Ah, the joy of the holiday season.
The smell of cookies in the air and all the Christmas decorations. Getting together with loved ones. And – gifts. Lots of gifts. So many gifts that you may well find yourself spending more than you’re comfortable with during the festive season.
But this year will be different. It’s time to overhaul the holiday season budget for Christmas. Financial preparedness and responsibility will be the game’s name to get us through the end of the year with ease and happiness.
Want to learn more about creating (and sticking) to a budget on spending money for Christmas? Keep reading to learn more.
Start With a Budget
Look, we won’t sugar-coat it. You will likely spend more this time of year than you usually do. Your budget will get overshot, and that’s okay. Please don’t beat yourself up overspending extra during the holiday season because it happens with everyone. What you need to be mindful of is how much extra you spend.
Roughly look at your expenses and add them up. It would be best to arrive at an approximate number to act as your budget for the holidays. After looking at your budget, you will need to figure out where that money will come from. For example, most people spent more on takeout and self-care during the pandemic.
Review your spending and see if you can cut your spending somewhere. And once you know how much you can spend and where the money will come from, all you need to do is stick to your new budget. Of course, easier said than done, but it’s an excellent place to start.
Cut Out the Higher Expenses
You will undoubtedly have lots of expenses during the holiday season. And while you may feel like the money is going out of your bank account, there is one factor you can control.
Watch out for those high-cost expenses. They can creep up on you and will unnecessarily stretch your budget thin.
For this, you need to master the art of discernment. Start understanding where you should dish out a little extra and where it’s possible to cut back. For example, you may want to spring for a great tree with all the decorations because it brings the whole family together. However, go cheaper with the stocking stuffing. It’s all about balance – so if you find yourself spending a little extra, find other ways you can cut back.
Look for Deals (and Start Early)
The holidays are a time we all go overboard on spending. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t deals out there to lower the financial burden.
There are many deals and discounts this time of year. You may want to begin deal-hunting as early as November! To make the most of the deals available, we suggest starting early.
Black Friday is the premier time for finding holiday gifts at a lower price point. So, make the gifting list early this year and start scouring for deals. You could look both online and in person.
Another great tool you can use here is price matching. Price matching is a great way to build up points and rewards at the retailer, which you can use towards more gifts and spending! So, if you can’t find deals at your favourite retailer, hunt them out, and then get it price matched at your retailer.
Coupons and coupon codes are also an excellent way to keep your spending in check.
Thus, you get more by spending less! Once you get into deal-hunting, you will be surprised at how discounts abound at every corner! You may even master the art soon enough and come to enjoy it.
Save up Early
One of the best strategies you can take is to start saving early. If you know you have a couple of big-ticket items to spend on, start setting money aside for it as early as possible. You could break down the expense into smaller chunks and put aside a portion of your paycheck each month. You should have enough money for the big stuff ready to go by the time Christmas arrives.
A great way to do this is through automatic transfers. Nearly all banks offer this feature, and it’s an excellent way for money to get saved up without you even realizing it.
Traditional gifts are so old-school. A small, thoughtful gift will mean so much more to your loved ones than an expensive one that they may never use. Fight back the impulse to overspend at stores.
Instead, take a moment to think about what those on your list will appreciate. For example, some may love handwritten letters with special memories and details reminisced over.
Others may love DIY gift options such as hand-knit sweaters, handmade snacks, or pottery and ceramics. You could also think of something your loved ones need.
For example, if your sister loves to do the Sunday crossword but rarely finds time to get to them, a gift option may be to save them all up and gift them to her to complete them at her leisure.
This is to say, there are so many options for gift giving out there. And going the personalized and creative route can save you thousands of dollars down the line!
Use Lines of Credit
If the saving pathway isn’t working for you, we have another (more straightforward) solution. Lines of credit will be your secret weapon this holiday season. Consider looking for credit options if you’re looking to start spending but don’t have the money lined up yet.
You could opt for a low-interest unsecured loan. This is an excellent option if you need extra time to repay the loan. On the other hand, if you will be ready to pay off your debts sooner, why not opt for a credit card? Take out a credit card for Christmas to fund your holiday gift-giving and spending.
Alternatively, narrow down on the retailers you plan to buy from. Then check if they have ‘buy now pay later Canada’ options. This will break up your expense into small instalments that you can pay back with monthly fixed instalments.
Buy now pay later options are excellent also because they have low-interest options.
Thus, as you can see, there are credit and borrowing options for every kind of spender and budget out there.
Financial Preparedness and Responsibility Means Doing Your Research
If you want to get serious about your financial preparedness and responsibility, you need to research.
Start learning about saving strategies. Get familiar with budgeting hacks the financial gurus use. And remember, learning about better managing your finances isn’t just for the holiday season.
It is a way to gift yourself the most crucial present – financial literacy and responsible investing. Learning more about financial responsibility will set you up with healthy budgets tactics for life!
Opt for Free Activities
You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the holiday season! So next time you’re considering spending big on expensive holiday theatre tickets or an expensive vacation – think again.
There is lots of fun to be had – that isn’t quite as expensive. Yes, we’re talking about activities of the free kind. Do some research on events near you.
There are typically lots of holiday events that are full of Christmas cheer. For example, your neighbourhood could be having a tree lighting festival, or there could be a free skate event near you. You could even create your activity like walking around the neighbourhood looking at the holiday decor.
Getting creative with the holiday happenings is a great way to save some money. These activities will also get the whole family involved as well!
The Holiday Season Is for Cheer (and Saving)
Think you can’t get through the holidays without spending a fortune? Well, it doesn’t have to be so! Financial preparedness and responsibility will get you through holiday shipping without maxing out your credit cards. So not only will you stay on budget this festive season, but you may also have a bit extra left come the new year.
Are you looking for a little extra support during the Christmas season? Creditpicks is your one-stop shop for a range of financial education filled with informative resources on budgeting, credit, and taking out a holiday loan!
Be sure to check out our unsecured loans page for more information today!