How Much Do You Budget For Gifts?

When I first came up with my budget couple of months ago, I tried to include extra costs for events that I anticipate to spend more money than our usual week, such as family member birthday, holidays, and etc. to those weeks. I did try to keep it to a minimum and thought it was quite doable. But I’m already finding out that I didn’t budget enough for gifts on other friends and unexpected events.

Let me explain furthur on how I made my budget. Since my hubby and I both get paid every other week and the incoming cash don’t line up neat and pretty with when our bills are due, it was easier for me to break all the weeks down to budget ahead to figure out how much we have to spend each week to have enough for the next bill and not be overdrawn. Does that make sense?

So our normal weekly budget is $400, but on a week that has let’s say my brother’s birthday, I added extra $150.00 and made it $550.00. You might say, “Why don’t you just change the amounts again to add some cushion?”. This is not a hard rule that needs a council meeting to change or anything. But the reason I don’t want to make changes to my budget is because this would mean that my anticipated savings or anticipated extra debt payment will have to be reduced. I guess if I budgeted like that from the beginning I would’ve been okay with it, but now that I’ve been looking at a certain number for awhile, I don’t want to lower it.

You might also say, “Why don’t you be more frugal and save more to make room for it?”. Yes, that would be ideal, but we’ve already started falling behind with my hubby’s school books and my skin care. I just purchased a couple of items and didn’t buy the drugstore brand this time. Read Should You Skimp on Skincare to find out what I’m talking about.

So, I’m going to leave my budget as it is for now and just try to be more frugal for a few weeks and see how much I can catch up. I might just have to skip some friends’ birthday gatherings. We do have another wedding that we got invited to (not for a few months), so I’ll try to put aside money for that. I’d rather skip a birthday party than a wedding.

How much do you guys budget for gifts? How do you make up for the money overspent due to unexpected expenses?

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11 thoughts on “How Much Do You Budget For Gifts?

  1. I actually don’t buy birthday gifts to anyone except my bf, and even then it’s like a $50 massage or something. But for weddings and showers, I’ll just carve it out ahead of time or lately I’ve been selling stuff and instead of putting it into my debt I put it into my gift “budget.’

    • I didn’t realize how much I spend on everthing until I think I budgeted everything I needed to and I didn’t. I need to budget ahead, cut what I can, and figure out alternative ways to make money or replace monetary gift. Just when I thought this budgeting things was getting easy~^^

  2. We budget for gifts on a monthly basis, and have found that this approach works for us. Most of our gift-giving happens on a recurring basis (birthdays, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Christmas), so the expense is cyclical. A lot of our friends/family members are getting married, so we definitely have to budget for that (three weddings so far in the next 12 months — and we’re in the bridal party for two of them!). The biggest unknown for us are baby gifts. Some of our cousins/friends have started having children, and I forgot to factor baby gifts into our budget. But I’ve starting giving handmade baby gifts (mobiles or custom name signs), so that cuts down on the expense a little.

    Once I started budgeting for gifts, I was surprised by how quickly it adds up. For us, it definitely helps us to budget separately for gifts so that we know how much we’re spending.

    • I’ve been to 3-5 weddings every year for the past 5 years. I don’t even have a lot of friends, but I end up going to a lot of weddings. It’s definitely a huge chunk. I need to plan better and figure out handmade gifts like you, which is a great idea with personal touch.

  3. it takes a while to get to a place where you’re comfortable with your “budget.” At the beginning, random purchases like gifts would drive me nuts. Then I figured I would have a budget for them ie $50 every month. But that never worked bc we had gifts all the time that needed to be bought. Now, I budget for the hard and fast stuff, like debt payments, bills, all the fixed costs stuff. Everything else is flexible. It’s made our life much easier.

  4. I have nine nieces and nephews and they all get a $10 bill for their birthdays. Cheap, I know….but there are so many of them! For Christmas, I usually spend $10-$15. For my own kids, I don’t spend very much and I often buy them used stuff. They are only 3 and 1 so they don’t know the difference yet =)

    • I don’t even had kids and I don’t know why I have so many gifts to buy? I need to reevaluate the amount and frequency of gifts and of course, tweak my budget too.

  5. Pingback: 1 Year Blogoversary | Michelle's Finance Journal

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