5 Tips To Get You In The Driver’s Seat Of Your Financial Sleigh For The Holidays
It’s November, the start of the biggest spending season of the year. It’s no coincidence that it is also Financial Literacy Month. The average Canadian will spend $1810 on holiday related expenses, which is up 12% from 2017. This spending includes holiday travel, gift purchases and entertainment. But you don’t have to fear your bank account statement on December 26th. Instead, stretch your holiday dollar by planning ahead, looking for deals and spending sensibly so that you are firmly in the driver’s seat of your own sleigh. Here are a 5 helpful financial tips you can use this holiday season:
1. Make a Budget & Track Your Spending
Before the season hits full steam, start by setting up a holiday account that will make it easy to track your spending. Set aside a specific amount for all your expenses. Allocating a specific amount to each person on your gift list. Be sure your budget is realistic, a budget that is too tight can lead to frustration and possible overspending. Also remember to account for more than just gift giving. Parties, holiday decor, travel expenses, charitable donations and holiday themed activities should all be included in your budget. A budget spreadsheet is also an excellent and accurate way to track your spending over the holidays and year round. Click the button below to get a free personal budget template from Newton Financial!
2. Establish Expectations Early
If you decide to cut down on the number of holiday gifts you will be giving this season, it is important to establish those expectations early. Talk to your friends and family and set a mutually agreed upon amount for gift giving. Similarly, if you intend to take on a new gift-giving approach to your extended family such as Secret Santa, it is helpful to inform them early to allow them to plan accordingly for their holiday shopping.
3. Limit Self Gifting
One of the biggest holiday trends in the last few years has been “self-gifting”. This is when we treat ourselves while we are out shopping for others. Nearly 60% of us are now self-gifting during the holidays and spending, on average, $130 on ourselves. Remember to also be careful when purchasing gift cards as 72% of people end up shopping for themselves when going to a store or website to purchase a gift card.
4. Cut Down On Convenience Costs
Some of the most hidden costs of the holiday season are impromptu “convenience” expenses. The holiday season can get hectic and throw our usual family schedules off track because of extra responsibilities and activities. As a result, the price we are willing to pay for convenience begins to rise. It may just be easier to order fast food when running late for an appointment or getting a pizza for the kids if we need to attend the office holiday party. “Convenience” expenses will also often happen because we are spending so much time in shopping malls. Unnecessary purchases like expensive coffee drinks, pretzels, smoothies and candy are just a few examples. These expenses appear minor, but over the course of a month or two, they add up quickly.
5. Use Technology To Your Advantage
There are countless online sites and apps available that help consumers be more thrifty, not only during the holiday but year round. Here’s a short list of apps that can help you save.
Find the best weekly shopping deals for groceries and other purchases.
Find deals from you favorite retail stores and eateries
Online consignment store deals on luxury brands
Find deals on golf, grocery and travel
Find deals for clothing, restaurants, exercise classes and more
Also remember that Black Friday is on November 23rd and Cyber Monday is November 26th. You can often find great deals both online and instore and a lot of retailers start their sales early. Be sure to stick to your list and ignore the urge to make impulse buys.
To learn more about how to save over the holidays and year round, contact Newton Financial today!
Jay Newton BA, CLU, CHS, EPC
Worldsource Financial Management Inc.