Budget Sticky #2: Birthdays and gifts
One of the most common overlooked items in budgeting is birthdays and gifts. In most households, these things don’t come up until a week or so prior to the actual birthday or event. So, how do you prevent these foreseeable events from busting your budget?
For us, and most folks, it’s rather easy. We sit down at the beginning of the month for our budget committee meeting and do our budget. When we’re nearly finished, we look at the calendar, and see what events are coming up that month. One of the biggest factors in failed budgeting is failing to change your budget each month. It’s important to remember that each month of the year is different. Everyone knows this.
After looking at the calendar, month by month, we can figure out what we need to allocate to the gifts and birthdays category. Since we’re on the Dave Ramsey plan, we don’t spend much on gifts and many times, since I like to cook, we’ll simply prepare a nice meal and evening at our place to celebrate a friends’ birthday. We splurge a bit more for important dates, like our daughter’s birthday and our anniversary.
If you find that birthdays and special events bring about problems in your monthly budget, maybe it’s time to create a category to cover these items. From my experience, it’s helped us stick to the budget and, most importantly, eliminated some of the arguments with my husband about what we were spending for a particular event or birthday.