I keep a fairly detailed Excel spreadsheet, with the following tabs:
- Gifts. This is where I track what I've purchased so far, and each person we buy for has their own row in Excel. Once I'm done purchasing gifts for someone, I highlight that row so I can quickly tell who I still need to shop for.
- $ Transfer. This is where I track if I owe anyone money, or someone owes me money. For example, my sister & I regularly pick up items for each other (she usually knows best what her own kids will like, and vice versa). I also usually help my mom shop for my kids, etc. We both track everything & as we near Christmas, we add it up, double-check our numbers & even things out.
- Budget. This is where I track how much I've spent. I have several columns per person - the initial budget, how much I really spent, and whether I was under/over.
- Lists. I track any ideas for people here.
- Notes. I use this section to detail any notes for the following year. For example, last year I reminded myself not to shop on Black Friday, because I primarily shopped for myself, thus wiping out any savings on my Christmas budget. :-)
- M - $100
- S (our oldest son) - $100
- N (our youngest son) - $100
- C1 (nephew) - $30
- C2 (nephew) - $30
- Grandmother - $25
- Grandmother's husband - $20
- Aunt - $25
- Best friend's child - $25
- Best friend's other child - $25
- Baking - $25
- School (teachers, etc. I donate to the PTA fund that covers my Kindergartner's class, so this will be just for my preschooler's teachers) - $50
- Christmas cards (my husband's family lives abroad, and sending gifts is cost prohibitive due to weight. Instead, we do a family photo session, and use the pictures for Christmas cards & to send prints to his family) - $100
- Team at work (I manage a small team & pick up things like a coffee gift card for my staff) - $20
- M - $25
- S - $25
- N - $15
- Nephew1 - $15
- Nephew2 - $15
Total estimated budget of everything above = $760. I like to create a slush fund in case we go over, I've forgotten any expenses, etc, so my actual budget is $1000. I try to stick to the $760 (and approximate amounts for each person), but then have a little flexibility if something comes up. I budget $333 for October, November, & December, but I try to be done by the end of November, so I may actually spend $333 in October & $650 or so in November, with hopefully no spending in December. (Fingers crossed).
Progress so far:
So far I've spent $435, and I'm approximately $50 over my budget. I have finished shopping for the following:
- M (husband)
- S (oldest child)
- N (youngest child)
- N's stocking
- S's stocking
- Friend's child1
How is your Christmas shopping going? Are you on track? On budget? A last minute shopper?