It is the time of year for gift giving, but how do you keep track of what you’ve bought or who you’ve bought it for. How do you make sure you’ve stayed within a budget? Or perhaps you don’t set a budget, but want to spend similar amounts on each family member? And what if you had that great idea for a gift, but once you’re in the crowded shopping centre you can’t remember what it was?
Gift giving management apps are true “app heroes” for keeping holiday shopping, as well as gift giving year round, uncomplicated and on track. Many are free and all are simple to use.
In general, most gift giving management apps do the following:
- Allow you to enter everyone on your gift list separately (even import from your contacts). This way, you’ll remember family members as well as the music teacher, the hockey coach, etc.
- For each person assign a budget so as you purchase gifts (and enter them under each person’s name), the budget decreases.( If you do go over budget, just reset the initial amount.)
- Track both gifts bought and gift ideas. So you can add ideas to the list, and once purchased, or presented, check them off. This feature is a good way to monitor gift giving through the year.
Many let you add the store name or at least make a note about the gift. This is helpful if you need to return it and can’t remember where it came from.
Another common feature is the ability to add photos to the lists so if you’re in store and see something, you can store the idea.
The Christmas Gift List – Free, and easy to use. And it works all year round! It even adds up the total amount spent and gives you a pie chart showing your progress (gifts still to buy, gifts purchased, gifts presented).
Santa’s Bag – Another free app, listed by Forbes as “Santa approved.” It also sorts by store so you can organize your shopping trip.
Gift Planner – Free and allows you to store tracking numbers for online orders. Also set up for year round gift giving management!
Gift List Manager – Free, or purchase a $2.99 pro version. Handles gift lists elegantly and allows users to take photos of gifts or ideas and store with your lists.
The status of your holiday gift list is…complicated. It exists on Post-its, scribbled-on paper scraps, entries in your phone’s notes app, and bookmarks in your browser. That can make holiday shopping a confusing task, and inevitably lead to forgotten items.
Before that happens, put yourself first on your holiday gift list, and download a gift-list app. Once you make your list, you won’t have to check it twice since a good gift-list app handles most of the hard work: syncing across platforms, figuring out just what stores have the items you’re looking for, and things like sizes of your gift recipients.
A gift-list app is probably one of the least expensive gifts you’ll buy this season since most of them are free or under a dollar. It will certainly save you from some holiday blues, and could help your holiday budget from going into the red. One note: a few of the apps are very specifically Christmas-themed in name and look but function fine for any holiday at any time of the year.