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Holiday budgeting

Does holiday spending make you sweat?  Don’t fret — take 10 minutes and prepare a holiday budget.

Does holiday spending make you sweat? Don’t fret — take 10 minutes and prepare a holiday budget.

Take five minutes to write down who you need to buy for and approximately how much you’d like to spend per person. Add it up.

If you’re like the majority of Canadian households, your shopping list amounts to around $1,000. Yikes!

Money is tight these days! So, take five more minutes and determine ways to cut back on your overall expenses.

Reduce the number of presents. Rather than buying individual presents for each niece and nephew, purchase a gift for the whole family like a board game or passes to see a movie. Better yet, draw names for a family gift exchange; one present per person and limit the dollar value. Scrap gifts for colleagues and bake treats instead. Reduce the amount you spend per gift. Buy presents in bulk from discount or wholesale stores.

Make handmade crafts or baked gifts. Shop in advance and spread out your purchases. Monitor online coupon sites like Groupon. Scale down your purchase; buy a smaller set of wine glasses or ½ carat diamond versus a full carat.

Don’t forget to budget for meals and entertainment. Rather than preparing a holiday dinner on your own dime, host a potluck dinner instead. Use coupons and don’t overbuy; a smaller turkey and veggie dishes are more than sufficient. Plan inexpensive winter activities like tobogganing, skating and viewing Christmas displays.

Once you’ve pared back your shopping list, tuck it in a safe place. Refer to it often to keep your spending on track.

The holidays are about spending meaningful time with friends and family. Your thoughts and intensions are what count; not how much you spend.

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