The holidays are just around the corner, and along with the festive cheer comes a whole lot of gift-giving and gift-receiving. To help you manage your cash flows and get through to January unscathed, we’ve compiled a short list of money saving tips for you to keep in mind as you start your holiday shopping.
1. Set a Budget
We’ve all seen spending, inside or outside of the holiday season, spin wildly out of control. Set a budget in advance of your shopping trips and make sure you know how much you’re going to be spending for each of your lucky gift recipients. More importantly, hold yourself accountable to your budget!
2. Use Your Credit Cards Wisely
As with any time you’re spending a significant amount, make sure you’re maximizing the rewards and point programs on your credit cards! If one card nets you 3% and the other nets you 1.5%, then make sure you’re focusing your spending on the card with the higher return. It might not seem like much per transaction but the dollars add up.
3. Look for Deals, Not Discounts
You may get tempted by the big flashy “40% off ” signs online or at the mall, but make sure you’re getting a good deal. Some retailers mark up their prices before they apply the discount, so the ‘sale’ that you think you’re taking part in might not actually be that great of a deal. If you’re shopping online, there are a number of web plugins that track the historical prices of the items you’re looking at to ensure you get the best deal.
4. Plan a Gift Exchange for your Friend Group
Instead of figuring out who to buy gifts for in your friend group and hoping to avoid the awkward conversation about who you’re not giving gifts to – consider setting up a gift exchange. Implementing a dollar limit and having each person buy one gift for another person makes friend gifts much easier to manage. Spice it up a bit by doing it white elephant style where you might be able to steal/exchange someone else’s gift.
5. Focus on the People
It’s easy to get carried away in the gift-buying frenzy and the mountains of holiday treats, but make sure you step back for a second and spend quality time with your family, friends, and loved ones. There are plenty of ways to spend time over the holidays without spending lots of money such as checking out free events around the city, watching holiday movies, or walking around your neighbourhood looking for extravagantly decorated houses with over-the-top lights.
Happy holidays everyone!
CPABC Vancouver Chapter Communications Directors