Ah, Christmas, it’s the most wonderfully expensive time of the year. Here’s the tips to keep you financially on track for the holidays.
Budget, Budget, Budget
Before you start the shopping frenzy, make sure you create a budget for all of your holiday related expenses.
Remember to include:
- extra food costs (turkey!)
- entertaining costs
- extra gifts (i.e. teachers)
Our family shares an excel file that tracks all our gift purchases, so that we stay on top of the spending.
Once you have that budget in place, set-up an automatic savings plan so that you can put money away every month to save up for the biggest spending month of the year.
It might be too late for this year but you can set it up now to start in January. You will thank yourself in a big way when December rolls around.
We use Tangerine as our automatic savings account and it’s 100% free.
Say Noooooo To Credit
One of the biggest challenges with Christmas spending is not racking up the credit card.
This can be difficult if you purchase gifts online. The trick here is the use a pre-paid credit card for all your Christmas spending.
Simply load your card with the amount you’ve budgeted, and use only this card for all your Christmas purchases.
Your “normal” credit cards will get a much needed break and you’ll LOVE your credit card statements in January (think of all the interest you’ll save!).
There are a number of pre-paid cards out there, but we love the Koho card because it is also an app that shows you exactly what you bought and how much money you have left.
There’s no number crunching or adding up receipts because the app does all the tracking and math for you!
Plus you earn cash back and there are no fees unless you purchase items from outside of Canada.
Use your prepaid credit card to do your shopping online. It’s a great way to stick with your budget and reduce impulse purchases.
There are also ways to get cash back by shopping on Ebates.ca, which connects you to most of your favourite online stores (Amazon!) but pays you cash back on your purchases.
Plus, if you use the KOHO prepaid card, you’ll get even more cash back.
Give And Get Back
Do you have people on your list that really don’t need or want anything for Christmas? Consider making a charitable donation instead of giving a gift and benefit from the tax deduction.
Take It Easy
Give yourself lots of time to get your Christmas shopping done. When we hurry around at the last minute, we can make poor choices and end up spending more than we planned to because we didn’t shop around.
Take it easy and enjoy the season!