Everyone knows that it can be easy to go all out when it comes to the holidays. Unfortunately, this often means that you end up saddled with a bunch of holiday debt. To avoid a sleigh-size tab, plan to save money and maximize the payoff! To help you make the most of the holiday season, I have put together a few tips for you:
- Order Online: Most people already order online to avoid getting stuck in the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. However, before you do any transactions, ensure that you are ordering from a secure and trusted source. Any websites that provide order tracking will also save you stress as you can keep an eye on your package and know when it will arrive!
- Be Thrifty: Start early and keep an eye out for special sales! Many retailers have Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which can help you jumpstart on holiday shopping. Get inspired with coupons and flip through flyers to get the most out of your money.
- Trust Your Budget: Your budget keeps you on track during the rest of the year, so why not lean on it now? Starting the season with a plan and a maximum spending limit will help alleviate stress while shopping. There are plenty of free budget-tracking apps that connect right to your bank accounts and can be pulled out of your pocket for reference at any time – especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed at the mall.
- Get Crafty: Everyone appreciates the handmade touch in a gift, and DIY-ing this holiday can help you save money. There are attractive options that can be found online, even for beginners. Examples include homemade wreaths, body scrubs, and fun photo scrapbooks that can be done alone or in a group, and you’ll end up with a gift that money can’t buy. If you’re unsure where to find these creative and cost-effective ideas, Pinterest is a great place to start.
- Give the Gift of Time: Instead of buying gifts, spend quality time with your friends and family while you give back to others. Sharing the experience and splitting the cost of hosting a dinner for a family in need will offset the cost of spending money on each person and double the amount of joy spread during the holidays. It feels good to pay in kind.
Whatever you choose to spend this holiday season, remember that the holidays are not solely about the gifts. The holidays are a time for celebration and creating memories, not for going into debt. This year, make the most of the incredible holiday season YOUR way – within your limits – and enjoy how much more affordable and less stressful it can be.
Remember, when possible, budget with cash if you have trouble with overspending or find it too easy to use your credit cards. Having physical cash in hand can also help you think twice when making purchases. If you find yourself with too much debt, consider consolidating debt to a single monthly payment and lower interest costs. Many people don’t realize just how much money they are wasting on interest each month, especially if you have multiple loans or credit cards. Consolidating debt can help you gain control and maximize spend on the principal amounts to pay off loans faster. Dealing with debt can be overwhelming. The first step to financial freedom is to schedule an annual checkup. Read this blog post: https://www.shaneferrao.ca/blog/strategies-to-reduce-your-debt/
Why do we struggle with doing a budget?
Doing a budget is like exercise and eating well. We all know we ‘should’ do it, and it’s good for us, and yet somehow Cheetos, Chapman’s ice cream ends up in our kitchens. We know exercise is good for us, yet we can sit and binge Netflix on the couch for an entire day. If it feels like a chore and cannot connect to our why and find joy, we won’t do it.
How can a budget bring joy?
By connecting it to our why, dreams, and goals, a budget becomes a powerful tool! When we are clear about where we are going, what we want to have, and how we want to live, we have a destination or a dream to work towards. We may never actually enjoy doing a budget, but when we connect to our why, we are more likely to do it because the outcome creates joy for us. Just like burpees – it’s all about the results.
The goals or dreams, for now, maybe to survive this pandemic and self-preservation. Unexpected events like COVID, divorce, or critical illness happen, though we don’t wish that on anyone at all. Today, we may start a budget based on our why being I need to survive COVID and this financial crisis. Later, we want to connect to our outcome goals of how we want to live our lives, and that could include material possessions like owning a home, and it can include some practical things like how I want to retire and when.
What is a budget?
The basic concept of a budget is money coming in and money going out. No one likes a dictatorship. Do you want your money to dictate your life, or do you want to take control of your money? Most of us want to be in control, and a budget is key to having that financial control. We tell our money where to go, how often, and how much -that’s essentially what a budget is.
What are some great DIY tracking resources?
Janine Rogan has an excellent downloadable excel spreadsheet that is robust! http://janinerogan.com/2014/07/making-a-budget.html
Another fillable tracking sheet is by Erin Skye Kelly https://www.erinskyekelly.com/financial-transformation-download
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada FCAC some excellent tips and a budget tracker, and you can earn badges. Sometimes we need those rewards https://itools-ioutils.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/BP-PB/budget-planner
A great place to start your first budget is with the Bromwich+Smith budget planner https://www.bromwichandsmith.com/tools/budget-planner