holiday gift

Track Your Holiday Gift Spending

by Jamie Sanford on November 10, 2011

Let’s get into some holiday preparation ideas for the holidays!  I am going to revisit some of my gift-giving tips soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share the spreadsheet that I use for tracking all of my gift purchases.  If you are like me and try to buy holiday gifts all year, the tracker is the best way to remind yourself that you already bought a gift for Cousin Sally, back in February.

So, here we go.

So, it’s a spreadsheet, it isn’t rocket science.  However, as simple as it looks, it took me a while to get all of the columns and formulas that I wanted, so here it is.  Let’s break it down.

The first columns are the very basics.  I think that filling this in early in the calendar year will create a little mental reminder that you’ve committed yourself to shop for gifts all year and not just at the last minute.

In addition, defining an absolute budget will help you stick it it.  One of the biggest problems with early shopping is that there is a possibility that you will find something else for someone after you’ve spent your budget.  If you can return something you have already bought, then fine.  If you can’t, then you need to remember the item and go back for it in the next calendar year.

There are 3 columns for gifts to purchase for each person(s).  In this area, you describe the gift, list the price, and note whether or not it has been purchased.  As you can see here, the cells are blue.  Once I have a gift that is “done” (i.e. in my possession), I go ahead and make it another color so I can gloss over it.  When I have completely finished with obtaining gifts for a person(s) on the list, the whole row gets a single color.

And of course, the budget tracking portion of the spreadsheet.  The columns will automatically add up in the “total spent” column, and “remaining in budget” will show you what you have left, if any.  It will show a number in parentheses if you have a negative remainder!

I would love to hear if anyone ends up using my little creation to track their holiday gifting and spending, but mostly, it is designed to use all year, for birthdays, anniversaries, baby gifts, Hanukkah and whatever other gift-giving happenings are in your life.

Track your holiday gift spending here with the spreadsheet in Google Docs.

Good luck!

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Sephora Holiday Gift Sets

by Jamie Sanford on November 30, 2010

If you haven’t started shopping yet, you might want to definitely do your shopping online, the stores will be a mess until after the holidays are over.  Luckily, stores like Sephora have put all of their holiday special sets online and they are great gift options.

As of now, there are 148 options in the gift set section of the Sephora website.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The Tarte Jewelry Box is a fabulous item.  I have the 2009 version of this and it’s been a great addition to my makeup collection.

An exclusive, limited-edition palette packed with 32 new eyeshadows, eight lip glosses, a mineral bronzer, a new shimmering powder, five deluxe long-wearing eyeliners, and a detachable necklace.

Grab this collection from Sephora for $52.


We all know a lip gloss addict.

Two new shades join this lineup of six gorgeous glosses, allowing you to pick the perfect color that fits your mood. Each of these innovative formulations provides high shine and medium color payoff in a silky, ultra-light gloss with a peach sorbet flavor.

This set contains:
– 6 x 0.1 oz Gem Glosses in Disco Nap, Barrette, Carousel, Fuchsia Revolution, Semiprecious, Ruby Headphones

Buy this great set of 6 Tarina Tarantino glosses for a mere $25.


Readers of the blog know that I love nail polish. I do have a few bottles of Sephora for OPI and the polish is really nice.

A perfect gift, this Sephora by OPI set includes 18 shades that range from essential to edgy. These longwearing, chip-resistant colors include a versatile spectrum of reds and a sampling of daring colors that can add fabulous fingertips to any look.

This set contains:
– 18 x 0.12 oz Nail Colors in A True Romantic, Techno Girl, Access 24/7, Ms. Can’t Be Wrong, What A Broad, Just A Little Dangerous, Cab Fare, Caliente Coral, Special Request, High Maintenance, Sample Sale, I’m With Brad, Leaf Him At The Altar, Mermaid To Order, Opening Night, Already Famous, Dating The Drummer, Never Enough Shoes

This is a great set of miniature bottles, so the gift recipient can try out the different colors and go out and get a full-sized bottle of anything they like.  This is available from Sephora for $48.

Love this!

This set of nine fragrance samples includes a voucher for a full-size version, making it a perfect present when you’re not sure what to choose. Its box opens to reveal a range of Sephora’s bestselling women’s fragrances that can be sampled right away. From the fruity, urban chic of DKNY Be Delicious to the luxurious, floral sophistication of Prada Infusion d’Iris, choose a favorite, then take the included voucher to a Sephora store to receive a full-size version.

Even better than the nail polish sampler – this one actually has the voucher for a full-size version.  Plus, Versace Bright Crystal is in there, and that’s one of my favorite scents ever.  This sampler set with full-size voucher is available from Sephora for $75.

Check out the entire gift set collection from Sephora here.

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