There is nothing like sitting down to the computer to check out all the current deals and finding a zillion birthday wishes on my sweet sister-in-law’s facebook. No time to wait for a great sale or somehow intertwine the gift into a Up+ or Register Reward deal.  It’s inevitable: I am going to have to pay full retail for a gift.

I know how cheap that makes me sound. Let it be known that I think my loved ones are greatly deserving of full priced items and more. It's not that I hate paying full retail for the gift; I hate paying full retail period. Couponing has done that to me.

I do love shopping for and giving gifts. Now that I am a mother and aunt, I find myself with at least three to four gifts needed each month.  It simply has to be factored into our monthly spending. Therefore, my most favorite of all favorite saving strategies has got to be creating and using a Master Gift List.

What It Is

The Master Gift List catalogs all the gifts you will need, organized by month for the whole year, including the mothership list in December. For example, in May you might need a Mother's Day gift for your mother, step-mother, and mother-in-law; a birthday gift for your oldest nephew; and a new baby gift for your best friend who is due that month.

Take the time to map out all the events and people you'll need to buy for each month.  Keep one copy of that list with you and one in your gift cupboard (you do have a gift cupboard, right?) That way, you can easily check them off as you acquire your needed gifts.

Why I Love It

My Master Gift List has enabled me to take advantage of great unexpected sales and clearance deals with intention. When I encounter that crazy awesome clearance deal of superhero boardgames, I can take a deep breath, let my heart rate return to normal and calmly consult my list, realizing three will meet my gift giving needs (whereas the old me might have bought 10).  It simplifies my life by eliminating last minute shopping trips that only have one purpose by incorporating my gift shopping (even my Christmas gift shopping) into my regularly planned trips.  And it greatly satisfies my love of saving by giving me time and preparation to snag the best deals.  I am now forever on the lookout for that perfect thing for just the right person.

This has been a guest post by Brianna from Walla Walla, WA
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