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Keeping Your Holiday Spending Under Control Without Being A Scrooge

Keeping Your Holiday Spending Under Control Without Being A Scrooge

family opening holiday gifts

‘Tis the season for festive vibes, holiday tunes, and the unmistakable hustle and bustle of Canadian holiday shopping. Despite a bit of economic unpredictability, soaring inflation, and interest rates doing their own dance, Canadians are adamant about soaking in the holiday spirit and spreading the joy of giving.

So, what’s the scoop on this year’s holiday shopping plans? Well, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) decided to peek into the gift bags of Canadians, and it turns out they’re planning to drop an average of $898 during this holly-jolly season according to their recent survey. That’s a notable uptick from the $782 they shelled out in 2022.

But, let’s keep it real. If you’re wrestling with debt or will be gearing up for a mortgage renewal in the upcoming year, it’s crucial to keep that holiday spending in check. I’ve got a couple of tips up my sleeve to help you sleigh the season without breaking the bank. Ready for some expert advice? Let’s dive in.

1. Budget For Gift Spending All Year

While the holidays often see increased spending on gifts, it’s essential to recognize that gift-buying isn’t confined to year-end festivities; it’s a year-round activity. Maintaining a realistic budget involves looking at your monthly expenses to avoid exceeding your goal. Consider your income and your savings objectives, and determine a reasonable allocation for gifts — And, stick to it. Shifting your perspective to an annual outlook will help you decide what your holiday budget should be. 

2. Look For Holiday Gift Savings

Everywhere you look, there are big discounts available … Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, the list goes on. Make your list early and jump on these deals. However, it also pays to shop early and look for sales throughout the year. If there is family or friends you won’t be seeing until after Christmas, there are huge deals to be had on Boxing Day and the week following. 

3. Keep Credit Card Debt Down

As much as possible, pay for gifts in cash or by debit to help you stay on budget. When it’s not possible, choose one credit card to use – preferably one with a lower interest rate and rewards points. Make a resolution to pay off your holiday debt as soon as possible in the new year.

4. Compare Prices Before You Do Your Holiday Shopping

You should adopt this habit all year, not just during the holidays. There are apps, like Flipp, that let you browse store flyers and online deals. Another good resource is Red Flag Deals, which lets you search for specific items and see who has the lower price. 

It’s also a good idea to look into the price-matching policy that stores have. Some of them will not only match a competitor, they’ll beat it, too.

5. Join A Cash Back App For Online Gift Buying

Shopping online has become very popular in recent years. Sign up for a cash-back website like Rakuten or Great Canadian Rebates. By shopping through these websites, you get a percentage of your purchase back and they often have special points offers to make it even more worthwhile.

6. Use Your Points This Holiday Season

You’ve been saving them up all year, so why not make your points pay off? Cash in on any store loyalty or credit card points and redeem them for discounts, merchandise, or gift cards. Giving a gift card for food or gas is also a great way to give a gift that’s more practical for siblings or adults.

7. Share The Holiday Costs With Your Family

With high inflation affecting the cost of food, have a family discussion and choose to enjoy a potluck dinner or pool your money for a holiday feast so that one family member doesn’t get stuck with the bill. Make it a tradition to share one homemade gift – even if it’s baking someone’s favourite treat.

8. Limit The Number of Gifts You Buy

It’s only natural to want to spoil your children during the holidays but be realistic. Young children generally only play with one or two toys so look for something that will keep them amused for hours on end. Or buy a family gift, like a board game or jigsaw puzzle, that older children can enjoy with their parents. Once your children are adults, a gift exchange where you only buy for one person, or choosing to cut off presents altogether, are options that will help everyone’s budget.

9. Give To Charity Instead Of Presents

Do you have people on your list who don’t really need anything? Maybe it’s a teenager or adult who already has more than enough. Ask them before Christmas if there is a charity that’s special to them then make a donation in their name. This will allow them to be part of the process and learn more about philanthropy. On Giving Tuesday, many charities double or triple donations plus you’ll get a tax receipt.

10. Add To An Investment

Okay, it’s not glamorous or fun but opening up or adding to your adult children’s FHSA or RRSP savings will help them towards buying a new home. Buy one before the end of the year, and these investments also come with a tax deduction so it’s an even bigger gift. An investment in a RESP will also help towards the post-secondary education of children or grandchildren so they’ll enjoy the gift in years to come.

If Your Debt Is Getting You Down or  You’re Wondering What Mortgage Rates Look Like When Your Renewal Notice Comes In, Give Me A Call

Is it getting harder to keep to your budget over the holidays? Maybe your debt is getting out of hand. Or perhaps you’re retiring and want to know how you can leverage your home, to pay for the adventures you’d like to take. It might be time to take a look at a home equity loan, refinance your mortgage or consider a reverse mortgage. I have options the banks don’t and it doesn’t cost you a dime to get advice from an experienced mortgage broker and financial advisor like myself. I’m here to help. Let’s schedule a meeting today – give me a call at (705) 315-0516 or click here to book a consultation and let’s get started.

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