Gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and other personal events can put a serious ding in your budget if you're not careful. If you only remember that it's someone's birthday at the last minute, you could end up spending more than you should because you don't have time to think about the gift. One simple solution is to start a gift calendar for the next year with those events already marked down.
Photo by Dan Moyle.
We don't usually look back on gifts we've given others and think that we should have gone with something cheaper, but surprise costs from poor planning can make budgeting difficult. Your gift calendar can be simply a paper calendar hanging on the wall, but we suggest using software like Google Calendar or iCal so that you can be reminded of an event well in advance. That way, you have plenty of time to think about an appropriate gift, make the gift or shop around for it, and work it into your budget.
You can start your gift calendar by marking down the big holidays -- Valentine's Day, Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day and so on. Then add other events, such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions. Before you know it, your calendar will be ready to go, saved and automated. A few minutes of effort now can save you a lot of money in last-minute purchases later.
Budgeting Hack: Gift Calendars [Wise Bread]