How to budget for the holidays

It’s beginning to be the time of year when our spending habits pick up and we have to start thinking about holiday finances. According to a PWC survey, most Canadians plan to spend even more on the holidays this year:

Over two thirds of consumers believe the economy will remain steady or perform better over the next six months, and half are expecting product prices to be higher than last year. Canadian consumers are planning to spend the same or more than last year—an average of CA$1,507 each, which is slightly higher than their US counterparts. [PWC]

If you don’t want the looming holiday season to derail your bank account, here’s some tips for budgeting:

  • Set a budget: it sounds basic, but if you actually define a budget for what you can afford on holiday spending (including food, parties, gifts, decor, etc.), you are more likely to actually stay within it.
  • Be okay saying “no”: prioritize what you need to spend money and what you can skip. If attending one too many holiday events has you financially stressed, it’s not worth it. This time of year can be enough to handle already, without the added pressure of being tight on money.
  • Plan ahead: if you have a plan of what you are looking to buy, you can be on the lookout for money-saving opportunities like sales, promotions or coupons.
  • Avoid Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping: if something wasn’t on your list already, don’t add it. People often get trapped into buying things on big savings days like these, but if you weren’t planning to already purchase something and then you do just because it’s on sale, you aren’t saving money at all.
  • Go local: try some of the local markets where you can find unique gifts that support local businesses as well. Sometimes, you’ll find something with a smaller price tag that is a more creative gift.
  • Online: shopping online allows you to tap into some savings, but also avoid the stressful lineups and busy parking lots that mar the malls the time of year.

Do you have some more tips for saving money and budgeting for the holidays? Share them with us on social media!