At the beginning of each year, I plan my budget for the year. I probably should wait until my annual review and raise comes along, but since that’s not guaranteed, now is as good a time as any I guess.
One of my budget categories is gifts. In order not to break the bank for gift giving, I take a set amount of of the bank from each pay check. I have a “gift” budget envelope. I buy almost all of our gifts (except Christmas presents) from this envelope – birthday presents, weddings presents, teacher gifts, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.
This cash system doesn’t stop me from shopping online, but it does allow me to maintain a strict gift-giving budget, but be prepared to pay for them at the same time. I can also combine my gift budget with online sales, like at Savings.com, and great shipping deals, to save even more. If I happen to buy the gift online, then I simply deposit the money to pay for the purchase.
Tis method of budgeting up front keeps me in line. No one person gets a huge gift from us, and we’re required to be more creative in our gift-giving. It works for us, and I stay out of debt.