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Holidays, birthdays, and weddings — OH MY! Gifting can create so much joy, but sometimes we forget to actually budget for it. Here are a few tips to implement a gifting budget for any occasion.

Make Your List and Check it Twice

The best budgeting tip is to start with knowing what you have to work with. When are birthdays? How many people do you need to shop for? Who wants what exactly? Start your budgeting journey by finding out and writing it down.

Side Hustle

If you can, see if there is a side hustle you can do to bring in a little extra cash. Maybe it’s walking dogs for Wagg, answering surveys on dscout, or freelance writing on Fiverr or UpWork. Most of these are available year round. Make a deal with yourself to only buy gifts with this extra money.

Hit the Markets

Sell your unwanted and unused items. Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor are examples of easy-to-list places. Find items you don’t use, take clear and appealing photos, and post them. Clean out your house and give someone else joy while padding your pockets. You can even sell some old gifts you received that you never liked…

Get the Widgets

Never miss a discount code with web-based widgets such as Honey or Rakuten. There are a few trustworthy ones and they usually don’t require too much work to set up.

Tracking Prices

Find the items you want to buy and track the prices. There are widgets for Amazon and other stores. Or add them to the cart and walk away. Sometimes the stores will alert you to sales or discount codes for your cart.

Cash Back

More of a cherry on top, but you may be able to find cash back on top of sales. Many credit cards also give cash back. While this may not help buy something, it will help to lessen the financial sting. A word of caution — be sure credit card rewards are something you can handle so that happy holidays don’t turn into a burden next month.

Secret Gifting

Look for creative ways to pair down how much you have to spend. One tradition for Christmas is a Secret Santa. This way, instead of buying gifts for 20 people, maybe you’ll only need to shop for 1 or 2.

Shop the Sales

Start a tradition in your family to shop after the holiday. This way you can save big on clearance items while extending the holiday magic.

Track Your Purchases

Sometimes we shop in advance and hide gifts away until the occasion arises — and sometimes we forget we already bought someone something. Keep track in a planner or note app so you can tick off your list as you go.

DIY

Okay, sometimes this can backfire so make sure to fully plan for time and materials. Consider making gifts like baking cookies, making candles, or painting personalized photos.