Shopping for Christmas presents and other holiday related items can be pretty stressful. We want to do what we can to help you minimize your anxiety this December so we’ve compiled the highlights of some of our favourite posts about saving money during the holidays.
Start thinking about the people on your to-buy list as early as September or October. Pay attention to the offhand or throw-away comments they make and make note of the things they express interest in. The sooner you can start getting things here and there/spreading out your shopping, the easier December will be on your wallet.
Establish a Budget in Advance and Stick to It
Ask yourself, ‘How much can I reasonably spend without going into debt or putting myself into a precarious financial situation?’. Whatever that amount is, stick to it. There is rarely a gift that’s worth jeopardizing your own financial stability over.
Never underestimate the benefits of online shopping. Not only is it fantastic to be able to shop in your PJs and then have your purchases delivered directly to your home, but there are often a number of really great deals and sales that are only available online. Depending on how much you spend, it’s often easy to get a deal on free shipping during the holiday season as well.
Think Outside of the Box
Don’t limit yourself to physical objects or things you can buy in a store. Some of the best gifts are incredibly thoughtful ones that are based not so much on how much you’ve spent but on how well the gift caters to the wants or needs of the recipient.
Try to think about experiences you can give your gift recipients rather than just tangible objects. A truly thoughtful gift tailored to the person on the receiving end almost always means more than something expensive.
Force Yourself to Confront your Finances
Ironically, saving money during the holidays isn’t something that stops after the holidays are over. That’s because most of us used our credit cards and now have to deal with the first post-holiday bank statement in January. As painful as it is, you have to force yourself to check your bank statements and understand the extent of your newly accrued holiday debt before the problem snowballs. As much as it might fill you with dread, the sense of relief you have when you at least know exactly how deep in the hole you are is tangible. In some cases, the debt might not even be as bad as you’ve made it out to be in your head. The sooner you know where you stand, the sooner you can take proactive steps to do something about it.
Use the New Year to stick to a resolution of Budgeting Better
As cliche as it might sound, the New Year is the perfect time to resolve to budget better. It might not be the most fun, but learning how to budget and how to stick to said budget will save you a lot of financial discomfort in the future. If you don’t have a clear idea of how much money you actually have versus how much you owe, it’s easy to spend more than you have and get in over your head. Sticking to a budget, while restrictive, will ensure you have a firm understanding of your own finances and that you never have to suffer through another holiday debt hangover again.
Don’t buy Anything that’s not Essential until you’ve got your Finances back Under Control
As tempting as boxing day and other New Year’s flash sales are, don’t let yourself spend money on anything that’s not vital or essential to your wellbeing until you’re back on your feet. Rent, Groceries, and your hydro bill are things you absolutely must buy. A new surround sound system is not.
While you might feel like you’re depriving yourself, remember that it’s just temporary (and that Christmas/Hanukkah just ended so it’s really the perfect time to take a break from consumerism anyhow).
Do you have any tips to help our readers save money during the Holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!