Get Creative To Save Your Holiday Budget

2016-12-19   minute read

Grant Bazian

Lifestyle Debt

MNP's TAKE: With the holidays right around the corner, it's easy to get caught up in a spending frenzy. But if you're depending on credit to carry your spending, you might find that you're paying a lot more than you anticipated when the bills start to roll in come the New Year and interest begins to accrue.  To keep yourself on track for a good financial start to 2017, try creating a detailed budget. If you take the time to fully evaluate your personal and household expenses, factor in your personal and household income and then detail your expected holiday expenditures, you will have more perspective into your holiday spending - and might find yourself more reluctant to make impulse purchases. Along with creating a budget, start considering both your short- and long-term financial goals. Do you want to buy a car, take a trip or even acquire a mortgage in the near future? How could you integrate saving for these financial goals into your financial planning? How will your savings plan affect your holiday spending? Once you have a comprehensive plan in place, you might find out just how easy it is to trim holiday spending so you can prepare for a strong financial year ahead.  If debt has already started to take hold and holiday spending has only increased your financial difficulties, you have options. Depending on your unique position, there may be several options available to help get you on track to achieving a fresh financial start so you can get back to living out your retirement comfortably. Contact Grant Bazian, CIRP, LIT, President of MNP Ltd. at 778.374.2108 or [email protected] for information on what debt solutions are available to help you. BY GAIL VAZ-OXLADE FROM THE TORONTO STAR   People find it challenging to plan for the holiday season without blowing their budgets or their minds. If you didn't create a savings plan at the beginning of the year to accumulate the money you'd need now, you may find it a test to really do the holidays justice without making a mess of your budget. Time to get creative: 1. Make a list and check it twice. Who doesn't need to be on there? To whom can you give a token gift to celebrate the season? How can you make your gift list fit within your budget? Secret Santa works at work, why not also among a brood of siblings? Once you have a list, jot down your gift ideas for each person on your list. 2. Give of yourself. The very best gifts don't have to cost a lot. Offer your time for babysitting, cooking meals, house cleaning, massaging, sewing, knitting, transporting or whatever else you're good at. Clip a picture of the service you'll provide and be clear on how often, as in "I'll babysit one weekend a month from February to June." 3. Don't hungry-shop. If you're going to be out shopping for a while, pack a healthy snack and some water. Hunger and thirst have a way of muddling your thinking. Keep your energy up so your brain (and self-control) can work properly. 4. Don't open up all the new store credit cards accounts you're offered. It's super-tempting to get 10 per cent or 20 per cent off your purchase for the day. But think for a minute: stores must be making shedloads of money on interest and fees to offer you that "special deal." If you're the sucker who ends up carrying a balance, you'll spend far more in interest than you saved on purchases. Plus, opening and closing store cards can mess with your credit score. 5. Don't self-gift while shopping. Don't be one of the 70 per cent of shoppers using the one-for-you-one-for-me approach. Show some self-control! 6. Use gift cards carefully. Gift cards are all the rage. Can't think of what to get? A gift card will do nicely. Did you know that tons of gift cards go unredeemed every year? If you must buy a gift card, make sure you choose a reputable retailer, since you're translating real money into retail dollars you can only spend in one place. 7. Shop with cash. Psychologists (and banks) know that shopping with plastic makes you vulnerable to spending more than you planned. Put the money you plan to spend in an envelope and attach your list. Now you've got a reliable system - since you can't spend more than you've got in your envelope! If you must use a card, note the amount you plan to spend in a notebook or on your phone. As you shop, deduct what you've spent. That'll help to keep the spending experience real.   This article was written by Gail Vaz-Oxlade fromThe Toronto Star and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.​

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