The winter holidays are upon us and with them the added stress of tight financial times. This year, enjoy the season without letting holiday spending get the better of you. We've put together expert advice and practical tools to help you minimize spending concerns and make this holiday season a joyous time.
Holiday Spending Survival Guide
If you love to celebrate the holidays but don't love the financial pinch you experience afterward, there are several great tricks for giving and celebrating, without breaking the bank. Read more
Holiday Budget Calculator
How much should you plan to set aside for the holiday season? Use this calculator as a guideline before you start shopping. Calculate
If you don't plan ahead, you may spend more on entertainment than you expected. This tool will help you track your holiday spending. Calculate
- Make a Budget and Stick to It
Start your holiday budgeting by looking at what you spent last year. Were you on target, or did last year's spending land you in debt? Make a list of what you plan to spend money on this year. Knowing your spending goals beforehand will keep you on track. Some financial planners recommend spending no more than 1.5% of your annual income ($750 per $50,000 of annual income). Look at your major spending categories - gifts, entertaining, meals, and travel- and estimate how much you can afford in each category. Learn more about Canadians holiday spending habits.
- Get Creative
Save money this year by getting creative. Store-bought gifts are great, but when you make a gift for someone they truly appreciate your time and effort. Ideas for creative gift projects are plentiful online. A fun place to start is Instructables.com, a do-it-yourself web site full of step-by-step tutorials for everyone.
Perhaps you don't have time to make something yourself but still like the affordability and personal touch of giving homemade gifts. At Craftzine.com you'll not only find ideas that you can make yourself, but budget gifts available from other crafters. The ultimate marketplace for homemade gifts however is Etsy, where you can find crafty items from over 200,000 sellers.
- Join Together
Instead of excessively spending on each other this year, join together with family members to help those who may be less fortunate. Online opportunities are easy to find, or ask around your own community to find opportunities to help those in need that are close to home.
- Travel Wisely
Use this Travel Budgeting Calculator to keep your spending in check.
- Avoid the Holiday Hangover
Holidays are a wonderful time to entertain. And a little planning and budgeting will help you avoid financial headaches.