It’s no surprise that December and the holiday season can be the most expensive time of year. In 2018, a study was done that revealed in America alone 33% of people were expected to spend at least $1000 on gifts. It’s safe to say that Christmas has turned into a holiday that has us spending an excessive amount of money to make our families “happy”, and often we’re spending more money than we actually have to spend.
With the obligations and pressures of the holiday season to get your family the best gifts, and spend the same amount on them as they would spend on you, it’s not surprising that we’re going broke over this time of year and heading into the new year in debt, depressed, and overwhelmed.
How to save & shop smart for the holiday season
Do you have your budget ready to know how much you have to spend and want to spend as you head into prime holiday shopping time? During this time of year, many people are spending more than what they have, or not budgeting for Christmas, only their regular every day expenses. However, the holidays should be no different in terms of setting your financial limits.
Take a look at your budget, taking bills and your regular expenses into account, and lay out your gift ideas, and other holiday items, plus the costs, and see what they’re going to add up to. This will give you an idea of how much wiggle room (if any) you will need in both your regular and holiday budgets, and help you set spending limits.
Although gift giving is a huge part of holiday spending, it’s not actually the biggest expense of the holidays, according to the Retail Council of Canada. So what are we buying this holiday season? Canadians anticipate that they’ll spend 1/5th of their holiday budget on entertaining (food and alcohol). Following that category, there’s also: clothing, toys, dining out, vacations, home decorations, and the list goes on and on.
So where can you save money this holiday season?
Budget based on YOU, not others
When it comes to budgeting for the holidays, you need to make sure you’re only spending within your budget, not others. With everyone having different pressures financially, we often get caught up in the holiday season and overspending because we feel obligated to. Creating debt and setting yourself back financially over the holiday season will only catch up with you eventually. Ensure you are spending within your means and not trying to keep up with everyone else who may be in a different financial position than yourself.
Don’t pay regular price
When you put off your holiday shopping, you are only going to likely need to pay more. Instead, start shopping early to catch end-of-season sales or sales leading up to the holiday season. Black Friday is the most notable time to save, and can help you buy the items you want for your family at a discounted price. Also, ensure you are doing research to find the best price for an item. Being a rush will only cause you to have time to go to one store, and that may not be the cheapest option for what you’re buying. Another good tip is to hang on to receipts as many stores will price match if that item goes on sale within a certain amount of time from when you bought it.
DIY is so in
Think outside the box when it comes to gifting. You don’t need to buy those expensive gifts for your friends, and family, instead, don’t underestimate the power of a homemade gift. Here is a great list of 75 do-it-yourself Christmas gifts that will not only cost you less, but your family/friends will find way more thoughtful. Use materials you already have at home, and make fun stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, or whatever the case.
On top of just gifts, you can also DIY in a ton of other departments too! First off, you can make food gifts that everyone will appreciate like cookies, preserves, or pickled goods. You can also make DIY decorations for your home like snow globes, tree ornaments, garland, holiday cards, have fun with your whole family and save money too. Plus, like we said, people will appreciate the personal touch way more!
Make a list (and check it twice)
We often make grocery lists so we make sure we don’t forget anything when we’re shopping, and these also help us from going off track and buying things we don’t need. The same goes for holiday shopping. Make a shopping list for the people you need to buy for, including spending limits for each so you don’t go overboard. Remember, Christmas isn’t just about the gifts. You’ll also be traveling over the holidays, doing gift exchanges at work that you forgot about, donating to charity, buying decorations, wrapping paper, the list goes on. A list can help you stick to the things you need to buy, versus picking up this and that which adds up quick.
‘Tis the season for payday loans
At GoDay, this time of year is one of the busiest for us and we’re working hard for you. We’ve talked before about how the holiday season adds up quickly, that’s why we want to make sure you’re financially prepared and to let you know how we can help along the way. We’re here to help make sure you can cross everything off your list with no financial stress needed, so you can enjoy the holidays. How? We’re working hard for you this holiday season. Our online loan application is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And with that application, you will instantly know what kind of loan you’ve been approved for. It only takes a matter of minutes. Not to mention, our customer service representatives are available online or by phone if you need help or have any questions along the way. We’re dedicated to making your loan work for you this holiday season.
Suggest secret santa
Another great way to save on gifting is to chat with your family or group of friends about doing a secret santa versus everyone buying for everyone. This allows you to spend more time picking the perfect gift for one person, versus multiple, and will save everyone money. You can also add the element of surprise which makes it all the more fun!
Have a pot luck
Instead of hosting a big fancy dinner where you have to buy and prepare everything, plan a potluck instead. Everyone brings their own booze, and dish, and not only will you be less stressed with the planning, but it’s more fun, and gets everyone involved in the cooking.
Why you should start budgeting early
Budgeting early will help you save for the holiday season so it doesn’t all hit you like a ton of bricks when the time of year comes. Yes, it’s only October, and the thought of Christmas makes you stress and cringe. It just feels too early! But as you know, every year the holidays come up much quicker than we expect and can leave you in financial trouble.
Between the parties, gifts, decorations and food, you will want to make sure you’re going into the holidays financially prepared but also coming out of the holiday season financially afloat as well. No one wants to head into a fresh year in debt!
If you get paid bi-weekly, than you only have four to five paychecks left until the holidays are here. And when you think about it that way, plus all the regular expenses you already have, watching your bank account and spending habits are needed now more than ever.
With each paycheck for the next few weeks you should be creating your holiday spending account. That may look different for everyone. It could be that you take out cash and put it in your piggy bank, or move it into a savings account each week or paycheck. Also take a look at some of those non-necessary expenses in your regular everyday budget that you can eliminate and put towards the holiday season. Like entertainment, shopping for yourself, your morning coffee, etc.
We also have a few apps that can help make your holiday shopping a little bit easier too!
This is the first step in picking a gift from a wide selection of local and international retailers. After you select the perfect gift, you pick the recipient, and your recipient is notified. Finally, the recipient can choose the location of delivery and your gift will arrive in two to three days. The app has a variety of different gifts and experiences to gift!
Flipp has taken over the digital flyer space in not just the food department, but also electronics, fashion, etc. Shop online flyers to find the best deals for what you are trying to buy your loved ones this holiday season. This app is also helpful for food shopping because if your grocery store price matches, you’ll be able to easily check between each store what is on sale for cheaper!
This app helps you find products and what stores actually carry them. A lot of people have questions and are regularly searching for answers at the chaotic malls. Cadillac Fairview has introduced this app to make it easier. If you have a question, you can use the feature right in the app to call or text your question to customer service.
The holiday season can be full of joy and amazing time with your family and friends. It is one of the most magical times of year, and part of the magic is the gifts, food, and quality time. However, it’s important to make sure you stay on top of your finances and don’t get lost among the festive time of year. That way when 2020 hits, you’ll be heading into the new year on the right foot.