How To Budget Holiday Gift Spending

Gift Spending Worksheet. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Shopping for gifts doesn't have to lead to financial stress. Learn how to budget your holiday gift spending, and make this the year that you finally come in on (or under) budget.

  1. List everyone you want to shop for.
    Print out a copy of the Holiday Gift Spending Worksheet and use it to list everyone you plan to shop for (friends, relatives, teachers, pets, etc.).

  2. Determine how much you can afford to spend.
    Review your finances to determine how much you can afford to spend on gifts. Set this figure as your overall holiday gift budget.

  1. Divide your gift budget among the people on your gift list.
    Look over your gift list, and decide how much you would like to spend on each person. Then, total up the expected spending for all gifts, and make sure it does not exceed the gift budget that you established in step two. Rework your figures as necessary.

  2. Brainstorm gift ideas.
    Go through your list again, and jot down gift ideas that fall within the budget range that you’ve set for each person.

  3. Track your spending throughout the season.
    As you purchase gifts, note their cost in the "Actual Spending" column of the worksheet. Then, calculate how much over or under budget you are with each one.

  4. Tweak your budget to cover any instances of overspending.
    Don't panic if you overspend on a gift; just scale back your spending on another gift to make up for it.


  1. Don't be afraid to make changes to your budget – a good budget is always evolving.
  1. Hang on to a copy of your gift budget after the holidays are over; it'll be helpful in planning next year's budget.
  2. Use the Holiday Spending Worksheet to establish an overall holiday budget.