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my infamous holiday gifting budget spreadsheet

For most, Autumn likely signals the start of pumpkin spice lattes, leaves changing and sweater weather, but for me, it's my cue to pull out my Holiday Gifting Budget spreadsheet and start shopping for the perfect gifs for the people I love most.

I don't know about you but I have A LOT of people to shop for. And although gift cards are fun to receive (who doesn't love picking out their OWN present from you, and you don't even have to BE there!), I am not typically a 'buy a few gift cards and call it a day' type of gal. I like to take my time, pick up something here, and a few weeks later find another thing there, and then a week after that I'll buy part three of your gift that will tie the whole thing together.

*Disclaimer: due to us being out of town this holiday season, you may receive a gift-card from me. Handpicked, curated gifts will resume in 2018.

The problem with being a self-proclaimed thoughtful gift-giver, is that it can get expensive. So initially, I started tracking what I bought and how much I spent out of pure necessity. I was fresh out of college, living with my boyfriend (now husband), and trying to figure out how to make the holidays pencil.

First line of attack? Start shopping EARLY. The earlier you start, the more paychecks that will come in before Christmas, right? Hence my 'start shopping in the fall' mind-set.

Second? Set a budget!

But because of my ambitious gift-giving tactics and long list of people to give said gifts to, I found myself struggling to stick to that budget while also keeping track of:

A) Who I had already bought for and who was still left

B) How much I had already spent on each person and how much I had left for those part twos and part threes that would make for the perfect and most thoughtful presents.

And that's when my Holiday Gifting Budget spreadsheet was born!

It's infamous because I have shared the excel doc with various friends, neighbors and co-workers throughout the years (remember the part about me being a sharer?) and I've gotten nothing but rave reviews from relieved gift givers who finally have some order to their holiday shopping!

How it Works

The spreadsheet is organized as follows -- list of names on the left-hand side, followed by the dollar amount budgeted for each person. As you fill in the gifts you purchase and price associated with each, your total and funds available will calculate on the right-hand side.

I even added a column that allows you to track which gifts are wrapped, along with a separate table to the right (not pictured) where you can keep track of gifts you/your family receive and thank you notes written. I also like to keep the tab from the previous year so I can look back and see what I purchased / who I purchased for in previous years.

Hope this tool helps make the holidays a little less hectic and allows you to purchase all of those thoughtful gifts without blowing your budget. Happy shopping!


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