Free Printable Gift Organizer {for frugal gifting!}

Free Printable Gift Organizer {for frugal gifting!}

I’ll be honest, I love buying gifts. Finding amazing treats for friends, family, and my children bring me so much joy.

What I don’t love? The price tag.

With my annual gift record document, the price tag is drastically reduced. This is because I am able to buy gifts FAR in advance, often for free, and definitely at a huge discount.

For the last decade or so, I’ve been tweaking my system for how I keep track of who’s getting what and how much I spend, and I’ve finally got it down to a science.

So today, I’m going to show you how I use my gift record, and give you a FREE download so you can use it yourself!

Where to Begin

First, you’re going to write your gift list. This list includes all of the people for whom you buy birthday and/or Christmas gifts. For me, this list is the same for both events. For you, perhaps you might buy Christmas gifts for certain people but not birthday gifts, or vise-versa.

Next, decide on a budget. Members of my immediate family (the husband, the kids, & myself) have a higher budget than extended family (our parents & siblings). If you are an experienced frugal shopper, your budget should be 1/3 the retail price of the gift you desire to give. If you are not too experienced yet, start with 1/2. So this means that if you want to give somebody a gift worth $50, your budget for that gift would be $25 — because we’re going to find a deal, amiright!?!

Next Steps

Once you have a budget in place for all birthday & Christmas gifts, add them together (my doc is a Microsoft Word doc, so you can use the AutoSum feature in the tables!) Round the total UP to give you extra money for babies, weddings, graduations, etc. You usually know these things are coming, so you can estimate how many you will have this year and make a guess as to how much you need to add. You should also add a small amount per child ($10~ish x 2 or 3) for any birthday gifts they need to buy for friends.

Now take your annual total, divide by 12, and set aside this amount each month in your budget! If it seems too high, you’ll need to do one of two things:

  1. cut some people from the list (OR)
  2. cut the amount you spend on each person

So, let’s say that your total for the whole year is $900. That’s $75/month to set aside for gifting. You can save this in several ways:

  1. Have an envelope in your Envelope System dedicated to gifts.
  2. Set up a tickler fund — this is what we do — and I’ll have a whole post on how to do this and what it is later this week! {stay tuned!}

Time To Shop

Now the hard part: actually shopping. I outline in this post some of my tips on how I find frugal gifts. But the main ideas are:

  • Follow deal sites on social media. My two favorites are Hip2Save and The Passionate Penny Pincher. But if you are one prone to impulse buys, tread carefully here! It will NOT do your budget any good to be constantly bombarded by “deals” if you are buying things you don’t need.
  • Snag FREEBIES whenever you find them! Shutterfly is one of my favorite places for free gifts — just yesterday I got over $200 worth of photo gifts for $42 by combining a bunch of codes! Shipping on Shutterfly does tend to get expensive, but they almost always have a coupon code for free shipping when you spend $39, so I wait until I have a bunch of deals that are free-plus-shipping, then I add a few more items that I want (usually also with a code for 20-50% off), to get my total over $39 for the free shipping. I got SEVEN very nice customized and personal gifts for my $42 — that’s $6 each! And they usually retail for $30-$50 each!
  • Scour clearance aisles! Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Target, TJ Maxx… almost every store has clearance racks. Every time you shop, take a minute to look for items for your gift list. I usually try to find things at least 50-75% off.
  • Consider secondhand. Depending on the recipient, you may be able to find some awesome gifts at garage sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, or even just regifts of things you already own! I have several friends that don’t mind this at all — in fact, they appreciate a gift even more when they know it’s not bankrupting me! And my own kids, of course, are frequent recipients of secondhand gifts. I often save my 10-year-old son’s toys a few years and then give it to my 4-year-old. It’s totally new to him and FREE to me. I also got my daughter an awesome American Girl doll salon chair for Christmas at a yard sale last summer. My cost: $2!
  • Make homemade. Homemade gifts are usually lovingly cherished — and even if you’re not crafty, it’s super easy to throw some of my homemade mixes in mason jars and put them in a basket! Click here to see some of the DIY gifts I’ve done over the years.
  • Use technology to your advantage. I always shop through Ebates — I get cash back on all of my purchases AND they have this awesome Chrome plugin that automatically scans every coupon available and applies the best deal to my cart! Since I started using Ebates I’ve gotten over $200 cash back and I can’t even count how much saved in coupon savings! (If you sign up through my referral link, you’ll get a $10 cash bonus too!)

How to Use the Gift Record

So I’m sharing this with you in an editable format so you can change it to fit your needs. You might have to add or delete rows, and it’s fine if your document is more than a page long!

I keep mine in digital format on my computer, since I do most of my gift shopping online. I edit as I buy, and update frequently. You can also print a copy to take with you if you have a big shopping trip planned (hello, outlet malls!) or during the holiday season. If you prefer to keep it digital, there are document sharing apps that you can use to sync the document on your computer and phone — or you can go low-tech and just take a pic of your current record and text it to yourself!

When you get home with your purchases, stash all your gifts in a single location. I like places like basements, attics, garages, & sheds. I keep mine in a large plastic tote — labeled with something weird, like “boots”. The kids won’t look in there, and *I* obviously know that I don’t have a tote that huge full of boots. It’s my secret stash!

My Gift Records

Okay, so these are my actual gift records for the past two years. The numbers highlighted in gray are automatically calculated with the AutoSum feature. (If you don’t know how to use that — it’s so easy. Just click in a box in your table, then click the ∑ symbol. It will add up the column above it!)

The last column is where I put how much I am over or under my budget. The AutoSum feature can handle adding positive & negative numbers, so it will give me an up-to-date picture of how I’m doing.

I try not to be crazy about going over sometimes. Sometimes I can look and look and look, and not find a deal on a specific item that I want to buy for someone. But I get other items for free, so it always averages out in the end.

Free Printable Gift Organizer {for frugal gifting!} Free Printable Gift Organizer {for frugal gifting!}

As you can see, sometimes I include the retail price — but usually only if I’m super excited for one reason or another, LOL.

Download Your Copy

I know many bloggers like to require you to follow them on social media or sign up for email updates to get their freebies. I don’t like to do that, but I would love for you to follow me anyway because you want to read more!

You can sign up for email updates in the top right corner (on a desktop computer).

Or find me here on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Pinterest!

And check out my FREEBIES page for more downloads, printables, & giveaways! 

{Click HERE to download a copy of the Gift Organizer spreadsheet!}

As always, thanks for stopping by! I hope that this blesses you and saves your family some money on gifting — and saves mama some headache when it comes to organizing & planning!

Free Printable Gift Organizer {for frugal gifting!}
Not ready to download right now? Pin it on Pinterest so you can remember later!

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