This first task should be pretty easy! All you have to do is figure out who you have to shop for and create a “master list”. I like this task because it gets you started but it isn’t too time consuming.
Let’s see who I have to shop for…
Brother, his wife, one son
Sister, her husband, three sons
Sister, her husband
Brother, his girlfriend
Foster sister?? (check to see if she will still be with my parents at Christmas)
Mother in law
Father in law
Sister in law
Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunt
Hubbys work exchange
Extra? (I always add 1-2 “extra spots” just in case I forgot somebody I should have remembered)
That would mean I have 30 people to shop for (including one extra spot).
CREATE THE MASTER LIST
When you figure out this information you can either put it in a separate notebook or paper or just keep a list. Personally, I like to type out a list of the names. I leave about 10 lines in between each person so I can fill in likes and lists (or where I can find them) if they have them. You can also add age/gender and any other info that you need to help you find a gift. A small notebook is also wonderful for this part of the task – one page per person.
You can take this list/notebook with you to the store. It serves as a great double-check to see if the person would really like the item you find and it can also remind you if you have already gotten that person something (yes, I have done that, sometimes it really is hard to remember when you have a long list).
It can also eventually serve as a way to keep track of your spending. I do like to keep track of the retail and actual price for the items I buy. Keeping the retail prices “even” can be important in some situations. If you find a $100 item for only $10, but the next item you find is $20 and only has a retail of $50 then, depending on who the items are for (and if they are going to be opened up at the same time) you may have to spend more on that $50 person even though their gift cost you more than the first.
- Amazon offers a wish list that is really helpful around Christmas. If you see something you like then you can add it to the wish list. My sister will use this with her kiddos and had asked me to do the same. Some of the relatives on my hubby’s side will use it as well (it makes it much easier to buy a gift for a person who lives far away).
- My sister also keeps a list at One Step Ahead to keep track of things her sons would like or have asked for.
- If you have anybody in your family who is going to be getting married or have gotten married in the last year than you may be able to access their registry. One of my sisters and brother in law will be in this situation.
Remember, just because there is a registry or gift list does NOT mean you have to buy it from the site that the list is on. It only means that the person actually wants the item! Just because you spend on a budget doesn’t mean you have to get things people do not want 🙂 I have used these lists to get ideas (themes) or actual products that people want, but I have found them on sale at other locations.
The code for putting the Budget Christmas Challenge button on your own blog: