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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What I Spend Money On.

by Jamie Sanford on May 6, 2009

This is one in a series of posts pulled from Chris Brogan’s “100 blog topics I hope YOU write.” (#34)

Reflecting (Epcot)

1. Photography stuff: lenses, books on photography and Photoshop, etc.

2. Music. I heart iTunes. There are certain artists (David Usher, Tori Amos, Nine Inch Nails) that are part of a select group of which I insist on owning the actual CD. All artists that have been part of my life for a long time, whose music I have relationships with. Who knows how long the CD (the format, not an actual CD) will actually last though?

Britney's big entrance.

3. Concert tickets to see such artists and also others I am interested in. I’ll pay more money for those I love though. Will also fight for tickets if I have to.


4. Travel. Though recently I have spent less on travel in order to address other things. Such as…
5. Credit card debt reduction. In part, I am still paying off the debt accrued to keep a long distance relationship alive and well. We are married now, so this doesn’t bother me too much.

Sure I spend money on other stuff, groceries, gas, my electric bill, but those aren’t fun to write about are they?

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