Organize Your Holiday Shopping to Stay Within Budget

Organized holiday shopping stay within budget

I can’t remember where I first saw this, but I recently read about “the 4 gift rule.”  Have you heard of it?  It’s usually aimed towards parents buying gifts for their kids, but it can be applied to anyone who you tend to spend excess amounts of money on at Christmas.  For me that person is Matt!

Here’s how the rule goes – each person gets four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

How can this help your budget?

This is a great strategy to organize your holiday shopping.  Limiting the number of gifts to four sets a clear boundary for your Christmas spending.  Once you have four things to wrap for someone, you’re done.  There’s no picking up that one extra thing you find last minute.

Set a total budget for all four gifts.  That way, you’ll have some flexibility.  If the “want” gift is a little pricey, buy a less expensive item of clothing for the “wear” gift.  Or if you splurge on a nice coat as the “wear” gift, buy the paperback copy of the book for the “read” gift.

Gifts Ideas for each category

I’ve put together a list of gift ideas broken down into each category of the 4 gift rule.  I hope you find some inspiration for your holiday shopping!

I have included links for your shopping convenience.  All links below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my link.  This commission helps keep the blog up and running.  Thanks for supporting Lively Chicken!

Something they Want

The “want” category can be the most exciting.  Often these gifts are things that the recipient may not buy for themselves.

For the ladies in your life, a beautiful new bag or wallet is always a perfect gift. For the video game lover, whether they’re 8 or 28 (cough Matt cough), a newly released video game is likely at the top of their list.
Or for the TV addict to stay up to date on all of her shows, how about the latest Fire TV stick with voice control!

Something they Need

A “need” gift might sound a bit boring, but I know I appreciate receiving them the most!  When a gift is something that’s actually needed, it always gets more use than gifts that are just fun to open on Christmas Day.  Here are some “need” gift ideas other than socks and underwear!

No joke, I have Rain-X Wiper Blades on my list this year!  New wiper blades are something I desperately need but never get around to buying!  So I’d definitely be grateful if I found some under the tree! 
If there is a chef in the family, a new set of knives maybe something they want and need.

Or for the person who has been complaining about the number of leaves he’s raked this year, how about a leaf blower that’s inexpensive but has great reviews on Amazon.

Something to Wear

Though PJs are always a great “wear” gift, think outside the box and buy an item that suits the recipient.

Keep your athlete warm this winter with Under Armour ColdGear.

Jewelry counts as something to wear too, right?!  A classic watch can spruce up your girls 9-5 look, and make sure she’s on time for all those important meetings!

Something to Read

Who doesn’t love a good book?!  Well, I guess some people aren’t big readers (I just don’t understand..) but you can always find a nonfiction book related to the recipients favorite hobby.

I have a few different books on my list this year…all related to running!  But Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach is at the top of my list!  Running a faster marathon is definitely a goal for 2017!

If golf is more his type of thing, how about Arnold Palmer’s A Life Well Played, a New York Times bestseller.Or for those people who love a great story, I can’t recommend Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy enough!  As I said on Thursday, I just started reading these books for the third time.  They’re so good!

Use the four gift rule to keep your spending in check and organize your holiday shopping this year.  Make sure to share this idea with your family members so you’re all on the same page.  Time for me to talk to Matt about it!

What’s on your Christmas list this year?

How do you control your holiday spending?

Do you have a Christmas budget?

Michelle at




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1 thought on “Organize Your Holiday Shopping to Stay Within Budget”

  1. I’ve never heard of this, but I think it’s a great rule! It gives great flexibility depending on the person you’re shopping for, but keeps you focused. Thanks for sharing and for the ideas!

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