Canadians celebrate the holidays too believe it or not! This post is for my Canadian readers
This holiday season, you’re probably balancing a lot of financial obligations. After a year of eating packed lunches, leaving the credit cards at home and constantly checking Canadian mortgage rates, it’s important to tread lightly in the area of holiday gifts. But you don’t have to avoid holiday spending altogether. Here’s a solid plan to help you stay on the right financial track while searching for gifts for everyone you love.
1. Combine (financial sources) to buy big gifts instead of several small ones. If you have a child on your list who really wants a starter guitar, why not call a few other relatives who intend to buy a gift for him or her? It would probably be less expensive (and pay off more on Christmas day) if all of you chipped in to buy the instrument than everyone getting smaller gifts.
2. Shop online to find the best deals. Because you can find several retailers carrying the same product with a few clicks, shopping online is not only easier but also more effective. What’s even better is that you can usually have the gifts shipped to you after you order them, meaning that you could take care of all of your holiday gift shopping in no time at all and without leaving your home.
3. Buy when items are on sale instead of waiting until the last minute. This may not be much help now, but for future holidays, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that shopping throughout the year is a much better tactic for your sanity and your pocketbook. Buying expensive boots during the winter clearance or waiting until that really nice watch you want to get goes on sale spaces out your expenditures over the year, which makes it easier to come up with the money. It also eliminates the stress of last-minute shopping.
4. Shorten your list. If you’re really on a tight budget, consider this: you don’t have to buy a gift for everyone on your list. This doesn’t mean that you have to show up empty-handed to the holiday party; to the contrary, it means that you can invest time, rather than money, in gifts this year. Homemade goodies such as baked treats, crafts or a personalized basket full of vegetables and fruits from your garden, are just as nice to receive as expensive gifts. They also give you a chance to display your talents.
5. Start with a total budget, then work backwards. Most people, when they begin to make a list of gifts to buy, begin with writing down what they want to get for each person, and then total the costs. It is actually more efficient to do it backwards. Start with your total budget, then determine how much of that budget you want to spend on each person. You’ll be able to find a gift for each price range, and you’ll never be in danger of spending more than you can afford.