While the holidays are a great time of festive fun and seasonal spirit, it can also be a time of financial faults and stressful spending.
Studies show the average Canadian expects to spend between $600 – $800 this holiday season. While about half say they expect to pay for their gift giving with savings, the other half state they either plan to use credit cards or admit to not having thought about how they will cover their spending.
The holiday season can be a lot of things; exciting, emotional, stressful, busy, and all of these play into overspending. So what’s the best defense for beating a January full of late payments and regrets? Making a solid shopping plan and sticking to it.
1) First, make a list of everyone you plan to buy for!
Then, take some people off. Speak with your family or friends and see what arrangements you can make to help shorten everyone’s list. For example, if you’re getting together with a group of friends, suggest a Secret Santa or a gifting game instead of everyone buying something for everyone. If you’re part of a large family, talk to the other adults about saving the gift giving for just the kids.
2) Remember, giving a gift does not explicitly mean buying a gift.
Are there people on your list for who you can replace “buy” with make, bake or visit? Home baked cookies make great teacher or neighbour gifts. Old friends might be just as happy to catch up over coffee then receive a present. See what other options you have beyond going out and spending money, sometimes the gift is even greater when you’ve spent a little time on it.
After you’ve made your cuts and plans for alternative giving, sit down and really take a look at what you can afford. Break down your budget to who’s left on your list and set a limit for each gift.
When things get busy and you need to find the perfect gift, you find it’s 4:00PM on Christmas Eve, so it can be easy to forgo the plan and spend off budget. So start planning and shopping early so you’ve got time to take advantage of sales and find a gift for each person you can be happy to give, that remains within your budget. Remember, no matter what you give your loved ones, you’re the one who has to open that credit card bill in January.
For more tips and advice on financial savings and planning, Contact Us Today!