Gift Giving Worksheet: Budget Today for Tomorrow’s Gifts


The Gift Giving Worksheet is part of a financial planning series called How to Make a Budget – Easy Steps for Beginners.

It’s June 21st and I already know what Carl is getting for Christmas. Actually, I know what I’ve budgeted for Carl’s Christmas gift in December, his birthday gift in March, a small Valentine’s gift in February, and a just because gifty for our anniversary in September. I also have a gift giving budget for my family and friends throughout the year.

Am I insane? OK, kinda. But I’ve found that a touch of insanity mixed with a dash of planning can help ward off expensive spends due to last minute gift giving-itis. Maybe you’ve been afflicted by this wallet-draining disease? It’s not particularly rare or unheard of. In fact, the biggest human outbreak tends to happen in late December, and smaller infections run rampant just before Mother’s Day, Valentine’s, and various other calendar days where birthdays tend to fall.

If you’ve been afflicted by last minute gift giving-itis — and most of us have — then you already know the sweat-inducing and heart-racing symptoms. Here’s a sample list just for giggles:

  • Running crazily through the mall on the eve of December 24th willing to spend anything to find something for that someone on your gift giving list.
  • Reaching for your maxed out credit card hoping that the gift purchase goes through.
  • Freaking out ’cause you forgot to send flowers, buy dinner, or celebrate that special day.
  • Dealing with a case of the financial sads January 1st because you have little idea how to cover the charges on your December credit card bill.
  • Feeling financially strapped since birthdays, Mother’s Day, weddings, and anniversaries always happen when your wallet is empty.
  • Stressing out around special occasions because you have no idea what gifts to buy.

Indeed, the symptoms of last minute gift giving-itis are dire to your dollars and deadly to a frugal lifestyle. But no worries, I have the cure.

The Gift Giving Worksheet

Using the Gift Giving Worksheet is simple. As you think of gift ideas, just add them to the list with your anticipated budget, and add the total to your Free Budget Spreadsheet.

gift giving worksheet

Download: Gift Giving Worksheet

Planning ahead for birthdays and holidays also helps you find gifts during off-season sales, make homemade gifts to save money, and plan ahead for everyone on your list. By trying this simple worksheet, you may just find that budgeting today for tomorrow’s gifts not only saves you money, but also saves you a lot of time.

My timing for writing about Christmas in June is spot on. Trent over at The Simple Dollar just posted Five Big Ways You Need to Think About Christmas … Now! So if you think that planning for Christmas in June is batty, then jump on over to Trent’s post and learn how to Kill off unwanted gift exchanges and Get the important people on your radar sooner.

If you’re stuck for gift giving ideas, then try a few of these listed suggestions.

Gift giving ideas for your budget:

Get the series, How to Make a Budget – Easy Steps for Beginners, for more free tools, tips, and downloads.

how to make a budget

Love love love,


  1. Jayan June 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Kind of off topic, dont forget to go through local flyers and internet shopping sites for finding good deal. Price match is the key to reduce the price.

  2. Bethany June 22, 2010 at 5:52 am

    I do the EXACT same thing and all my friends think I’m crazy! But who’s NOT scrambling around trying to find gifts (and money) at the last minute? Not me!

    In fact, I’ve already purchased probably a quarter of my Christmas gifts because I already have them planned out. And it’s so much easier to find great gifts when you’re thinking about them all year.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lauren June 23, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I do know people who start shopping for Christmas the year before; obviously after Christmas there are some great deals. The trick is not forgetting what you buy and where you put it :).

  4. Week in Review: Wimbledon Edition June 27, 2010 at 6:31 am

    […] uses a similar system I do for gift giving.  Download her gift-giving worksheet as a resource for your […]

  5. […] Gift Giving Worksheet from Squawk Fox. […]

  6. sabrina September 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

    am I clueless?? What am I putting into the “holiday” column??

  7. Kerry September 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    @sabrina What holiday (or event) are you planning for? Christmas, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, or Groundhog Day? Use the ‘Holiday’ column to identify the holiday, event, or occasion.

  8. Harry December 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    hello: i downloaded the f=gift giving spreadsheet. It is a pdf file.. Can you tell me how to fill it in on the computer?

    Thanks in advance.


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