There’s nothing worse than letting a family member or dear friend’s birthday sneak up on you. Although it can happen, last minute gifts are not typically where “best gift ever” memories are made. Life happens. Days turn into weeks and before you know it, another birthday has come and gone. Don’t let someone special’s birthday get away from you. Follow these simple four tips!
1. Calendar Birthdays.
Keep a planner or an updated calendar with important birthdays in it. This will allow you to keep an eye on weeks ahead and not let birthdays creep up on you. Some people keep track of birthdays through Facebook. This can cause problems if you don’t log in often or if someone has either a fake birthday or no birthday on Facebook. Even if the person is someone you just want to call or send a card to, having it on your calendar ensures you won’t forget. It’s extra effort but worth it to make the people you care about feel special. I transfer birthdays from my planner each year when I get a new one so I don’t miss a birthday or have to ask someone when their birthday is. If you are working with a calendar on your computer like Outlook, you can make the birthday a recurring event. Either way, get those special birthdays on your calendar!
2. Gift plan at the beginning of every month.
Even if you have the birthday in your calendar, it can still sneak up on you if you only look ahead a week at a time. If you view your calendar a week at a time on your computer, you will not see a birthday until it is happening! I recommend doing all birthday/event buying at the beginning of each month. Make sure that you are looking into the next month as well. For example, at the beginning of June look ahead to all birthdays or events in June and the first week or two in July. That way there is time to have items ship, arrive on time, and time to wrap. Transfer all birthdays for that month and the first week of the next month to your to-do list at the beginning of each month.
3. Keep a running list of gift ideas.
I always keep a running list of gift ideas for family and friends. You can use Trello or the notes app on your phone or even used good old fashion paper (my preference). I don’t recommend keeping a paper list if you are worried that you will lose it or have three different lists. Start your list when someone mentions an item that they want- believe me it comes up in conversation more than you think. Write or type that item into your list along with the name of the person who wants it. Write down as much detail as possible including: color, size, type, etc. Just pay attention. Your list will soon be full of ideas for your friends and family. No more brainstorming the day before your friend’s birthday party! A good time to get these ideas is when you are shopping with the person. See what they try on, linger over, or mention off hand. If it doesn’t give you a concrete item, it will at least give you some insight and inspiration as to what that person is into. This tip will really help you stay on top of birthdays because you won’t have to take the time to think of an idea. Plus, then you are getting a present the birthday boy or birthday girl really wants!
4. Watch out for sales and coupons.
Tip number 2 and 3 can help you save money on birthday presents as well as keeping you organized. Your brother wants a certain sneaker so you write it on your ongoing list. Three months before his birthday you get an email or see online that they are on sale. You can get him what he wants for less. WIN-WIN. However, the catch is that unless you are doing tip number three (always keeping a list of ideas) you won’t be ready to buy an item when you see it on sale.
All four tips are key to staying organized (and even saving money) on gifts for birthdays and events!! Try it out and enjoy the stress-free feeling once you have your system in place!