The Well

Rachel Surman | Blog

How To Avoid Overspending This Holiday Season

December 6, 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Between holiday parties, visiting friends and family, and ringing in the new year in style – the holiday season can put added stress on your finances. If you haven’t started preparing for the holidays yet, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got you covered with our six tips to avoid overspending this holiday season. 

1. Set a budget

Creating a holiday budget and sticking to it is key to not overspending during the holidays. Taking the time to calculate how much you can spend this holiday season, including travel costs, gifts for the kids, and maybe a gift for yourself, can help manage your spending. Check out our previous blog to learn how to make a realistic holiday budget.

2. Think homemade rather than store-bought

It’s time to get creative! Giving a well-thought-out, homemade gift is always a heart-warming way to spread holiday cheer on the cheap. There are tons of do-it-yourself gifts that are simple to make. Crafts can make great gifts, cookies-in-a-jar are popular for family gatherings, and baking itself is cheap (and always appreciated).

Coupons are another great idea, such as “one evening of babysitting” or “one packed lunch.” The options are endless and it’s an easy way to tailor your gifts to your loved ones.

3. Think “one gift” games for get-togethers

Giving gifts to friends and acquaintances can get expensive and small store-bought gifts can quickly add up. A way to avoid individual gifts at get-togethers is by playing “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant,” so you’re only responsible for buying a single gift.

While these games can get a little competitive, it’s always a fun and inexpensive time.

4. Limit self-gifting

Now, of course, there are some people that you will need to buy for. If you’re planning on hitting the stores, make a list of gifts to buy and stick to it. This is when that holiday budget comes into play!  

Being prepared helps you to not overspend, especially on yourself. In recent years, retailers have adopted a message about rewarding yourself — which, don’t get us wrong, is important.

But what’s more important is buying yourself something you really want or need, as opposed to getting carried away and buying something that only brings you joy right now.

5. Ensure you have a good credit card

Traditional wisdom says that shopping around the holidays should require a debit card and cash to track spending. However, if you take this route, you could be potentially missing out on earning rewards and cash-back on your holiday shopping.

If you have a problem staying within your limits with a credit card, then by all means, use cash or debit while shopping. But if you have a budget and make your credit payments on time, then having a good credit card will make it easier to save for a trip or earn cash-back from your purchases.

If you want to reap the benefits of a good credit card this holiday season, get your free credit score to find the best credit cards available to you.

6. Track your spending

This is also an important part of sticking to your budget. When you’re shopping for the holidays, or buying supplies to make your DIY crafts, be sure to bring your to-buy-for list and budget sheet with you! Alternatively, you can use budgeting apps like Koho and Mint to help you track your spending and stick to your holiday budget.

You should also track and monitor your credit score during the holidays. This is a time when many Canadians are using their credit cards more and are spending more – so it’s a vulnerable time and you may not notice extra charges. A great way to protect yourself is to keep an eye on your credit score and watch for any significant fluctuations, as this can be a signal that things aren’t quite right.

Those are our six tips to avoid overspending over the holidays. From us at Borrowell, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and happy saving!

Do you know your credit score? Find out in under 3 minutes – this won’t affect your credit score.

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