At long last, the festive season has arrived. It’s a time for us to eat, drink, and be merry – but that can be incredibly difficult if you’re feeling stressed or worried about your finances. These 5 tips to reduce costs over the holiday season will help you save more and stress less during this wonderful time of year:
(And no, ‘have a budget’ isn’t one of the tips – but it is always a good idea)
1. Spend Less on Children by Prioritizing the Experience Over the Gift
Children’s gifts can be difficult to justify. They’re often expensive and, in the scheme of things, they usually only last a short while. Whether they’re shiny new toys, fancy new clothes, or a new backpack, these items will all certainly be appreciated, but only until the child grows out of it.
By making a big deal of the experience of receiving gifts, you can give children something that will last a lifetime – happy memories.
Create a treasure hunt that leads them to their presents. Or gift them a book and make a show of reading it to them. You can even play board games and have them open gifts when it’s their turn.
Whatever you choose, drawing it out will ensure they get priceless value over the celebration – not a pile of gifts.
2. Track Your Spending
It’s always easy to overspend when you don’t understand how you’re spending your money. Keep track of all your expenditure, so you can work out where the best places for you to reduce costs over the holiday season are.
You can use software or apps to track your spending, but a pen and paper are equally good. Whatever method you choose, be sure to account for every dollar.
Then, you can work out where you’ve spent too much and either return or exchange some of the items or reduce your spending going forward.
3. Think Green to Reduce Costs Over the Holiday Season
‘Green’ alternatives that can help minimize your spending over the festive period include:
- Send e-cards instead of paying for physical cards and postage.
- Reuse old wrapping paper or recycle boxes and other wrapping materials.
- Re-gift presents you’ve received that you haven’t opened or used.
- Give your loved ones an e-gift card to their favourite store so they can choose their own present (it cuts down on unwanted gift giving AND makes it easy for you to stick to your budget!)
- Plan your festive meals so that you use all the food that you buy – no waste!
- Make your own presents! It’s easy (and very affordable) to make candles, perfumes, and the like.
4. Make Time For Meal Prep
It’s easier than ever during the festive period to just grab a coffee on the go, or have pizza for dinner (twice) because you were busy all day.
These expenses quickly add up, adding even more financial pressure during an already expensive month. Make time to plan and prepare your meals so that you don’t slip into bad habits.
Your wallet and your health will thank you for it!
5. Celebrate Selectively
December is a month where you’ll overspend on food and drink compared to other months. Whether you’re entertaining at home and eating in or heading to restaurants, the costs do rack up. There are two ways celebrating selectively can help counteract this:
- Tighten your belt on meals for the rest of the month. Eating some cheaper, simpler meals during the month of overeating won’t hurt your waist or your wallet.
- Be a bit selective with your celebrations. You don’t need to attend every event, particularly if you’re going out of obligation. Prioritize the events you’ll have the most fun at!
Bonus Tip For Next Year: Buy What You Can Before December
While it’s a little late this year, you can save money with careful planning. Buying what you can before December means you’ve got plenty of time to shop around and to keep an eye out for sales.
If you have all your gifts purchased long before December rolls around, it also means you’ll spend less time shopping in the lead up to the holidays. This means less time eyeballing the stunning displays retail stores put on to entice you to spend more.
You can still go shopping and take in the unique holiday atmosphere, just leave your wallet at home!
We hope you enjoy this magical time of year!
If you (or anyone you know) needs help reducing your debt, please reach out. We work with individuals and families who are frustrated about living paycheck to paycheck and who are overwhelmed by their debt. In fact, we have helped Canadians resolve more than $300 million in unsecured debt.