled by the seeming overwhelming amount of gifts you feel obligated to say yes to getting.  Speak up for yourself and when working on a tighter budget get creative! I'll never forget a story I heard about someone getting out of debt years ago and they decided "Ok, Christmas this year is a craft!"  They put lots of thought and prayer into it and chose some $10 frames, picturesque landscape photos, and then inscribed on the photo with a silver or gold ink pen a special saying or Scripture that they felt would be relevant to that person. The next year they picked back up with more typical kinds of gifts and time moved on.  25 years later when they visit these friends take a guess what gift is still sitting on the mantle?  Yup, that craft. You see, the real purpose of a gift is to give something thoughtful and personal, and they nailed that. So, as you do this exercise and take control of this runaway spending category keep in mind what the heart of giving is all about.   Question: What tips do you have for getting creative with your gift giving and how have the tips today empowered you to take control of your gift expenses?  Share in the comments below!


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Just a couple pieces of information and we'll have you on your way to saving an average of $200/mth!