Here come the winter holidays, and with them, expenses! Every year, there are so many things to do and so much money gets spent that come January, our wallets are often crying in the corner, empty and scared. We’ve put together a comprehensive list to help you survive the holidays without breaking the bank:
Make a list, then check it twice. Include every person you buy for and what you have in mind for each, where you will buy it and how long it will take (special orders, online delivery, etc.) Include food items too. Then include how much you hope to spend on each. Make sure you also plan entertainment! Decide in advance what you’ll do and how much it will cost, and try to stick to fantastic and cheap activities to save some cash.
Set it, stick to it, track it. ‘Nuff said.
Cash and Carry
Leave the credit cards behind if you go to the mall, or keep one credit card with the lowest possible limit for online shopping sites that don’t offer PayPal.
Sell to Spend
All those unused or unwanted items in your home? They’re cash waiting to happen. Sell them on Kijiji or your neighbourhood Facebook Buy-and-Sell group.
Watch for Sales
Subscribe to online notification services and check flyers regularly. Why pay full price if you can get a deal, right?
Redeem to Give
The holidays are a great time to avoid breaking the bank by cashing in those loyalty rewards you’ve been saving.
Don’t Leave Home
Shop online as much as possible, where not only do you avoid crowds and parking rage, you also avoid gas expenses, breaking the bank on pricey lattes as you shop, and restaurant or food court meals when you get hungry.
Forget Snail Mail Cards
Send personalized e-cards for free, or a mass holiday newsletter email to all your friends and family who live far away, or don’t see your life on social media. Save the paper cards and stamps only for your beloved grandma who doesn’t own a computer.
Instead of store-bought, why not do some holiday baking and give a boxed selection as a gift, or visit the numerous craft markets during the season and pick up a one-of-a-kind present for a loved one?
Gift Your Time
People who love you also love spending time with you, so instead of a thing, give the gift of your time. Promise to take a walk with your dad, or spend an afternoon watching Netflix with your mom, play a morning of Nintendo with nieces and nephews or help an elderly aunt clean out her attic.
Don’t Give Gifts to Everyone
Agree as a family, group of friends or clan of work colleagues to draw names and do a Secret Santa exchange and enjoy holiday time together without your bank breaking.
Kids’ teachers, bosses and coaches all have others in their circle, so connect with them early and decide to give a group present. The gifts will be nicer, and so will your savings.
Scale Back Parties
Elaborate holiday soirees with seven-course meals are off the table in 2020, as are large potluck style feasts. As much as it’s disappointing not to get to see all of our loved ones gathered around the same table, smaller holiday get-togethers are an opportunity to save money. At the same time, we can look forward to seeing everyone in-person next year!
Cut Five or DIY
It may sound cutthroat, but everyone has five people they can either cut entirely from their gift-giving list or cut the budget allotted for their gift by half. They’ll survive with a more modest present, and you’ll survive the holidays without breaking the bank. Homemade holiday gifts are an excellent way to save on spending while giving something meaningful that is genuinely from the heart.