With the start of the Christmas season it is very easy to get caught up in the excitement and overspend. Here are a few ways to help keep spending in check.
- Create and Stick to a Budget (All Year)
A good way to start is to track your spending. Once you know where your money is being spent you can begin to make changes. The Government of Canada has great information on Making a Budget.
- Use Cash or Debit
Using credit can add up to 50% on top of what you are already spending on the gift if you are not able to pay it off quickly.
- Set a Limit
Decide on a dollar limit for each gift or person on your list.
- Comparison Shop
Do your research before you buy an item to make sure you are getting it for the best price.
- Draw Names
Put everyone’s name in a bowl and draw names so that no one has to buy a gift for each family member. This not only eases your budget, but also reduces the amount of shopping you need to do.
- Pick Up Gifts Throughout the Year
This will spread your spending out over a more manageable period of time. It will also ease some of your stress as Christmas approaches if you have most or all of your gifts taken care of.
- Cheap or Free Activities
Watch for activities or events that are less expensive or free happening in your community and take advantage of them.
- Host a Christmas Potluck
Invite family and friends to a Christmas potluck breakfast, lunch or dinner. With everyone bringing a dish it reduces the expense and stress of hosting a large group.
- Give a Personalized Basket
Make your own gift baskets. Fill them with home baked cookies, hot beverages, soup mixes, crackers etc. Use your imagination and personalize them for the person you are giving them to.
- Plan For Next Year
It’s too late for this year, but start in January and set aside money each month in preparation for next Christmas.