Money Matters – How to avoid overspending this holiday season

Yes, its that time of the year again with the parties for hosting and marshmallows for toasting, its the holiday season. The holiday season is the perfect time to spend with family and friends with many things to be thankful for and to celebrate. However, for many Canadians the holiday season and the months after that can lead to many headaches and stress from holiday spending.

“New survey finds that Canadians plan to spend an average of over $500 on gifts, with 42% of those surveyed saying they did not set a holiday budget”

– CPA CANADA

According to the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) most Canadians will have spending goals in mind this year for the holiday season, even though a larger portion has not thought about how they will plan to stay on budget. The survey also found that one-in-five respondents anticipate overspending their holiday budget with nearly half of the respondents say they experience added stress during the holidays.

Rather than hating Christmas like the Grinch or being disgusted and saying “BAH! HUMBAG” like Ebenezer Scrooge, CPA Canada has listed out Five Financial planning tips for a stress-free holiday this season:

  1. Start Saving Early
    The rule of thumb is the earlier you save the better, but it’s never too late to start saving. Avoid financial stress this season by saving NOW and prioritize saving throughout the year for a worry-free holiday season next year. Just like taking our vitamins to boost our immune system, saving aside money each month strengthens our financial health and provide some peace of mind.
  2. Create a budget (and stick to it)!
    CPA Canada found that 42% of Canadians admit they don’t have a holiday budget this year with 65% say they do not plan to overspend this season. Creating a budget does not have to be complicated. Simply set spending targets for gifts, travel, entertainment, write them down (or record them on Google Sheets or Excel) and monitor how much you are spending. 
  3. Find those deals
    Taking advantage of great deals is all about research and timing. Black Friday and Cyber Monday is coming up soon which means amazing deals on almost everything on your holiday gift list. Another great way to save money and find amazing deals, especially if you are shopping online, is to use the free web browser extension Honey to find coupons and discount codes to many major retailers. 
  4. Think outside the gift box
    Gifting for the holiday season does not have to be expensive and big. Half of Canadians this year plan to give a non-traditional gift this year. These gifts are often meaningful with thoughtful gestures such as festive foods or re-gifting much appreciated but unwanted gifts. Thinking outside of the box is a great way to save money and express creativity and there is no shame in that. 
  5. Tackle debt all year long
    One of the best ways to stay on budget and have a stress-free holiday season is to plan an annual budget and pay down debt all year long. Getting into the habit of tracking your spending and paying down debt helps minimize financial stress and reinforce financial planning. 

For More Information about the CPA and Financial Tips:
CPA Canada peels back the wrapping paper to reveal Canadians’ holiday spending habits

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