Money-saving tips for the holidays

#Managing your money

Wondering how to save money during the holidays? Here’s how to sleigh through December without slaying your budget.

There’s no denying that holiday expenses can place demands on your budget. Whether your expenses are from holiday gatherings or saving for presents, December can be an expensive month. But with these helpful tips to save money during the holidays, you can hopefully celebrate the end of the year with a little more money in your pocket.


Here are some tips to help you budget for the holidays and start 2020 right.

  1. I love your outfit, where’s it from?
    Between end-of-year celebrations at the office and holiday parties with friends and family, you may want different holiday-themed outfits. But you likely won’t wear any of these again after December. To get an Insta-ready outfit at no cost, find a friend or a co-worker who’s the same clothing size as you and who won’t be attending the same holiday events. If you and your size twin can agree to lend and borrow holiday clothing, you’ll both save money on formal wear for your office holiday party.
  2. Make it a draw
    Instead of buying gifts for multiple family members, organize a gift-giving draw. Ask each family member to draw a name and each person then buys one gift for the person whose name they’ve drawn. You can set a dollar limit, which means everyone will be less likely to overspend when feeling pressure to find the perfect gift. You can set other fun gift rules, such as they need to be edible, recyclable, or electronic. Making the theme fun and creative is sure to have the receiver reminded of the gift-giver all year round.
  3. Leave the awkwardness to family photos
    Gift-giving and budgeting can be awkward—but it doesn’t need to be. Let’s face it—most of us have enough “stuff.” This season, you can make it known what practical gifts you would appreciate. If you need a new coffeemaker, don’t be shy about sharing which models you like. Being clear about your preferences means you’ll likely get a gift you genuinely appreciate; you’ll also save your own money by not needing to purchase that item. Don’t leave people guessing. On the flip side, this also means that you can give a meaningful and needed gift to someone else. Practical gifts help lead to a more sustainable lifestyle and create less waste.
  4. Make the most(ess) by being the host(ess)
    Holiday outings are fun, but they can be expensive. An equally fun (but much more practical) alternative is to host a holiday-themed potluck. If each guest brings their favourite holiday dish, you’re sure to have an evening of stories, fun and food. You can put a twist on this by coordinating guests to bring food or a bottle of wine, organizing holiday-themed games or setting a silly dress code for your gathering.
  5. Treat your inner child
    If you have younger cousins or nieces and nephews, try giving them something other than toys. Your gift to them can be to organize an afternoon of holiday cookie decorating or a day of tobogganing and hot chocolate. You’ll get the chance to create memories and see the holiday magic through a child’s eyes. As an added benefit, this gives the little ones’ parents some much-needed time to wrap presents or finish other holiday tasks.
  6. Better the planet
    Rather than a physical gift, you can give a charitable donation to an environmental organization in the name of a family member. Or, on their behalf, you can sponsor an animal at a sanctuary, purchase a survival kit for a family in an underdeveloped country or buy school supplies for a child in need
  7. Give your time and talent
    There are so many meaningful ways to use your time and talents to help your loved ones. If a friend loves greenery, plan a date to go tree-planting together in the spring. Are you tech savvy? Instead, help an elderly relative set up wifi or teach them how to use social media. Gifts aside, you can offer to babysit for friends or shovel a neighbour’s sidewalk. The season is about giving and joy, and you can do just that by sharing your time and talents with others.
  8. Do your 2020 self a solid
    Start the New Year by keeping it real. Write down every gift that you buy (for yourself or others), every extra outfit, every restaurant meal. Add the costs and—voilà, you have your holiday budget for next year. But you’re not quite done yet: decide whether each expense was needed or worth it. With a bit of preparation, you and your budget can sleigh smoothly through the next holiday season.

Remember that no matter your budget, holiday spirit is about helping others. The best gifts to give are those that leave you feeling connected to your circle of family, friends and loved ones—that connectedness is truly priceless

December can be an expensive month. But with these helpful tips to save money during the holidays, you can celebrate the end of the year.
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The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.


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