10 ways to save money during the holidays and still have the best time

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Worried about expenses for the holidays? You don’t need to get in debt to have fun. Read the tips below to save but still enjoy yourself.

  1. Set a budget

    List all your expenses and set how much you need. Do your best to spend below your budget. Make your budget realistic. Make a small allowance for extra expenses.

  2. See where you can save

    • Check monthly bills – Do you use your landline? Get it disconnected if you use a mobile phone. Check your mobile phone plan, cable TV subscription and gym membership. Ask for better deals so you can save.
    • Brown bag it – Bring lunch to work. Don’t buy Starbucks or Tim’s coffee every day. Sacrifice some luxuries to save.
    • Sell stuff you don’t need – Check your garage or storage room. Sell off things that you are not using anymore. Make sure that they are still in good condition. Use Facebook groups or Kijiji to to sell your things.
  3. Give gifts wisely

    • Do a Secret Santa. This gift exchange is fun and exciting. You only need to buy one gift.
    • Give homemade gifts. Cook or bake some goodies to give away. They are appreciated because of the effort spent on making these gifts.
    • Give gifts of service. Shovel snow for a neighbor, run errands for a friend, or baby-sit for free.
    • Donate money in someone’s name. Pick a good charity close to that person’s heart.
    • Get your kids excited about giving. Let them join a toy drive. Let them help in a church project.
  4. Potluck parties

    A potluck is a practical way to hold a party. Each person invited will bring food. Ask if there is someone with food allergies. Bring food that everyone can enjoy.

  5. Make extra money

    Take a part-time job. There will be many jobs in retail (cashier, stocking clerk, greeters, etc.) call centres and delivery services during the holidays.

  6. Don’t use your credit card

    Don’t charge holiday expenses on your credit card. It will be harder to keep track of expenses. You will lose control of your spending. Use cash as much as possible.

  7. No last minute shopping

    Don’t go to the mall a few days before Christmas. It will be easier to overspend.

  8. Wait for Boxing Day

    Don’t give gifts on December 25. The 26th is Boxing Day in Canada. Most stores offer big discounts on many things. Buy toys, electronics, clothes and other gifts at cheaper prices.


Things you can do earlier (tips to keep in mind to do next year)

  1. Start a holiday savings account

    Starting saving as early as fall. Use automatic debit. Make sure your money is earning interest.

  2. Book tickets early

    December is the peak season for travelling. Ticket prices are high. Buy plane tickets six months before the holidays. Use your air miles to get a discount. Happy vacation!

Sources: 6 ways to save for the holidays, Laureen Miles Brunelli, the balance; and 9 best ways to save money during the holiday season, Jacqueline Curtis, Money Crashers. Accessed November 8, 2018.

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