Balancing Life’s Little Moments with Your Budget

Posted by Amanda on September 30, 2009

Life is full of moments that leave a bad taste in our mouths; just turn on the news and you are met with daily tales of cruelty and weird happenings. But life is also about wonderful, precious moments and when these beautiful moments come around, we want to celebrate them.

The union of two people in love, the birth of a new family member, the birthday of a person we hold dear to us; these are the times when we want to show our appreciation and gratitude for having these people in our lives.

What we wish to express is priceless, but we like to express it through purchasing gifts at costs that can bust our budgets. Fortunately, there is a way to generously express our emotions while keeping inside the realms of our budgets.

Anticipate Purchasing Needs

Some events are predictable, such as your best friend’s birthday, your anniversary, or Christmas. Take a moment to sit down and write a list of all of the predictable special occasions over the next year that will occur.

Chances are you’ve seen something while shopping that you thought might be perfect for “so-and-so”. Start filling in this list with the gifts you have seen already that would be perfect for a person and an occasion. Keep your occasion list around to refresh your memory before heading to stores.

Build Gift-Purchasing into Your Budget

One reason why special occasions can be budget busters is because they appear as unpredictable expenses in our budgets. You can get around this by building them into your monthly budget.

It is helpful to know an approximate amount you want to spend on occasions throughout the year, so sit down and come up with a rough estimate. Then divide this by 12, and you have the amount of money each month that you have designated towards making gift purchases.

Time is on Your Side

By knowing what gifts you want to purchase and for whom (from the list you made in the first step), and by designating an amount you can spend each month (from step two), you can now shop at the most opportune times throughout the year.

This puts you at a huge advantage. Not only can you spend longer picking out the perfect gift for that special someone, but you now have built-in time to wait for the item to go on sale! There are always large sales and deep discounts at the end of a season. For example, purchase camping equipment at the end of summer, or sweaters at the end of winter.

Designate a Space for Your Gifts

Now that you will be shopping year round for gifts (how fun!), you will need to designate an area to hide your gifts so that loved ones will not find them and ruin their surprise! Try an attic, box in the basement, pushing them under the bed, or any other forgotten area in your home.

Using these steps should take the stress out of shopping for special occasions and holidays because you have given yourself the gift of time and an allocated budget. This will allow you to freely enjoy giving of yourself, which is the true idea behind giving gifts.

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Comments to Balancing Life’s Little Moments with Your Budget

  1. Look way ahead, get an advance on bargains as gifts. Yes you’re right, it’s the way to go.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  2. Like many things, a little planning goes a long way. Good thoughts Amanda. There’s no reason that Christmas should be as stressful as it is for many people, financially speaking.

    David@DINKS Finance

  3. Hello John DeFlumeri Jr: Thanks for your comment.

    David @ DINKSFinance: Thank you as well! I agree–planning is key with Christmas. And oftentimes, since you are looking for a longer period of time, you find much better suited gifts for the people on your list (instead of shopping in a rush and just buying something).

    Amanda L. Grossman

  4. Planning ahead is always good and persons who has a limited amount of money in their budget should also remember that priorities are first.


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