The average American spends nearly $1000 on gifts during the winter holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.
And, since most people don’t budget ahead for holiday gift-giving, the average American ends the winter holiday season with $1000 of new debt. That debt typically takes five or six months to fully pay off.
Other reasons people end up with so much holiday debt include:
- Putting off buying gifts until the last minute, and then buying whatever’s available.
- Being overly generous and splurging on gifts for loved ones.
- Not creating a list of gift ideas.
- Not tracking spending during the holidays.
Rising prices and Supply Chain Issues
This year’s holiday shopping will also be complicated by rising prices and supply chain issues. This could make it even easier to make impulse purchases and overspend.
Make a list and check it twice – in this free gift tracker spreadsheet
But it’s not too late to make a plan for the 2021 holidays.
Even if you didn’t budget ahead for this year’s holiday giving, you can still avoid over-spending.
The best way to do that is totally Santa-approved: make a list and check it twice.
A Google spreadsheet is perfect for planning your holiday list. It’s easy to share, format, export, and of course, track your spending totals.
You can download this free holiday gift planner Google spreadsheet from Tiller Community Solutions.
It helps you plan and organize your giving by the recipient, the gifts you want to give them, a link to the website selling the gift (if you’re shopping online), price, and status of the gift.
The status shows if the gift is an idea, if it was ordered, and if it was wrapped, shipped, and delivered.
The spreadsheet also includes a budget pivot to help track your spending total, and a recipient total to see how many gifts you’ve selected per person.
And since it’s a Google Spreadsheet, it’s super easy to customize.
Ready to Automate With Tiller
While the gift planner spreadsheet works great without a Tiller subscription, it’s even better with Google Sheets powered by Tiller. That’s because Tiller automatically imports your spending from all your linked checking, savings, and credit cards directly into Google Sheets.
As you buy your holiday gifts, those transactions will auto-update in your spreadsheet each day.
If you’re using Tiller together with the free holiday tracker spreadsheet, simply tag each new transaction with the gift recipient’s name, and you’ll see how much you’ve spent on them in the Gift Planner. You can also see how much is left for each person in the “Budget Available” column.
Tip: Use Google Keep to Capture Gift Ideas
Google Keep is Google’s spiffy note-keeping app. One of the best things about Keep is that it’s connected to your Google Sheets and Docs account, so you can easily copy notes into whatever spreadsheet or document you’re working on.
“With the Google Keep Chrome Extension, easily save the things you care about to Keep and have them synced across all of the platforms that you use — including web, Android, iOS, and Wear. Take notes for additional detail and add labels to quickly categorize your note for later retrieval.”
Keep includes a Google Keep Chrome Extension. The extensions make it super simple to save gift ideas as you’re browsing the web. You can also use it as you’re out shopping in the real world.
Save your gift ideas in Keep, and then copy them into the Gift Tracker Spreadsheet.
Consider Reviewing What You Spent Last Year
One of the best ways to plan this year’s budget is by reviewing what you actually spent on holiday gifts last year.
Review your credit card and bank account statements from last year to see what you spent. For more control, export these statements as CSV files and import into Google Sheets or Excel.
Once your transactions are in a spreadsheet, you can categorize, tag, filter, and create reports to see exactly what you spent on presents, entertainment, holiday hosting, and travel.
(Of course, it’s far easier to do this in a Tiller-powered Google spreadsheet.)
You might just see that your $500 budget is only half of what you spend last year. In that case, perhaps you might want to read why the best strategy for avoiding holiday debt is to make an overt, intentional spending pact with your friends and family.