The holiday season is a joyous time of year for most people, even though it often means tackling a huge a gift-giving list and an even bigger credit card bill. If you want to avoid overspending—an all too common seasonal problem—it’s a good idea to draft a holiday budget and develop a strategy to help you to avoid overspending. Here are some holiday spending tips that will help you keep a holiday budget.
Assess Your Financial Health
Before you can develop a manageable holiday budget, you need to have a fully informed picture of your finances. Don’t just measure your financial health by looking at your bank balance, you’ll also want to factor in how much debt you might have on credit cards and lines of credit. Also consider any income that you might have coming in, including amounts such as a work bonus or holiday money from family.
Create a Holiday Budget
Once you have an accurate assessment of where you stand financially, you can make a fully informed holiday budget that takes into consideration more than just your bank balance. Putting into writing exactly how much you are able to spend on common holiday expenses, such as presents, meals and seasonal travel, is the best way to ensure you won’t unknowingly overspend. Developing a holiday budget ahead of time may also help to prevent impulse purchases. Budgeting also means you’re more likely to avoid surprise bills that could lead to starting the new year with an unmanageable debt load.
Save Money on Common Expenses
A smart and simple way to increase your holiday budget is to decrease the amount you are spending on common expenses, by redeeming your PC Optimum points towards groceries and other products at participating Loblaw banner stores.
Start a Holiday Fund
Everyone knows it is a good idea to have an emergency fund and retirement savings, but it is also worth planning ahead for seasonal spending. Holiday expenses are much easier to manage if you already have a pool of money set aside for that specific purpose. Putting aside a little money each month for a year can be a lot less of a headache than suddenly finding yourself short of funds in December.
Take Advantage of Post-Holiday Sales
While you may not be able to count on snow for Christmas, you can always count on great sales after the holidays. Stores want to get rid of stock to make way for new arrivals, so this can be the best time of year to pick up items you’ll need next year (just don’t forget where you store them!). Stores like Joe Fresh® will likely have wonderful offers on everything from winter clothing to stylish accessories. Shopper Drug Mart is always a good source for enticing offers on things such as holiday décor and beauty items.
Find Free Entertainment
Entertainment expenses are another frequent source of holiday overspending. Contact your local community centres and city hall to find out about free activities in your area. If you’re lucky, you’ll find free skating at local parks, parades and more fun things to do with your family.
General information not about PC Financial products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. PC Financial does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.