I like to think I'm organized. Unfortunately, this myth only lasts until the holiday season arrives, when I’m suddenly overwhelmed by how much I have to do and how little time I have left to do it. And then there is all the wrapping (how many times have I wrapped all the gifts, only to later realize I didn't mark which gift was which!), the shipping coordination, and, of course, the budgeting. Thankfully, today there are apps to make the whole process of making gift lists, shopping, receipts tracking and budgeting so much easier.

Spending stats: how do your holiday habits compare?

If you are like 60% of shoppers nationwide, you will run through more than half your holiday budget by the time Thanksgiving weekend departs. You will shop both in-store and online, starting early (likely before noon) and you will be out and about looking for deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (see Chain Store Age for more). You may also find yourself pushing the boundaries on your holiday gift-giving budget, like approximately 46% of your fellow shoppers (see Internet Retailer for more).

Experts say the key to managing spending—and coming in at or under budget—is tracking. These apps can help!

1. Santa's Bag

This free app proves that Santa never stops making lists—or checking them twice! You can import your list of gift recipients from another device, set your holiday gift-giving budget, plan out your shopping lists and itinerary, track your progress (on buying and budgeting) and more. It even adds taxes to your planned purchase so the little charges don't creep up on you.

 

2. Christmas Wrapped

If you don't know what to buy for someone on your gift list, this is the app you need. Christmas Wrapped contains an in-app "gift ideas generator" that works based on filters you input (gender, age, budget, etc.). It also contains budget-setting features per person and overall. Adding people is easy—you can just import them from your phone contacts. Once your recipient list is built, you can assign gifts to each person, track the progress of your holiday spending and more.

 

3. No More Socks

No More Socks aims to ensure you can absolutely, positively do everything you need to do for holiday gift planning, shopping and tracking from one single app. You can import a recipient list, get gift ideas from the app community, create your gift list, and even go shopping online right from inside the app! You can also track previous years' gift purchases by recipient, export all of your list data, set reminders for birthdays and other important life events, and keep a running list of gift ideas. No More Socks earns its top marks for a reason—it was the only app to get 5 out of 5 stars from Macworld!

 

4. Gift Planner

Gift Planner is a favorite amongst busy moms everywhere. The app has something called a "bookmarklet" which lets you browse on your device; when you find a good gift, you can import it into the app without leaving the browser. You can also keep detailed information about each recipient (sizes, preferences, even relationship types)—and this app isn't just for holiday planning. You can also use it for birthdays and other special occasions. Best of all, it syncs list and budgeting information between devices, gives you all kinds of sorting options, lets you password-protect your lists, and even saves pictures of your wrapped gifts to help you remember who gets what.

 

5. Christmas Gift List

While it does seem there are more highly rated apps for iOS than for Android, Christmas Gift List earns the same high marks for the same great price tag—free! You can password-protect your gift list (to keep it safe from prying eyes). You can share your list via email, Twitter, Evernote, etc. Each year's gift list is automatically archived at the start of the next year. Budgeting is a breeze since the app lets you track spending by recipient and overall. You can also track your progress and mark each gift as you purchase it. Overall, this app is a win-win!

 

 

5 Free Apps to Help You Organize Your Holiday Gift List and Budget