How To Give Holiday Gifts On A Budget

How To Give Holiday Gifts On A Budget | The Loaded Pig

Most people tend to spend more during the holidays due to purchasing gifts, traveling and hosting family and friends. Although it’s a joyful time, your spending can get out of control before you know it. The best way to avoid overspending during the holiday season is to plan ahead and do your best to not veer from your budget. To make this even easier, we have included a holiday gift giving budget spreadsheet.

Start Your Gift Giving Budget or Use Ours

For most people, the majority of the money they will spend during the holidays is on gifts. The best way to manage your gift giving budget is to make a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for. Try to cover all of your bases so that you don’t leave someone out and have to diverge from your budget later on. Consider family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, kids’ teachers, your boss and hosts of holiday parties you will be attending. It may be helpful if you make the list and then return to it a day or two later with a fresh mind to make sure you have included each person you will be shopping for.

Decide The Maximum To Spend On Each Person

Next, add that list of people to a spreadsheet, like Excel or Google Sheets, and next to each name add the maximum amount of money you can spend on that person. Here is our holiday gift giving budget spreadsheet in Excel for you to download to simplify the process. This is what it looks like:

How To Give Holiday Gifts On A Budget | Gift Giving Budget Spreadsheet | The Loaded Pig

If you don’t know how much you can spend on each person, one way to start is to decide how much you can spend on gifts in total and divide that by the total number of people. For example, if your max gift giving budget is $300 and you plan to buy gifts for 8 people then the average you can spend per person is $37.50.

Remember the objective is to avoid overspending, so don’t put $100 for someone if you can only afford to spend $50 on them. It doesn’t make sense to spend the same amount on your parent or child as on your neighbor, so use the average as a benchmark and raise or lower it accordingly for each person. Once you have come up with an amount for each person make sure the total amount is not over what you can comfortably afford.

Use Your Budget While You Shop

If you’re like me and shopping online is your favorite way to shop, having this spreadsheet open can help you compare brands and prices when searching for presents. If you go shopping in person, have the spreadsheet open on your phone or print it out so that your budget for each person is top of mind and you are less likely to overspend.

Customize our holiday gift giving budget spreadsheet to your friends/family and then use it to manage your spending. Try to make a promise to yourself that you will not spend more than your budget. If you remember later on that you forgot someone on your list, consider if you really need to get a present for them. Maybe you forgot them for a reason! All jokes aside, see if you can spend less on someone on your list to even out with the gift you will give this new person.

Stick To Your Gift Giving Budget

Hopefully this gift giving budget will ease some of your worries about holiday spending and help you stick to your budget. You have the tools you need, it’s all in your hands now. Last words of advice: be smart with your shopping and look for sales and coupons instead of paying the regular prices for gifts.

Having a monthly budget can help you spend more responsibly all year round. Learn more about how to create a monthly budget.

Use A Sinking Fund To Save In Advance

The holidays can be an expensive time. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars within just a couple months, you can save for the holidays a little each month with a sinking fund. This can reduce your holiday stress and take a burden off your end-of-year finances. Learn more about how to use a sinking fund to save for the holidays (or any other large purchase or financial goal) in our article, How To Use Sinking Funds To Budget For The Future.

Financial freedom begins with good habits.

Rebecca & Tiago,

Rebecca co-founded The Loaded Pig with the goal of helping people achieve their financial goals. Her passion for financial freedom has landed her on US News & World Report,, Cheapism, and many other sites. Rebecca earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami. She is currently a professor in the business department at Broward College.