Common budget and presents?

How do  couples do budgeting and buying present for each other in case of common budget? We've been using YNAB since April, but now Christmas is on the way and then both or our birthdays, and handling presents is kind of.. confusing. How can you make a surprise? And isn't it weird to know how much each of us spent on the presents for the other?

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  • If you each have your own spending category that the other doesn't examine that closely, manually a very generic payee (Department Store). After the giving of the gift you can always change the payee name for accuracy.

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    • jenmas I am the one who is entering all things.. and we have "fun money" category for each, but it is not a lot and is intended for things for yourself.

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Wandering Dragon well if you haven't been budgeting to buy presents, what was your plan regardless of who would know what when? Was it going to come out of the general Gifts category? If so then carve out some money from that now and into your spending categories so you each have budgeted funds to spend on each other. And realistically didn't you always have an idea of how much stuff cost. If it was something mass produced ( loathing, electronics, kitchen gadget, etc) or if it was something the recipient had said s/he wanted, there was likely price awareness.

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    • jenmas We did not have a plan, this is why I am asking about other people's practices. :) Thank you for your input, it is appreciated!

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Wandering Dragon realistically, gifts for a spouse or partner are a true expense and need to included in the budget,m. Whether it is in a personal spending category or a specific gifts category is going to depend on the level of granularity that makes sense for your specific habits and priorities. 

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  • Our solution was to stop buying surprise gifts for each other.

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  • Wandering Dragon Have you considered cash withdrawals? My husband and I have a "Gift" category. If I want to keep something a surprise, I withdraw cash and categorize it to the Gift category (usually, I leave the Payee as the ATM default). Also, for those surprises that weren't well thought out, I told him not to look at the accounts. 😅

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      • MicroSpice
      • Crazy Person
      • Microspice
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness This is what we do. If ManSpice buys a gift for me (he usually makes an online purchase, nixing the ability to pay with cash), he will put it on his credit card and say, "Don't look at my credit card account!", since I'm the one who does the reconciling. He still puts it in YNAB under a generic name, and once the gift has been given, it gets sorted out.

      Perhaps a bit of a surprise killer, but I still don't know what I'm getting, so it works for me. And him.

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  • We have appreciation categories, as in "I appreciate dh" and "I appreciate dw." We budget a small amount every month to those categories and we can choose whether to spend it on small things, like weekly flowers, or let it grow and save it for something larger. When birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries roll around we budget more to those categories. We decide together how much we're going to allocate for each other's birthdays and so forth, so I don't think it's weird to know what he spent on me. I can't help you with the problem of knowing what was purchased when it comes in because you enter in all the transactions though. Your partner would either have to use cash or start entering in transactions. We both enter transactions and change the name to something vague, as others suggested, and just agree that around holidays we won't look too closely at the other's spending until after the gift has been given.

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  • We have a single "gifts" category that is essentially freely available for either of us to use to buy gifts for family, friends, or each other. The amount of a gift may not be a surprise, but you can at least keep the payee as something generic or misleading if you want your gift to be a surprise.

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