Frugal Living : Gift Calendars

Trying to learn to live frugal is definetly challenging and we often get knocked off track.  This happens to me all of the time.  We are on track, our budget is holding water and we feel like we are on the right track and then BAM!, we are hit with birthdays, holidays and of course the big one.. Christmas.  I recently read an article and I am putting it into practice.  It made so much sense to me, I just had to put it on my blog. Let’s get frugal and start saving some money by knowing what expenses are coming our way in advance.

Planning out gifts, holidays on the calendar.  It not only makes sense, it will help the less organized – like myself keep things in order.  As we get older we tend to forget things like our best friend’s birthday or our parents anniversary.

Ok, let’s get started: 


Items Needed 

  • Calendar  (I am a computer nerd so I use outlook for all my tasks)
  • Writing instrument or computer
  • Your monthly budgeting notebook or spreadsheet

The Planning Session

Part 1 – Birthdays & Anniversaries

  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Brothers and Sisters
  • Friends
  • Other Relatives

Part 2 – Holiday’s and Special Occasions

  • Christmas
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Father’s Day  (got to have this one :)   )
  • Mother’s Day
  • Easter
  • National Holidays

Filling Out The Calendar
Get our your calendar and start filling out those dates you worked so hard to create.   As you write the event on the calendar determine if you will need to buy them a present.  If you don’t usually buy uncle Bob a present for his birthday, write his name on the calendar and move on.  Once you get to a person or holiday that you will be buying a gift for, you will write their name down on the calendar and then open up your monthly budgeting notebook.  You will record that information here as well.  Since you will most likely not know what you are going to buy the person for the event, you just sent a general price range and leave yourself room to fill in possible suggestions as the year continues.

Allow yourself some extra spending on the holiday events.  You may be having a dinner and may need to bring food or drinks.  Just add a little cushion there so it doesn’t blow your budget out of whack.

Planning for the unexpected
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend on your holiday calendar, you will run into some unexpected expense.  Your child’s friends birthday party, a baby shower, etc.  To help offset this, make yourself a list of contingency occasions such as

  • Birthday Parties (unexpected)
  • Showers
  • Weddings & Engagement
  • Get Well Gifts

Using a gift calendar is also a great way to schedule out your year.  You have the year clearly laid out and will avoid that call from your best friend that slipped your mind saying ” Thanks for calling me on my birthday Yesterday “.  With this in place, your budget will avoid these pitfalls.