As soon as a know that I am going to need a gift then I start looking out for something to add to the gift cupboard. So, for instance, if I hear of a colleague at work who is having a baby I start to look out for something unique to gift. This means that I am always prepared ahead and can stick to a budget. Rather than being asked for a set amount to add to a gift envelope I can gift something that I know will be special just from me. For baby gifts it's often something homemade, I particularly like to do something in cross stitch or fabric which can't be found in the shops. Babies are considerate that way because they give you plenty of notice !
Birthdays and Christmas also come round at predictable times so when I see something that I know someone will like,( remember those shirts that I found for Mr Shoestring's birthday next year ) and it is a good price then I can snap it up and pop it in the gift cupboard. At the moment the gift cupboard is fully stocked with everyone's Christmas and Birthday presents for 2016 apart from Master Shoestring as he keeps changing his mind so we have to buy a bit closer to the time rather than 6 months ahead !
Getting serious about stocking the gift cupboard has cut our gift spending from 611 pounds last year to under half that this year as we have a budget for Master Shoestring's gifts as well.
Do you have a gift cupboard ?