Budgeting for Gifts

This is my first Christmas with YNAB. We're WAM-ing a lot, and that's fine, but have decided that going into 2020, we want to limit gifts to each person to $50 per event. Just curious how everyone tracks things like this?
 

Here's my thoughts, and I'd love any feedback or ideas:

  • We have a gifts category. I'm going to keep this regardless. I utilize the "average spend" quick budget for this category and intend to do so going forward.
  • I figured I could utilize the Memo to write in who a gift is for when I purchase
  • Would it make more sense to flag it?

I'd love to hear how others handle this!

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  • We have a Gifts-Family category for everything not Christmas (birthdays, mother's day, etc.). Now that we're more than a year in, the average is fine, but when starting out we needed to budget more than that because of the timing (not to mention the average was a bit skewed with less than 12 months of history).

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    • dakinemaui Yep, I totally agree about the average. I'm okay WAM-ing, and figure it should even out as we continue on!

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  • I’m not a year in yet. But till now the following seems to work well: category for St Nicolas (no presents here at christmas), one for my son, my husband and myself (not presents, just in case I’d like to trow a party). And one for all the rest, where I put names  into the memo, like you suggest. I don’t quite trust my average on that yet, as it may vary wildly per month.

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    • Powder Blue Pony and I like the average because each month is different! In the beginning I definitely have to WAM more, but I figure as time goes on, money will roll over and it’ll even out!

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  • I have a Christmas master category. I have a category under that for everyone I want to track. I also have a Funding category under that that gets budgeted to monthly. As I buy gifts, I categorize it under the person’s name and cover the spending from Funding. 

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      • Habanero Salsa I like this idea. This is my first Christmas using YNAB and what I did was fund Christmas on a monthly basis under the category True Expenses. But if I gave Christmas it's own category, I could track what I spent on everyone and be able to look back and see who I bought gifts for and how much I spent on each person. Now I'm wondering if there's some way I could make this work for this year by moving everything to it's own Christmas category.  I have everyone's name in the memo field but it would be much easier to have them listed separately. Any ideas on the best way of moving this without messing up the entire budget?
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      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      KnitPurlKnit It depends on how many entries you have and how much time you’re willing to spend. It might make sense just to start in January for next Christmas. That said, you could create the categories then go back and reallocate some of what you sent to True Expenses. Once that’s set up, you could recategorize the Christmas purchases. 

      Again, might be a lot of work for this year, but you could get it set up to be ready for next year. It works really well for me. 

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    • Habanero Salsa I hear you but when I get this idea in my head that I want to do something, it usually can't wait for a month! Now that all my shopping is done, I think I'm going to try this. If it gets messed up, well that's what the UNDO button is for.

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  • We have a gifts category for birthdays etc. and then a Christmas category for all things Christmas including gifts, food, liquor, wrapping, stocking stuffers, etc. I just make a note in the memo because I don't worry about making sure I spend the same amount on people or the same amount year over year. I can search the memo if I want more specific info. Last year I didn't memo as much so lost a bit of info on what the expense was for. Setting liquor and food for Christmas separate from regular groceries makes sure the averages don't get skewed by extra Christmas spending. 

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  • Sherri, one of our teachers, uses a Christmas Category group for holiday spending. Check out this blog post to see an example of what that looks like!

    In our personal budget, we use a generic gifts category for birthdays and gift occasions, and a separate Christmas category.

    Then a spreadsheet tracks gift ideas and holiday spending by person, with the status (purchased/made, shipped, etc). If needed, we can refer back and create a new sheet for each year.

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  • What is WAM-ing?  For the life of me I cannot figure it out!  

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    • Mamba Whack A Mole, after the arcade game where you deal with things as they "pop up", in this case, overspending.

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 yr ago
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      • Mamba
      • mamba
      • 1 yr ago
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      dakinemaui thank you!

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      • Mamba
      • mamba
      • 1 yr ago
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      MXMOM ha ha- got it!

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