How to save money during the holidays

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! But it’s also the most expensive. Here’s how to survive the season without breaking the bank.

Holiday shopping is fun, festive and dangerously addictive. For most of you, the thought of cutting back is laughable. It’s the season of giving, after all! But there are ways to reduce your spending this season without (necessarily) reducing the number of gifts under your tree.

1. Give homemade gifts

This is perhaps the most classic way to take pressure off your wallet during the holidays. If you’re not a crafty person, don’t fret. There are plenty of DIY videos online that can help you become an expert in no time. First, decide what you’re going to make. Will you knit scarves for all your loved ones? Bake them cookies? Build birdhouses? These options might sound cheesy, but they’ll mean a lot more than any store bought gift. That being said, nothing’s stopping you from gifting a fancy new item and a handcrafted beeswax candle. Be realistic, and cut costs where you can!

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2. Set a budget

This sounds simple and obvious, but not many people actually do it. Take some time before you start your holiday shopping to make a list of what you’re going to purchase and how much you’re going to spend. Determine strict guidelines – and stick to them. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re surrounded by pushy salespeople and cheery Christmas music, so be firm and only spend what you can afford. Apps like Wally can help you figure out a budget that’s right for you.

Apps like Wally can help you figure out a budget that’s right for you. 

3. Earn some extra money

It only makes sense that if you’re spending more over the holidays, you should be making more too! If your schedule allows it, apply to a few part-time jobs to supplement your current income. Many retail stores welcome applicants during the holiday season when things are busier and regular staff is requesting extra time off. If you already work full-time or simply aren’t interested in sacrificing too much valuable time during the holidays, consider offering your services online! It’s not as easy as it sounds, but if you have a skill to offer that allows you to work from the comfort of your own home – graphic design, writing, photo editing, sales, etc. – you might get lucky. Alternatively, if you have a room to spare in your home, post it on Airbnb for holiday travelers. Even better, do some holiday cleaning and sell stuff you no longer use on Kijiji or your local “buy and sell” group.

4. Take advantage of point rewards and coupons

If you haven’t signed up on any coupon sites or added any point cards to your wallet – it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. This is a free and easy way to earn/save money on things that you’re already buying anyway! Websites like groupon.com and save.ca are an amazing way to find cheap deals on holiday gift ideas, and there’s no catch! To reap cash rewards, research your favorite stores to see if they offer any special savings for members. Amazon Prime is a great option that saves you money and time, and it’s free for the first month! Why not sign up this December?

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5. Buy better gifts, not more gifts

As the old adage goes – it’s the thought that counts. There’s a great deal of truth behind this sentiment that many of us lose sight of during the holidays. We’re so focused on buying enough gifts to fill the space beneath the Christmas tree that we forget why we’re buying them in the first place – to spread joy! The next time you’re about to hand your credit card to a cashier, ask yourself if the item you’re purchasing is the best way to put a smile on the recipient’s face. Instead of buying things out of “holiday habit”, put your money where it’s going to make a true impact. If you put more time into planning the perfect present, you’ll likely find that you give better gifts and save money.

If you put more time into planning the perfect present, you’ll likely find that you give better gifts and save money.

6. Make a family pact

Nowadays, some households are embracing holiday traditions like “secret Santa” or setting a group-wide spending limit to save everyone money. If you’re worried about your financial situation, talk to your family about options like these. At the end of the day, Christmas is about spending time with the people you love… not spending all your savings. This time next year, it’s the memories that you’ll remember, not the gifts you received. So make a pact to focus on what truly matters this holiday season!

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