Holiday festivities are a joyful time for most as we gather with friends and family. Still, it can also be stressful, especially when juggling the extra costs of gift-giving and entertaining. It can affect our finances if we don’t have a plan, and essential to understand how to prioritize our spending so that when January rolls around, we are not stressed when our bank statements arrive.
We’ve put together a few helpful ways to help keep your spending on track this year:
Making a list and checking it twice.
Start by adding every person you intend on gifting to the list, no matter how insignificant, so you have a comprehensive budget. The list may include the following:
- All your immediate family and any far-away friends.
- Your massage therapist.
- Your child’s teacher.
- That lovely person who serves you coffee with a smile.
Now, this is where checking it twice comes into the equation. Consider your budget and adjust the list accordingly. Once you know who you are buying for, have a dollar value for each person and stick to it! Most importantly, cross that person off your list and keep your budget in mind so there is no temptation to add a little extra. Control the urge to splurge on a great deal.
Purchase with cash.
Now that we can TAP for everything, using cash may seem strange. There was a reason your grandmother had cash hidden under the mattress. Before credit and debit cards, cash was your only purchase option. Have the cash you wish to spend on your gifts and entertaining budgets and draw from that instead of pulling out your plastic. It’s a great way to stay on budget and avoid impulse buys. Moreover, it keeps you out of debt and allows you to enjoy your celebrations without regret.
Work from a menu.
Write your grocery list ahead of time, and don’t deviate from your plan. During the holiday season, not only are the groceries stores chaotic with people shopping for their extra baking and cooking needs, but the design of the store displays can also entice you to spend on items you may not have on your menu. You can easily find yourself spending more than you budgeted. Avoid those beautiful displays and pre-made platters. There’s always a way to entertain in style – regardless of your budget. Host an after-dinner cocktail party where only appetizers are required or a festive pot-luck brunch. Since this is the time of year for sharing, what a great way to have your guests feel the gift of giving by bringing their favourite dish.
Be kind to yourself.
If you end up over budget and in debt, despite your best efforts, don’t stress about it. Do your best by following some of these suggestions for managing your holiday spending to reduce stress.
In January, book a consultation to speak with a professional about managing your finances and controlling your cash flow. A solid plan to pay down holiday debt and get back on track is key to ensuring financial security going forward.