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Planning Christmas shopping

For some people, Christmas time evokes both fun and folly. Is that what resonates with you as well?

While we always want this time of year to be light and festive, it’s actually quite a trying time for many, especially in terms of personal finances. Organizing the children’s vacation, inviting friends and family to the house, thinking about the host gift, decorating, not to mention buying gifts for loved ones. It’s no wonder that your heartbeat quickens just thinking about it!

If the approach of December brings panic rather than smiles, here are a few tips that can help you better plan your budget and enjoy this time of year.

 

Set a budget

It’s no surprise that Christmas comes around every year at the same time. The holiday season can be anticipated, so why not prepare for it all year long?

To start, you need to determine how much money you have available to spend during the holiday season. To do this, you need to start by making your budget.

Once you know how much money you have available for the holidays, you can plan for savings and spending!

 

Staying within your budget

Determining how much you have for the holidays is one thing, but sticking to it is another.

It can be very tempting not to make a budget or to exceed it, thinking that you have room on your credit card. You are not wrong! However, remember that if you pay cash, or your credit card in full at the end of the month, you will have all of these benefits:

  • Once the holiday season is over, you can already start saving for next year, without the stress of paying for past expenses. As a bonus, you reduce the chances of having to tighten your belt!
  • You avoid paying a lot more for the gifts you gave. For example, if you borrow $300 on your credit card and only pay back the minimum amount (of 3%), you’ll have to add another $118.24 and will drag that debt for 3.5 years before it’s completely paid off (assuming you don’t add other expenses).
  • With the money saved, you can enjoy the specials you come across all year long, not just the ones leading up to Christmas!
  • The holiday season will be less stressful for you! No debt, no stress!

 

Tips for saving money

Gifts, decorations, food, alcohol, clothing… it’s easy to spend a lot more than you should this holiday season! However, there are many ways to save money and give your wallet time to catch its breath!

  • Store for discounts all year long.
    • The best time to buy decorations, wrapping paper or table linens is right after the holidays! But before you rush out to hunt for bargains, take inventory of what you have and what you really need. It will save you money, and time for next year!
    • For many products, specials come back every 3 months so no need to wait until Christmas Eve to buy your turkey! Is it on sale in October? Why not buy it now and freeze it until Christmas?
    • Prepare your gift list and take the time to compare prices in the flyers or on the Internet before making your purchases. Remember: stick to what’s on your list, even if it’s tempting to add a little fashion accessory for your cousin. This will avoid impulse buying and keep you in line with your budget.
  • Make the gifts.
    • Do you have a talent for painting? Why not give one of your works as a gift?
    • Begged to bring your fabulous carrot and nut muffins to every place you go? You know what to do! 🙂
  • Give the gift of time.
    • You can give service coupons, to be used as needed (for example, offer to take care of the youngest child so that your friends can go to the movies; prepare meals for your aunt who doesn’t like to cook much; or fix the creaky cupboard at your uncle’s house who isn’t very good at this kind of work…).
    • Nothing is more precious than quality time with your loved ones. A walk in the trails, a picnic in the park or an afternoon of puzzle work, these are all moments that will remain engraved in your memory!
    • It’s also a time to share your knowledge! Grandson keeps asking you to show him how to make your famous homemade pasta? Give him a private lesson!

 

Whether you are looking forward to the holidays with joy or stress, remember to take care of yourself!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your finances or don’t know how to get started on a project, don’t hesitate to call us! We offer free budget consultations!